Date: 22nd September 2013 at 10:04pm
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I have to say dear readers that the Pedmachine didn’t see this coming. Having spent much of the morning with those niggling Derby Day doubts, they were dispelled almost immediately when City took the field.

I really thought City would miss Silva, really thought that Valencia would slaughter Kolarov and get free access to set things up for Rooney and Van Persie, but then finding the latter sitting in the stand, things started to take a more positive slant.

The Blues lined up more or less as predicted based upon the personnel available. I had thought that Pellegrini might go with Milner to shield Kolarov, but no, it was to be a much more positive approach designed to get City on the front foot and playing their football in United’s half of the field. And boy did those tactics bear fruit!

As the scoreboard clock ticked on to the number of his shirt Aguero opened the scoring with a goal that even Gary the Red described as “truly world class”. Nasri darted into the corner, tricked Smalling with a neat flick which found Kolarov and the man in respect of which I’m profoundly a regular critic put in a cross a little behind Aguero. The Mighty Atom somehow hooked the ball from behind him, on the volley and it flew past De Gea.

From this point City simply dominated. As expected, United looked suspect in midfield where Carrick, Fellaini, Young and Valencia made no in-roads at all against the classier Nasri, Yaya, Fernandinho and Navas all of whom contributed to an exceptional first half, where had it simply ended 1-0 would not have done City justice.

Justice was done when the half time stoppage time board allowed only one minute. But what a minute! Nasri took a corner from the right, put it right on Negredo’s head. Yaya had already read the flight it seemed and ghosted behind United’s static defence to divert the ball home with his thigh. Poor concentration and even poorer marking from the veterans that adorn United’s back four.

This was both a stunner and killer blow for United and the true examination of ET Moyes began. We always know that under Ferguson you always thought some well selected words at half time would provoke a spark in the second half. Maybe Moyes doesn’t have that.

Further weight went onto the Stretford scales immediately after the break when a superbly weighted pass from Negredo found Aguero who drilled the ball straight through De Gea. The Blue Mooners were just about getting settled again when Navas got on the ball 15 yards inside his own half and sprinted towards the right hand corner of the box, with nobody able to catch him. His cross was probably aimed at Negredo, who was heading to the near post, he checked and went towards the far post, but the check meant he was under the ball. Not to worry because the ball landed at the feet of Nasri, for once backing up properly in a very advanced position and he volleyed it straight into the back of the net. End of story…well almost.

City had done their work for the day. Negredo had three chances to improve the score and with a little more care could have pushed the score beyond the 6-1 of two seasons ago.

From United’s viewpoint they tried their best without really looking threatening. Evra struck the post and it was only with three minutes left that Nastasic conceded another needless free kick outside the box that Rooney, invited by Joe Hart to try for the top corner did just that and scored one of the best goals you will ever see a loser score. Hart nearly got there but for me stood too far behind the wall, leaving himself a bit too much ground to cover. He did get a hand to it but couldn’t divert it anywhere safe.

It was a completely miserable afternoon for United as Rooney left the field almost in tears and there were no histrionics from Ferdinand this season. Sadly he looked what he is – a centre back feeling the pace.

Some commentators might have thought that Carrick was brilliant last season, most of them didn’t watch the same matches as me, but today he showed he is little above average and like his colleagues, Rooney excepted, he was second to everything, especially in the first half. When City gave them time and space he couldn’t open up a tin of beans.

Their wide men who could have caught City out were simply not up to the job and Welbeck was simply Welbeck. Simply rubbish. He somehow plays for United, he somehow starts for England when the truth is that he should really be playing in the lower reaches of the Premier League, as his goalscoring record at this level suggests.

The Blues were simply delicious. Kompany led his team to defend higher up the field, keeping United away from their goal. Although Nastasic did give away three free kicks in dangerous positions and Rooney scored from one, he otherwise played superbly. Flanked by Zabaleta who was his true self despite having to be careful not to give Young the chance to get near the box and take to the grass.

City won the match in midfield where Yaya pushed on and Fernandinho dug in. Navas was easily the best winger on show and demonstrated how the tables have turned in Manchester. True quality.

Nasri had his best game for ages and has laid the ghost of last season’s chicken out. He took his goal superbly and the way he helped set up the first was classy. And this from one of his biggest critics!

Aguero was immense and terrifies Ferdinand with his pace, his tricky turns and his sheer ability. He ran himself into the ground, scored two brilliant goals and well deserved his ovation as he left the field early.

This leaves Negredo who for me was fantastic. More combative than Dzeko he was not going to be outmuscled by the likes of Ferdinand and Vidic. He more or less bashed them about all afternoon and set up two goals while he could have taken the ball home on another day!

Premier League beware. The engine is warming up and the engineer has assembled the parts. This wasn’t a fluke, this wasn’t lucky, it was a team that played as a team and simply took United apart. With many pundits sitting on the fence and looking for a draw, Pellegrini was having none of it. He set his team up properly and they gave him what he deserved. For their part United looked static and devoid of ideas. Rooney will “roo” his decision to stay there.

In six months time this team will be little more than an upmarket version of Everton and their fans will not like that. I can see City going from strength to strength if as VK said they start more positively in what look like easier matches and start to gather the points. The Blue Moon is well above the horizon these days. Maybe the devil is leaving the reds. In some ways though it was a good job United scored. Ten minutes after half time, groundsman Lee Jackson told me he was considering taking the goalposts and netting down at the south end of the pitch due to lack of use!

all times East Manchester BST

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