Date: 26th October 2016 at 10:25pm
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So, the Derby Day nobody wanted came to a place just outside Manchester tonight. One nobody wanted? It didn’t look like that to me as Moaning Maureen selected a “playing for medals” eleven to try to combat Guardiola’s Kids.

As regular readers will know I have been campaigning for the inclusion of Maffeo for some time now and with the Stretford’s picking just about their best available eleven, this incredible youngster did not look out of place in the company of Ibrahimovic, Carlton Pogba et al.

Guardiola paraded Caballero, shorn of first team action since the appointment of Coco Bravo, but now in demand once more as he prepares to see out the rest of the group stages of City’s Champions League campaign.

Ahead of him were Maffeo, Kompany, Otamendi and Clichy. Fernando was the holder with Navas, Garcia and Nolito ahead of him. Sane got the start in behind Iheanacho. Once again the Mighty Atom was set to explode on the bench alongside a plethora of usual starters. The was no place in the squad at all for Stones.

In the early exchanges City could almost have emulated Chelsea’s exploits of the weekend as Navas rounded Shaw. His cross took Iheanacho by surprise. We expected him to tuck that one away but he headed it over the bar.

City looked the more likely team with Garcia passing and moving like a veteran, Navas a constant thorn in the side of Shaw and Iheanacho carrying a threat everywhere he went. For the Stretfords part Zlatan was reduced to trying to milk free-kicks and Pogba and Rashford simply could not get going the latter thanks to the excellent attentions of Maffeo.

As against Southampton last Saturday the first half did not yield much in the way of chances for City and no chances at all for United as City’s for once robust looking defence didn’t deliver any freebies.

For reasons better known to Mike Dean, a referee who I hold in great esteem, Iheanacho was granted a yellow admonishment after 13 minutes. Clearly the Stretfords groundsman had seen that Barcelona had selectively over-watered their pitch last week and decided to do likewise. Kelechi slipped on the turf and unavoidably collided with Blind. No intent but a yellow card. Blind got away with worse a little later when he chopped a City player down. Valencia, now a slow-motion version of the player that once terrorised defences did get one though for a very unsightly waist-high challenge which on another day might have changed the traffic lights.

Sane, included from the start today looked a bit out of sorts in the first half. Many passes went astray and he at times ran the wrong routes. By contrast, Navas looked like he had a point to prove and set about Shaw in a positive manner. We have not seen that for a long time from Lord Jesus.

It looked as though both teams were happy to get to the break level at 0-0 with no damage done.

For the second half, Guardiola removed Kompany, introduced Kolarov and went three at the back. This was United’s incentive to utilise the space vacated by Kompany and it didn’t take them long to start exposing City in those areas. The idea of course was that Clichy and Maffeo were to try to push forward into midfield.

The problem was that Garcia was no longer in the game and it was left to Fernando to try to push things along. Ahead of him, though, no-one was running, no-one was creating space and no-one was stretching the Stretford backs.

It was of little surprise that in this period, after knocking on the door a couple of times United scored. The goal as usual had a bit of fortune about it as there could have easily been two free kicks given to City in the build up, one by Pogba and the other by Herrera. But Mr Dean said “no” and Mata said “yes” as he coolly slid his shot beyond Caballero to effectively decide the match.

Guardiola replaced the ineffective and possibly overawed Sane with the urgency of Sterling but United countered a few moments later by replacing their goalscorer for the dour dark arts perpetrator Schneiderlin, a so-called footballer with little to his game other than to leave stud marks on people.

Sterling tried right, left and centre but it wasn’t going to work for him as United looked more like Everton with ten on the edge of the box and the cheating Ibrahimovic hitting the deck every time someone in the crowd broke wind. This led to an inevitable array of free kicks and time wasting. There was the usual feigning of injury all around the field and Zlatan’s squeals could probably be heard by Sue in Liverpool with the TV sound on zero.

Aguero, often a scorer at Sold Trafford came on for Nolito, the wrong call for me, especially with Garcia wilting, but today’s miracle was not to be written. With nine United players in two lines close together no City player looked smart enough to construct anything that looked as though it would end up in the back of De Gea’s onion bag.

The match drifted to a predictable end with those despicable people who follow this despicable team singing their “empty seats” songs as they fiddled with themselves inside their boxer shorts at the prospect of beating a City fringe team containing four teenagers and nobody who can call himself a regular starter. Well done you sad Stretfords.

As we know these half wits have a short memory which is selective when it suits them. Was it not only last week that they were giving those who had bought the cheap seats on level three a free upgrade to level one?because they couldn’t sell all their tickets? Or, if the seat is a red one, does that mean someone is sitting in it?

City got what they deserved here tonight. A probational team tried its best but was clearly limited against Moaning Maureen’s Millionaires. Maybe he’ll sleep better in the Lowry Hotel tonight.

There were some positives though. Maffeo was superb at right back. Superstar Rashford never got a sniff all night. The goon Zlatan did nothing, looking for cheap free kicks and contributing zilch. Carlton Pogba looked simply that. What did he do? A few snidy fouls, hit the post and once again zilch. Herrera spent the night mithering the ref and the only classy player they’ve got, who wouldn’t even get on City’s bench, scored their goal and was then replaced. In fact I should not call call Pogba “Carlton” – I got that one from Johnny Baguette – at least Carlton put in some effort.

The goal apart, Caballero looked a bit tighter than Coco although his distribution looked like a gone-wrong-Bosch. Garcia’s first half was good but he faded around the time United scored. Navas didn’t really get into it after half time, especially after United got their noses in front, but Iheanacho, although marshalled for most of the night by whoever could kick him could have scored early on in both halves or at least assisted another scorer, selecting instead the wrong option.

But, hey, this mish-mash team only lost 1-0 to the greatest team in the world.

I love going to Wembley to watch City win Cup Finals, but I will join the legions who at work tomorrow will be saying “It was only the League Cup”. I would’ve preferred City to go and win it, but now in this competition at least, I’m on loan to Sue’s Liverpool, who have drawn Leeds in the next round. I see the Stretfords were granted another home draw.

So Guardiola breaks another record, with six matches now since they last won. It is time to arrest this slump and fast. Maybe West Brom will help us there.

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