FA Premier League
20/02/2020 8:00 pm
Referee: Andre Marriner of The West Midlands
|Stretford Galacticos||Manchester City|
|Bernardo Silva (54'), Sané (66')|
|1 David de Gea||31 Ederson|
|36 Matteo Darmian||Sánchez 83'||2 Kyle Walker|
|18 Ashley Young||4 Vincent Kompany|
|12 Chris Smalling||14 Aymeric Laporte|
|2 Victor Lindelöf||35 Oleks Zinchenko|
|23 Luke Shaw||8 Ilkay Gündogan||Danilo 89'|
|15 Andreas Pereira||Lukaku 72'||25 Fernandinho||Sané 51'|
|17 Fred||21 David Silva|
|6 Paul Pogba||20 Bernardo Silva|
|14 Jesse Lingard||10 Sergio Agüero||Gabriel Jesus 89'|
|10 Marcus Rashford||Martial 83'||7 Raheem Sterling|
|7 Alexis Sánchez||3 Danilo|
|8 Juan Mata||19 Leroy Sané|
|9 Romelu Lukaku||26 Riyad Mahrez|
|11 Anthony Martial||30 Nicolas Otamendi|
|20 Diogo Dalot||33 Gabriel Jesus|
|22 Sergio Romero||47 Philip Foden|
|31 Nemanja Matic||49 Aro Muric|
Johnny On The Spot:#HalfTimeRESURGENCE. Manchester City made it 3 wins on the bounce at a crumbling Old Trafford, winning the 178th Manchester Derby, ultimately with aplomb…
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 32% loss percentage as a professional manager has taken another spike after a first half assault gave way to a one shot on target retreat. Banging on about 1999 when even the screeching turf plummeter Ashley Plunge was only 13 will only take you so far.
The Stretfords made their intention of a bid to secure an early goal clear from the outset, setting up with 3 at the back and playing on the front foot. It was a frantic, harem scarem opening with united in the ascendancy and City uncharacteristically edgy and ragged in possession. All overseen by a classically erratic Andre Marriner who let a lot go outside of a burned off Kompany card and a bad foul by Pereira on Zinchenko who found himself booked shortly after for a flying challenge. Shaw, Fred and the renowned weasel Lingard were allowed to walk free out of some nasty challenges.
City were undeniably ragged for the majority of the first half, Kompany caught overplaying repeatedly and struggling for pace. The pace remained frantic with United in the ascendancy without fully laying a glove on the champions, City’s ball retention was glaringly lacking. On the half hour City began to exert greater organisation into their game and began to get hold of the ball. Both teams became guilty of making unforced errors in the middle of the park. City’s rally saw the sides go in nil all at the break.
The Blues pace and urgency had been missing. There had been little or no fluency. Their passing and recycling of the ball from back to front had to radically improve against what looked to be a limited side lacking belief the longer the first half wore on. City were uncomfortable and it all seemed wholly unnecessary. Pep Guardiola looked stern and having had words sent his men out early for the second period.
Early in the second half City shipped a body blow. Fernandinho time and again put in some superb challenges but another brilliant tackle early in the second half saw him twist his ankle and be forced off replaced by Sané, bringing Bernardo inside and off the flank with Sterling switching wings. Gundogan to hold.
The City Way was unleashed at last.
Sané changed the dynamic immediately and United paid the price for retreating en masse with a Bernardo opener courtesy yet another De Gea howler. It was Bubble Gum’s 22nd goal in 100 City appearances.
Following another City charge forward and Aguero going close, the Blues reverted to more chaotic defending with Kompany continuing to ride his luck. City needed to score again, of that there was no doubt. Wide open at the back, conceding soft free kicks, City had to take further advantage of United’s wildly inconsistent passing. They continued to look a one dimensional outfit, constantly losing the ball in midfield, it was over 7 hours since United had scored a goal in open play.
Sané’s raw power told again and he lashed in a counter attack to take the Blues 2 up with a quarter of the game to go. City’s booming, raucous support was bossing the night.
In reaction, a stunned looking United saw their manager shift to a route one approach throwing Lukaku on to bolster their front line. City continued to move the ball around, frustrating Solskjaer’s beleaguered looking side, their haggard looking manager opting to throw more forwards on as United fans began to walk out in their thousands on 75 minutes. In point of fact, their team looked to be severely short in match fitness, emphasised by the rotund Shaw’s booking for a lazy challenge.
City were in total control, United increasingly humiliated out of possession and evidently lacking leadership. The second half transformation had been stunning, a champions performance.
The last rights for this terrible United side, boasting £237 million of benched reinforcements tonight, were read by City in front of a close to empty stadium. The erstwhile Theatre of Dreams has seen better days on and off the park. Shabbily maintained, the dilapidated tribunes are in need of a major overhaul, mirroring an expensively assembled ragbag squad, ruined by panicked appointments made by the non-football people who run the sinking ship.
This 11th consecutive Premier League win, the Blues game in hand on Liverpool will send shockwaves through Merseyside. To their immense credit City have continued to overcome constant injuries to key players and maintained an incredible title defence. The records are again piling up. Guardiola’s men have now scored 157 goals in all competitions this season – a new record for a top-flight English side, set by themselves last year. And as for their imperious command of Mancunian football, City have lost just once in 9 Premier League visits to Old Trafford, winning 6 and drawing twice since the infamous October 2011 1-6 thrashing, with an aggregate of 19-8.
Drink it in and relish it Blues, but continue to stay grounded. We stand 4 more wins from making more stellar history. There remains work to be done.
JB’s Man of The Match: David Silva. Spanish Dave rolled back the years, taking the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, reducing the rags to huff and puff.