As the dust and volcanic ash settles upon City’s third painful last seconds defeat to united inside eight months, Gary Owen gives VMC his viewpoint…
As a midfielder Gary would certainly have relished getting to grips with the likes of Paul Scholes on Saturday and it’s interesting to see that Gareth Barry’s return to form saw him win the VMC Forum’s Man of The Match vote ahead of Nigel De Jong.
‘In the first half they had the best chance. There’s no two ways about it and it fell to Rooney. He was playing within himself in my opinion. As I said on Friday, you can’t have those ankle injuries and be back to your best so quickly.
‘When I saw the united team sheet, I felt quite relieved to see Gary Neville playing as he hasn’t played much this season. There was no Rafael who’s impressed against Bayern’s Ribery, no Nani who I’d pinpointed as being our main problem, no Ferdinand and of course Rooney up front not fully fit. I thought this was perfect for us and I know many united fans felt the same way as they voiced their concerns over the team Ferguson picked.
‘For me, neither side got going. They all looked as if they had no energy and didn’t look at all sharp. We looked heavy legged in comparison to the side that beat Birmingham.
‘It wasn’t a normal derby game, not a full blooded derby. There weren’t that many exciting moments in it or meaty challenges and it had nil-all written all over it. It wasn’t a great spectacle considering what was at stake for both sides. I feel that they needed to win the game more than us.
‘But disappointingly, I can’t help but feel that a real chance to turn them over went begging. I never felt at all under threat from start to finish from united and I’ve never felt that before. But having said that, I couldn’t see us getting a goal either!
‘It’s unbelievable to consider that for a third time this season the derby has been settled in the dying seconds. That’s quite surreal.
‘And of course, Spurs are now back above us, but that has been the pattern all season with ourselves, Spurs and Villa repeatedly changing places. It’s all changed again, but I still maintain that the game at Eastlands between City and Spurs will ultimately decide who gets that fourth spot.
‘There is still a lot to play for and there will be more twists and turns to come in the relegation, fourth place and championship battles.’
Gary’s Man of The Match:
‘I thought our forwards were disappointing. In midfield De Jong challenged for every ball against united’s three man midfield (with Scholes the spare man) and Barry is getting back to his early season form, but I still don’t know why he didn’t pull the trigger when he was through on Van der Sar on his trusted left foot!
‘But Vincent Kompany played by example as he has done all along. Even though Rooney wasn’t fully fit, he snuffed him out apart from that one chance when the ball came across him. Kompany has been consistent all season.’
VMC Man of The Match versus united:
18. Gareth Barry [47.06%]
34. Nigel De Jong [29.41%]
33. Vincent Kompany [5.88%]
4. Nedum Onuoha [5.88%]
11. Adam Johnson [5.88%]
25. Emmanuel Adebayor [5.88%]
1. Shay Given [0%]
28. Kolo Toure [0%]
3. Wayne Bridge [0%]
32. Carlos Tevez [0%]
39. Craig Bellamy [0%]
7. Stephen Ireland [0%]
8. Shaun Wright-Phillips [0%]
24. Patrick Vieira [0%]
The Story So Far:
FA Premier League unless stated
Carlos Tévez, 9 (Bolton A, Spurs A, Wolves A, Blackburn H, the rags H, LCSF1, Chelsea A, Fulham A, Everton H, Wigan H)
Nigel de Jong, 5 (Fulham H LC R3, West Ham H, Wigan Athletic A, Liverpool A, Chelsea H)
Craig Bellamy, 4 (Arsenal H, the rags A, Villa A, Sunderland H)
Gareth Barry, 4 (Blackburn A, Portsmouth A, Stoke H, the rags H)
Shaun Wright-Phillips, 3 (C. Palace A LC R2, Burnley H, Arsenal H LC QF)
Wayne Bridge, 3 (Fulham H, Hull A, Stoke H, FAC5)
Adam Johnson, 2 (Bolton, H, Sunderland A)
Micah Richards, 2 (the rags A LCSF2, Stoke A)
Emmanuel Adebayor, 2 (Wolves H, Portsmouth H)
Shay Given, 2 (Birmingham A, Everton A)
Nedum Onuoha, 1 (Birmingham H)
Patrick Vieira, 1 (Burnley A)
Pablo Zabaleta, 1 (Liverpool H)
Martin Petrov, 1 (Scunthorpe A FAC4)
Vincent Kompany, 1 (Middlesbrough A FAC3)
Roque Santa Cruz, 1 (Scunthorpe H LC R4)
City’s 1-1 throwaway against Hull City and the FA Cup exit at Stoke registered no winner.
VMC’s Previous Man Of The Season:
2007-2008 Elano Blumer
2008-2009 Stephen Ireland
Very many thanks and respect to Gary Owen for this latest exclusive interview. Stay tuned with VMC for The Arsenal Match Preview with Gary later this week!
As well as being a widely respected, successful media personality and commentator, Gary is the Managing Director of GTC Management, one of the UKs leading independent utility procurement brokers.
To find out more go to:
GTC Management: ‘Reducing Costs,Saving Time and Providing Peace of Mind’
Interview copyright Vital Manchester City, Gary Owen and The Vital Football Network 2010.
A Play As We Dream Production.