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Why After Losing To The Noisy Neighbours, The Cracks Have Been Revealed

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So, I woke at 5am on a beautiful Sunday in northern California to watch the most eagerly awaited derby games in years. My prediction was a 0-0 draw, with both teams playing 4-5-1 in a boring stalemate of a game.

I predicted this because City just scraped past Villarreal and United were truly awful in Europe, and against Norwich and Liverpool. With our form gone and I expected Sir would make it a tight affair so that we lose no more ground on our noisy neighbours.

When I saw the team-sheets all hope of 0-0 vanished as United put Fletcher and Anderson in midfield meaning we had width but no control. In my view a crazy formation against a top side, letting them run at our defence facing Rio (who on current form would be lucky to get a game for Chicago in the MLS) and with Vidic dropped after his recent return to Torres level form, being replaced by the hapless Evans who is always an accident waiting to happen. And so it proved.

Nani and Young flattered to deceive, Rooney dropped deeper and deeper, his ever decreasing form apparent as he moves towards the pre-Christmas performances of last season, and Anderson and Fletcher playing headless chickens in midfield, all energy, no skill, a repeat of Barcelona at Wembley.

So City scored, and United had no real efforts on goal in the first half of the game – no surprise.

At halftime I hoped Sir would see the mess, would remove Nani, add Valencia, play Hernandez to at least turn the City centre-backs, drop Anderson to protect our weak spine, let Rooney play the Scholes role. No such luck because Sir Alex always waits until 70 minutes before subbing, by then this game was gone.

Evans brought Mario ‘Fireworks’ Balotelli down but where was Rio when he did so? Evra also went AWOL continually and so Evans was the scapegoat in a back 2 of him and Smalling, while the other two wandered around like it was a Sunday stroll.

Frankly, we were rubbish. But we were rubbish against Norwich too and they should have had 4 against us. The problem we have is that the early promise of a young energetic team with Rafael, Fabio, Jones, Smalling, Welbeck and Cleverley is nowback to safety first, old lags and poor tactics.

Sir Alex got it wrong at Liverpool, got it wrong again today, and we got the pasting we deserved. City are good though. Silva is brilliant, Aguero a threat, and they all play like it matters. They played man for man versus us, and they are better, man for man.

Was there a single United player that would get in City’s team on this showing? Not one.

So for me the season is young, City might yet implode, we might recover our early season form and the cracks might get papered over. But the cracks are there and the sooner we play players in form, stop playing Rio, Carrick and Evra when they are out of form, recognise we need a playmaker with class in January and play with passion and commonsense, then we can recover.

Otherwise Sir Alex is going to turn 70 looking up at the boys next door and wonder if its time to call it a day. That’s not an exaggeration to say that the power is shifting, and we had better do something soon because City are better than Chelski by quite a margin.

By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve

2 thoughts on “Why After Losing To The Noisy Neighbours, The Cracks Have Been Revealed”

  1. i have to disagree with this article 1 swallow doesnt make a summer. i understand feeling gloomy after the result but first half standing alone we were better. we havnt had a settled centre back pairing all season. hernandez has been in and out. and cleverly being out has been the start of our dip in form, he's a quality young player who still has to come back. We do need a World CLASS CM but thats it in my opinion. we lack a bit of control and imagination in the middle but otherwise we've got prob the best young keeper in the world. in smalling jones rafael and fabio quality up and coming defenders. wingers are sorted and with rooney hernandez and welbeck a strong forward line.they still have to play arsenal liverpool and chelsea, we've played them. the futures still bright, the futures still red.

  2. United is the youngest team in Premier League, SAF knows what he's doing, City will crack too during the season. For me United will be the champions again. Don't forget too it's the begenning of the season.
    Glory Man United !

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