City succumbed to a last-minute winner from United on Sunday afternoon bringing an end to our impressive unbeaten home record stretching back to December 2010 and inflicting upon us our first league defeat of the season. After falling behind to two first half goals, City fought back to level the score, only for United to grab the winner late on in a memorable and enthralling encounter. The loss means United’s lead at the top of the table is now six points. Here we look at the major talking points of the game.
City didn’t deserve to win
It would be difficult for anyone to argue that City deserved to win the match. We started brightly and looked in control in the opening 10 minutes, but United scored against the run of play after some excellent work from Ashley Young down the left. That moment signalled a shift, and City’s level dropped for the remainder of the first half. United got themselves a second and then should have had a third in the second half, only for the goal to be wrongly chalked off for off-side. That would have been 3-0 and game over. We fought back to 2-2 and showed great character, but for the majority of the match we weren’t good enough.
Tevez should have started
Mario Balotelli started ahead of Carlos Tevez to the surprise of many. Mancini is known for his risk taking and attempting to predict his teams is often a futile excercise. However, this risk didn’t pay off. Balotelli was by no means awful, despite what some sections of the media would have you believe, but he was relatively ineffective. The partnership between Aguero and Tevez is statically the best pairing at the club and many are now wondering why Mancini seems reluctant to make them our first-choice duo. In must win games it makes sense to start your best strikers but it’s something which Mancini is seemingly reluctant to do this season.
Vincent Kompany limped off early in the first half to be replaced by Kolo Toure, even though Joleon Lescott, superb throughout last season’s title-winning campaign, was sat on the bench. Toure is way past his best and often induces moments of Stefan Savic-esque fear into onlookers, yet he came on and acquitted himself well in yesterday’s match.
Obviously, Mancini opted for Toure instead of Lescott because he is right-footed, and the manager likes having a right and left-footer at the heart of his defence. Although that argument has logic, it would be far preferable to see Lescott play. He has been unfortunate to lose his place after his outstanding season and he is a fantastic, committed professional. He is a far superior defender to Kolo Toure.
Nasri goes into hiding
Nasri literally hid behind Edin Dzeko in the wall and his flailing leg deflected van Persie’s freekick past Joe Hart to win the match. It was embarrassing. Being strong in a wall and letting the ball hit you is surely one of the easiest tasks a footballer faces. Nasri bottled it and I’d have loved to see his face when he faced his teammates afterwards.
Coin throwing and that fan
Even before the Rio Ferdinand incident some fans were throwing coins at Wayne Rooney as he was preparing to take a corner. This is obviously deeply embarrassing for the club and brought an ugly and unwanted cloud to proceedings. We saw a fantastic match yesterday. Heart-breaking for City fans, but a great spectacle of football nonetheless. To see some morons, who really need to take a long, hard look at themselves, overshadow things by trying to hurt opposition players when things don’t go their way is unforgivable. The club were quick to condemn the actions of the minority which diffused the situation but a stain remains after the behaviour of just one or two fans.