Manchester City won their fourth consecutive derby, beating Manchester United 1-0. Chris Smalling’s less-than-clever first half red card meant City had a man advantage for the majority of the game. Sergio Agüero put the ball in the net in the 63rd minute to ensure City ran out victors at The Etihad Stadium.
With ratings given out of ten, here’s how the City players fared on the day:
Hart – 8 – The shot-stopper was rather untroubled for the majority of the game, though he reacted smartly to deny Van Persie as well as Di Maria. Was out quick to snuff out a couple of United attacks. Currently in a rich vein of form, which must be maintained if he is to keep his detractors at bay.
Zabaleta – 7 – A solid display for the right back. Contributed to United danger man Angel Di Maria having a quiet afternoon.
Kompany – 7 – Everything you’d expect from the captain on derby day. An ever-commanding presence who ensured that United’s formidable forward line created the bare minimum of real opportunities.
Demichelis – 8 – An imperious performance from the Argentine. Rarely looked troubled. Rumour has it that if you look up the words ‘composed’ and ‘assured’ in the dictionary, this performance is given as the definition for both.
Clichy – 8 – Understandably a worry for many when he had to step in at the last minute after Kolarov pulled out. The left back has been poor recently but he was excellent here; one hopes this can help his confidence and be a springboard to improved form. Defended well against Di Maria when the attacker switched sides, Also set up the goal. Demonstrated good sense of theatre by nearly slicing in a hilarious own goal at the death.
Fernando – 7 – After being seen as a masterstoke signing based on his first few games, he’s struggled a little since returning from injury. Stood up to be counted here though. This was a tidy game from the Brazilian. Not eye-catching, but played a key role.
Toure – 8 – Much has been made of his underwhelming start to the season but this was somewhere close to his best. His passing was excellent – as evidenced by his contribution to the goal – and the second half produced plenty of those famed lung-busting runs. If I’m being hyper-critical, there were one or two occasions when he held onto the ball a little too long in good positions. Almost got a goal at the end. More of this please, Yaya.
Navas – 7 – This was the winger in a microcosm – some wonderfully bright moments running at Luke Shaw but faded as the game went on. Hit the post when he might’ve expected to do better. A good contribution but it’d be nice to see a little more consistency.
Jovetic – 6 – An unconvincing afternoon for the birthday boy. He is clearly desperate to impress and his effort is commendable. His head never drops and he’s eager to get the ball, but too often he tried fancy flicks and tricks when sticking to the basics would have been more impressive. Passing and decision making was below par but I have little doubt he will get there, if we can just get him an extended run in the team.
Milner – 8 – His style is tailor made for derbies. So much effort and work though that, as ever, risks undermining everything else he offers. City were noticeably poorer when he was substituted off, such was his influence in all areas down the left of the pitch. There are surely no remaining doubts that a new contract will be signed soon.
Agüero – 8 – Kün turned tormenter for United again – how he must love the derby. Scored a lovely first time finish for the decisive goal and had the visitors backline worried when he had the ball. Going from strength to strength again this season, who would ever back against him scoring?
Nasri – 6 – Entered the fray in the 69th minute but made no real impact. Still getting back into the swing of things following his injury lay off.
Džeko – 6 – Had 20 minutes to make his mark but struggled to get involved. May have benefited from coming earlier when Navas was looking dangerous on the wing.
Fernandinho – N/R – Not on long enough to give a fair rating, but he is played his part in ensuring United’s late resurgence amounted to nothing.
written by Richard Burns