Monday, April 13, 2015

"Review on Manchester United performance V/S Manchester City, 4-2, 12 April 2015”

It’s Manchester derby match!

United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Blind, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Young, Rooney. United subs: Valdes, Rafael, Rojo, McNair, Januzaj, Di Maria, Falcao.

City XI: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Demichelis, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas, Milner, Silva, Aguero. City subs: Caballero, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Nasri, Lampard, Dzeko.

United started the match in a tattering fashion for the first 10th minutes. In fact, in the very 3rd minutes of the match, City’s winger Navas run was undetected by Blind on the right flank produced a shot saved by De Gea. Encouraged by the lousy noise from the stand of City’s fans, the players also pressed harder and eventually took the lead in the 7th minutes scored by Aguero. Score 0-1. It was an easy tap in goal for Aguero with the cross provided by David Silva. It was kind of scary how City started the match despite their recent fluctuating forms. The flurry of run-ins with pace was the main threat for United.

After 10th minutes into the match, United became more organized in defense and clinical with the passes although City’s still pressed on. Gradually, United’s attacking flairs and tempo starts to improve with the main intent to equalize the score before halftime. I have to mention this again; the focal point of United’s season is the revival of Fellaini, including Mata and Young. But then, Fellaini seemed to make more impact and it was quiet noticeable in the match. Can you believe it? De Gea goal kick to Fellaini, Young high ball cross to Fellaini, Valencia high ball cross to Fellaini, Mata high ball cross to Fellaini, etc., and today he was truly one hell of a player.

The first goal for United’s started with Jones dangerous back pass to De Gea. De Gea anticipated the dangerous back pass, and he swiftly came out from the box clearing the ball straight to Fellaini with City’s Zabaleta challenging it. Without any surprise, the aerial duel was won by Fellaini and he passed it on to Herrera who have gained some free space on the left flank delivering a beautiful cross inside City’s box. Young initially connect the cross but it was blocked by Clichy. Fortunately for Young, the ball bound back to his direction from Clichy’s body and guided the ball into the net to level the goal 1-1 in the 14th minutes.

After Young has leveled the score for United, the players also became more comfortable with the ball possession and passing. And also, the threat of City’s pressing mode was neutralized. In the 27th minutes of the 1st first half, Fellaini scored from a header with an assist provided from Young to make the score 2-1. The build up to the second goal was beautifully crafted by Blind and Young. I personally thought City’s defender Kompany should have been sent-off for the high boot tackle on to Blind. Unfortunately, he was shown only the Yellow card.

In early second half play, City’s goalkeeper Hart produced an outstanding save of Rooney indirect free kick. Both the team played an attacking football although United’s look more comfortable and also the score line (2-1) reducing the players pressure. In the 67th minutes of the match, Mata scored from Rooney pass to make the score line 3-1. Again, the build up to third goal started from Fellaini. Without any doubts, he was outstanding throughout the match as if the team style of playing revolved around him. I guessed everyone will now understand the word “balance” propagated by team boss Van Gaal during the start of the season.

Who would have thought of Smalling scoring the 4th goal for United in the 73th minutes making the score line 4-1? Well, he scored and the score line is unbelievable. I guessed the Smalling goal maybe the redemption for the red card and the subsequent sent off in previous derby encounter on 2 November 2014. Anyway, it was a good header goal from him. United healthy score line of 4-1 toned down the tempo of the match. Unfortunately, in the last 10 minutes of the match, Carrick was injured prompting him to leave the team with only ten players in the field. It was really unfortunate for the team as the three substitution quota has been used on Mata, Jones and Fellaini. All these three players substituted received a standing ovation from the crowd. And the players coming on from the bench were Angel Di Maria, Falcao and Rojo.

Since the match have been already won, expectation from the substitute players seemed like a move to shore up defense. In the 89th minutes, City’s Aguero added another goal to make it 4-2 when United was playing only with ten players as Carrick was injured and had already left the field. Overall, United team produced one of the best performance of the season. Obviously, the team performance proved the players are in sync with Van Gaal philosophy. The target for the team is to keep winning and maintain the chance of winning the title mathematically hoping Chelsea to drop points… :) Clearly, the deserving man of the match is Fellaini. And I’m sure everyone who have watched the match will agree.

For the team performance, I will rate 4 out of 5. The next upcoming match for Manchester United is on 18 April 2015 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, London. The match will start at 10:00 PM (IST).

Thank you. Have a good night!

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