By Andy Hyslop
- Game ended 0-0 as both teams show lack of adventure
- Billed as the biggest Manchester Derby since Sir Alex retired
The 170th Manchester Derby ended in a 0-0 stalemate as both teams showed a real lack of adventure and desire to take the three points. Both sets of players appeared happen to play out the 0-0 draw.
Going into the game, City had been knocked off the top of table due to Arsenal’s victory over Everton in the Saturday tea-time game. But they knew a point would be sufficient for them to go back to the top on goal difference. While United knew a point would keep them within two points of the Premier League summit after ten games.
City have had the upper hand in recent Derby games. Since Sir Alex retired City have won three of the four derbies. With United’s only victory coming in the fixture at Old Trafford. Though that victory saw United leap-frog City. They would eventually finish below City.
This is the first time United have gone into a Derby in recent years, where they can really consider themselves to be on a level playing field with City.
Despite all the attacking talent on the pitch, both teams show a lack of advantage to win the game. Admittedly United did have the best of the attacking threat. But you always felt that they were holding back, worried that City may counter them as they just sat back and soaked up any pressure that United could muster.
Right from the kick-off it was clear to see that City had come for the point that would see them return to the top of the league. No was no real intent from them attack when they had the ball. Without Aguero and Silva, they looked lacking of ideas in attack.
For United’s part they did try to attack the City goal, but you always felt that they were holding back. Not wanting to over commit themselves and leave themselves open to the counter.
Once again Wayne Rooney played as United’s main striker. Flanked by Martial and Mata. With Mata replaced by Lingard just after the hour mark. You have to question Rooney’s place in the team as he failed to present any threat to Kompany and Otamendi.
Yes admittedly there was a lack of service for him in the game but whenever the ball was played up to him. He continually failed to control the ball and at least help United cause a threat to Joe Hart’s goal.
United’s best chances of the game came from a Smalling shot that was superbly saved by Hart. And when Martial played the ball over the City defence into the path of Lingard, who’s effort to lift the ball over Hart came back of the top of the crossbar.
I think all in all, both teams played out the draw rather than risk losing the game. Which for both teams would have meant a third league loss inside the first ten games.
I think whoever are crowned Champions come May, will probably have lost five or six games during the season. Which is slightly higher than normal. They cant afford to have lost three in their first ten league fixtures. I don’t envisage either of these sides drawing a lot of games this season so maybe they can afford to draw against each other.