Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – as it happened¡
City win United don’t, and other associated words.
I was wrong dept: apparently this does send a message, says the Sky brains trust, and they should know. But I doubt City fans are too arsed about that – this is a shmicing of their local rivals, and unlike the 1989 5-1, not one they’ll likely need rely upon for a generation of consolation.
Until the red card, there was nothing in the game beyond Balotelli’s brilliant goal, but City picked their passes superbly after that while United lost their defensive discipline. So City extend their lead at the top, and can look forward to an eminently-winnable run of games, whilst United need to rouse themselves for Everton away.
That’s all you’re fucking well getting from me now. Join the equally miserable Netherton for the next game, while I punish myself with as much alcohol as possible and do my bit for the collective shame.
IT’S OVER. BUT NOT IN MY NIGHTMARES.
94 min: Ok, I’ll do the decent thing. Smalling heads clear, only for Silva to pluck the ball out of the air, drop a shoulder, and volley yet another perfect ball into the path of Dzeko, completely excluding Ferdinand and Jones from proceedings. He then lumbers a little closer to goal and drives a finish that De Gea can’t keep out.
92 min: Those two goals, then. The first came after Barry flicked on a corner, United stepped up, Silva tapped across, and Dzeko finished. Then, City broke again, someone fed Silva nowhere near anyone and advancing on goal in the inside-right position, and he slotted under De Gea and through his legs. And even in the typing of this Dzeko shins one over the bar.
89 min: ANOTHER FOR CITY. THERE’S NOTHING LESS MAGNANIMOUS THAN MAGNANIMITY. 1-4.
87 min: Another crossing opportunity wasted, Jones arcing one in from the right that’s too close to Hart, the ball dropping into his arms without any forward even attempting a dive. Then more clever passing from City, stabbing it gently to each other, before Toure bends a shot just around the far post from just outside the box.
86 min: Richards gets his own back, limping into a tackle and ceding a free-kick. It’s wasted, but United manufacture another chance to cross from the right, Smalling jumping highest but directing his header wide.
83 min: Technical issues mean that you’ve been denied a crucial missive detailing a lashing tackle made by Welbeck on Richards. He’s booked, and might feel slightly better. I’m going to try one on the table leg and see how that works.
80 min: GREAT GOAL FLETCHER. 1-3
This is very nice, Rooney sliding a ball inside from inside-left to Fletcher who dinks a ball into Hernandez. The return is good, and untracked, Fletcher opens his body, steadies himself, and unfurls a curler around Hart’s dive and into the far corner. GAME NOT ON!
80 min: As soon as this game’s over, I’m expected to hoover, cook and be friendly towards houseguests. Beat that.
Though after the less-worser 4-1 defeat in whatever miserable year it was, I was taken to a wedding and expected to dance. I embarrassed humanity instead.
79 min: Richards nods a long ball back inside, Dzeko racing across to receive before being summarily bundled over by Smalling. He’s booked.
77 mins: Oddly, De Gea makes what might be his first save of the game. Rooney loses out in midfield to Silva, who glitters clear with a man either side. He picks right, and Dzeko, sliding another perfect pass into his stride, but the keeper guesses right, kicking away a low effort aimed across him.
76 min: When the sole joy of an afternoon is Nasri coming on for a win bonus appearance, it’s time to think seriously about life. Dzeko is late on Jones, studding him on the foot, and is booked.
73 min: Token attack from United, like the Black Knight, Rooney – who’s done the square-root of fuck-all – running across the edge of the box and finding Welbeck, whose shot was blocked. City then almost score again, Dzeko somehow deflecting a ball into the air that squirts to Silva, right side of the goal and six yards out. Opening his body, he leans back and sidefoots one over the bar. He’s rubbish.
71 min: With twenty minutes still left, City could put a real beating on United here. Should I expire before the end, no one please attend my funeral. I hate everything.
…AND THERE IT IS. I’M NO USING NAY MORE EXCLAMATIONS THOUGH. 0-3.
More triangulation along the right, Balotelli flicking to Milner whose instapass feeds Richards down the right. Again, the cross is low and hard, and Aguero imps across his man to tuck in another. Balotelli off, Dzeko on.
68 min: City look more likely to score another than United do to find a first, and
67 min: Evra dhalsims in on Barry, and is booked.
65 min: Smalling saves United, nipping in front of Balotelli to clear Silva’s left-wing cross. Their fans are, as they used to say, cock-a-hoop. I’ll leave you to make your own jokes. Nani and Anderson off, Jones and Hernandez on.
61 min: Anderson is booked for fouling someone. Jones and Hernandez are getting ready.
60 min: TWO FOR BALOTELLI, AND ANOTHER EMINENTLY PRESENTABLE GOAL! 0-2!
I hope some fucker out there appreciates this, because it’s brutally murdering the soul that I don’t have. Richards, Milner and Silva work United’s left flank, Milner’s superb turn around the corner finding Silva in space on the right of United’s box. Waiting for his man to reappear, he gently slips a return outside, and the ensuing low, hard cross leaves Balotelli an empty net.
59 min: City draw some of United’s heat, sensibly keeping the ball before sending it right to the excellent Richards. Evra upends him for something to do, and City start passing again.
58 min: The Glazer goons are in the ground. Wesley Sneijder is not.
56 min: United have readjusted their scrotum now and are pushing forward, Evra skating by Balotelli only to see his cross cleared, and Young working to the by-line to win another hopelessly-executed short corner. But United keep at it, Rooney finding Smalling on the right of the box, and someone doing well to poke the ball away from him as he shot. It was at the cost of a corner, which came to nothing.
54 min: United clatter forward, Fletcher, now playing right back, staggering forward and squaring for Young, his shot blocked by Milner and ricocheting back of his left shin, just wide. City then break again, and something that elicited some noise happened, but I didn’t quite see what.
52 min: Anderson is a lucky boy – looking again, that was a foul. Meanwhile, Smalling is now at centre-back, with Rooney dropping into midfield. City, as you’d expect, seriously fancy this one now, Balotelli crossing from the right, Aguero slicing a shot and Richards bursting through two more tackles before also slicing wide.
50 min: The free-kick comes to nothing, before City attack again and Richards galumphs through a pair of lame tackles, eventually stopped by Anderson, who’s a mite relieved to see Clattenberg indicate a melange of legs.
46 min: RED CARD EVANS – SILLY, SILLY BOY FOR SOMEONE WITH SUCH GOOD GCSEs.
City keep possession for a bit in the middle of pitch, before sending the ball back to Hart. Milner reacts first to get the ensuing knockdown, and Aguero slides a ball inside Evans for Balotelli. Slower to react, Evans hauls him down and, the last man, is sent off – shaming himself further with an unnecessary protest, aided by Patrice Evra.
46 min: I think SuperSunday is now one word. City start us off again.
Fergie does some indeterminate fist clenching as he makes his way out for the second half, already sat down before City appear. They must have been compelled by the adverts.
Jack Pitt-Brooke emails in, hilarity and banter all mixed.
So, United have more of the possession, but create almost nothing. City have less of the possession, but create almost nothing. Or in other words, this is not a great game, though it’s far from boring at the same time. And what a goal from Balotelli – yes, here it is – taken like a man completely in control. Shame he blotted his copybook with the t-shirt – not the deed of a desert island nutter – but in these straightened times, he gets a pass. (Not from me, obviously).
HALF-TIME: UNITED 0 v 1 CITY
45 min: There’ll be one added minute.
44 min: Without Giggs and Cleverley, United are devoid of midfield imagination. The only real way they can alter this is by moving Rooney deeper and replacing him up front, which does not say much about much.
43 min: Lovely exchange between Barry and Toure, the latter skipping and breaking over and through two challenges, attempting a defence-splitter that’s well-read by Ferdinand. Well-read and Ferdinand in the same sentence, that must be a first.
41 min: Sonicing left-to-right across the United back-four, Ageuro finds some space around the outside, his shot smothered superbly by Ferdinand. United then break, and Welbeck – who’s had a decent last few minutes – is pulled back by Kompany, who’s booked.
39 min: Welbeck breaks away from Barry with an adroit touch and slots a sharp ball left to Rooney, between Richards and Lescott. But he can’t quite control, and is forced wide. Doing well to keep the move going, he eventually pops up on the right by-line, tapping back for the unmarked Evans to completely miss with an attempted swipe-sweep on goal.
37 min: With City committing a few more men forward, United break with Rooney, who has Smalling charging clear outside him. But bored of nothing happening, he ignores him and keeps going, shooting from outside the box but close to where Hart was standing.
35 min: Just occurred that I forgot to note that after scoring, Balotelli revealed a t-shirt reading “why always me” – in official club lettering, which is always even less impressive than in misspelled magic marker – and was booked. People appear riveted by this.
33 min: Finally Nani works some space behind Clichy, but Fletcher sells him short with the pass needed to find him. Again, it’s very crowded in the City box, and United are grateful to force another corner from another hopeful effort. The goal aside, there’s been very little of particular note, though Anderson then connects well with a shot from twenty yards – but it’s collected by Hart easily enough.
31 min: Balotelli tosses in a cross that’s headed clear, Toure lacing it as it bounces, but wide of the right post.
29 min: Nani comes deeper to try and find possession – he’s had precious little so far, United’s play concentrated down the other flank. City are defending fairly deeply, making it hard for United to find space in threatening areas, and they’ve kept almost every attack in front of them.
27 min: Young takes a short throw from Evra and swings into a cross-shot-nothing-whatsoever kind of move. Hart leaves it go.
26 min: For all the pressure, United haven’t made anything approaching a chance, testament to City’s positional discipline. Richards spots De Gea off his line and tries to beat him from miles out, which, of course, he does not, slicing past the post.
25 min: Suddenly City are paying attention, Clichy charging forward and finding Aguero, who’s wriggled away to the by-line, dinking a cross over De Gea to where Dzeko might have been were he playing. He’s not, and United escape.
22 min: Silva wins a modicum of space in the inside-left channel, and feeds Milner outside him. His cross is cut-back to Balotelli, on the left-centre edge of box. Allowing the ball to roll across him and using Evans as a screen, he measure-coaxes a perfect finish low into the far corner. Something about fireworks.
GOAL TO CITY, AND IT’S A BRILLIANT FINISH! 1-0 CITY!
19 min: Dangerous but brilliant challenge from Kompany, thudding into the back of Rooney just inside the box, and winning the ball.
18 min: More pressure from United. Richards is clearly not enjoying facing Young, jumping side-on as soon as he gets the ball – which when you’re as generously-posteirored as he is, is quite a length to which to go. Looks like he’d rather be sat at the side with an Echo Thermal Micah Richards Travel Mug.
16 min: Nicholas Murray of Tampa – how apt that the Glazers should be from there, by the way – is not impressed with how City have begun. ” No early pressure on the ball at all, wasn’t this the game they were going to signal a changing of the guard?”
You’re right that they’re not at it so far, but this game won’t signal much in my (not very) humblest.
13 min: United still at it, a Young pea-rolling zooter blocked, before City work the ball towards Balotelli. Smalling eases him into the ground – illegally – and City use the free-kick wisely, mustering some pressure of their own. Eventually finding Silva on the right side of the box, he utterly improbably twinkled past and through three or four challenges, almost in slow-motion – and won a corner off Evans, that was booted miles away from civilisation.
11 min: More corners to United, which they try and take short – a method that works a remarkably low percentage of the time. Maybe they’re better on FIFA or something. City have a bit of possession, but United snap into challenges and they’re not getting anywhere. 70-30 in the possession-percentage stakes so far, in case this sounds biased so far (this is biased so far).
9 min: City concede yet another free-kick, Young poking infield to Rooney, who, back to goal, turns it around the corner and into his path. He accelerates away from Milner, and is brought down, escaping with a talking-to from the ref that must be worse punishment than a card.
7 min: All United at the moment, Young shimmying away from Milner and in front of Richards, winning a corner. United work it short, before Young wellies a shinner that squirts across to Rooney on the right. He eases infield, feinting here and there, before aiming a clip to the back post that’s too high for Anderson.
5 min: Good possession from United until Anderson, moving onto Rooney’s lay-off, gives it away to Silva, weebling after him and bringing him down. A curious case, Anderson – fast, strong, skillful and all the rest, but more than occasionally useless.
4 min: The free-kick is a nonsense, but United win the ball back immediately and build once more, as the late, great Peter Jones was fond of saying.
3 min: United putting the pressure on, first Nani almost finding Welbeck, and then Young dashing by Richards, who brings him down on the right edge of the box, close to the goalline.
2 min: Nani sneaks up on Silva and robs him, setting off on his first run at Clichy, who does well, forcing him into an unintentional touch behind.
1 min: United kick-off, and Old Trafford is noisy. Everyone must have simultaneously picked up a prawn sandwich.
Mark Clattenburg and his hair will be refereeing. He can exchange beauty tips with Wayne Rooney. Daniel Welbeck has a brother called Wayne. Wayne Welbeck – a brilliant name.
Vincent Kompany claps his hands, the PA goon pretends involvement, and players try to take the field, the marching bans refuse to yield, and it’s time for Sky to pay some
sources bills. Adverts.
Looking at the teams again, neither defence looks all that reliable. <Insert MBMers me-cliche, 0-0 it is then, here:>
It’s not really worth pointing out that David Silva can ball. The question is how much City have when he’s kept quiet – that he has been in Europe is a decent reason as to why they’ve found it hard going so far. Not that that’s likely today – United’s midfield has looked solid as suet this season, and if City can dominate that area, they’ll be well set.
“Well done Geoff.” Geoff Shreeves duly patronised for another afternoon.
In dull old Serie A, Meelan have come back from three down against Lecce to lead 4-3.
Mario Balotelli, eh? What a quite marvellous lunatic.
Teams are here! And it’s actually news that’s worth having – both managers have picked attacking players and formations.
Manchester United (4-4-2/4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1/etc): De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young, Rooney, Welbeck.
Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1-ish): Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Silva, Balotelli, Aguero.
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, De Jong.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
So Vidic doesn’t make it for United, and Smalling is preferred to Jones at right-back. I’m feigning surprise that Evans has been trusted when those two are around, but Fergie’s already well too ensconced in that one to do the sensible thing (not that I don’t rate Evans – he can be very good).
In midfield, it’s Fletcher and Anderson – Giggs isn’t on the bench, so there wasn’t a whole lot of alternative, and up front, it’s Welbeck, not Hernandez, who needs to contribute a little more outside the box if he’s to regain his starting role.
Roberto Mancini goes for Richards and Clichy at full-back – the latter might be hoping Nani has an off-day. In midfield, it’s Toure not De Jong and Milner not Johnson or Nasri, with Balotelli chosen ahead of Dzeko up front.
If no one farted, school assembly was almost always a complete waste of time. Save the occasional belter, when the headmistress would read out inspirational letters from disgruntled commuters
detailing Tube misbehaviour, otherwise, “there was once a great Rabbi” was about as good as it got. And if the person recounting the onceness and greatness was a close and much loved relative, well: as the very model of a modern major general might have surmised, they would not have been missed.
Then, one morning, all the girls in the year were invited to the hall, boys left amusing one another with tales of epochal derring-do. When everyone reconvened for lessons, there was much shushkying amongst them about how we weren’t under any circumstances to be told what had come to pass, and it took an inordinate concentration of frustrated charmwiles to extract a run-down of events. “Tell us. Please. Fucking tell us. Oh go on. Don’t be like that. We’d tell you. As if we care anyway. You’re all minging”.
By fifteen or so, we were all too well-acquainted with disappointment, immediately striding the eventual discovery that a lecture against flirting and suchlikes had thus ensued – all euphemistically gathered under the nomenclature “sending messages”.
Which is what will be deemed to have occurred should City win this afternoon. I’ve no idea what it means, though, and likewise with this game – it’s far too early in the season. Both sides are good, both will compete for the title, and both loser and winner will be straight back to the pummelgrind next weekend. However they dress it up, this is a derby: about nothing more than triumph over the Other. Or The Other.