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City teach Manchester United a painful lesson

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Phil McNulty | 23:00 UK time, Sunday, 23 October 2011

Manchester City assembled grim statistical evidence around the feet of Sir Alex Ferguson like rubble - now Manchester United must piece the wreckage back together swiftly to silence talk of a permanent shift in power.

Ferguson did not hold back his emotions as he reflected on the on what United's manager called "our worst ever day - the worst result in my history, ever."

The last time Ferguson, in September 1989, he revealed he went home and buried his head underneath a pillow for hours on end in a bid to make the pain go away.

Ferguson may not have time to seek a similar remedy this time because the speed of City's advance, illustrated by this complete performance and led by the brilliance of David Silva, means they present a present danger to United's title.

The bullet points were blows to the pride of Ferguson and his humiliated players.

It was United's biggest home defeat since 1955, the first time United had conceded six goals at home since 1930 and their first loss at Old Trafford since April 2010.

City scored six in a Manchester derby for the first time since 1926. Photo: Reuters

Mario Balotelli's goals set the platform for the win, helped by Jonny Evans' red card right after the restart and Sergio Aguero's third gave the scoreline a realistic look.

And if Darren Fletcher's goal gave rise to fantasy about a trademark United comeback, brutal reality was restored with two late goals for substitute Edin Dzeko and a deserved strike for the wonderful Silva.

It was an embarrassment inflicted savagely by the club Ferguson dismissed as "noisy neighbours" as they bang at the door of his Old Trafford domain.

The Scot has fought for supremacy in domestic and European competition, but superiority in the city of Manchester has never been seriously challenged until now.

As United were reduced to chaos in the closing minutes in front of a rapidly-emptying and inappropriately-named "Theatre Of Dreams" the questions came almost as fast as the goals, three scored by City in stoppage time.

Was this the most significant result in recent Premier League history? Was this the day the tide finally turned, not just in Manchester but in England?

The significance of result, and the manner of it, must not be questioned. The backdrop to the derby was framed in the context of Roberto Mancini's approach and whether City had the self-belief to flex their growing muscles on their neighbours while coping with the pressure of leading the Premier League.

Mancini and City had this opportunity to make a statement in the toughest environment of all.

It was duly delivered in the most powerful style possible as 20 minutes of United domination gave way to City turning their full power on Ferguson's team in a way even their most wildly optimistic supporter would not have thought possible.

City are the finest and most talented team in the country at this moment. If anyone needs convincing, study Silva's pass for Dzeko's final goal, a thing of beauty and creation from the best player in the Premier League this season.

This does not mean anyone should be emboldened to make definitive long-term predictions based on one afternoon Ferguson and United will be keen to portray as a freak of footballing nature as opposed to a sign of what is to come.

Ferguson will bring measure and experience to this sudden emergency, as should those preparing to announce the crumbling of an empire on the back of one, shock-inducing, result.

Manchester United slumped to their heaviest defeat in the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

Those getting ready to write United's obituaries would do well to hold back as the rest of the season has the capacity to make fools of them all - but the message sent by City simply cannot be ignored.

Mancini and his players did not just take three points away from Old Trafford. They will have taken great reserves of confidence and a concrete-clad belief that they deserve to be league leaders and have the ability to stay there.

City were superior to United in all parts of the pitch. Mancini does not simply have a better first 11, he now has a bench of such strength that it will see him through the long winter and, he hopes, the expectation that will now increase.

The Italian has a squad rich in ability and numbers. It offers him a flexibility that may prove crucial as the season moves into its vital phases after the turn of the year, when United traditionally exert their own power.

If Ferguson missed a trick in the summer it was not investing in an A-List midfield man to replace the  Paul Scholes.

City already possessed one in Silva and how sobering it must have been for Ferguson to see the player he coveted almost above all others, Samir Nasri, only a substitute after he was stolen from under his nose by Mancini.

For Mancini there was vindication for his methods, the most powerful proof that he is willing to take the shackles off the varied attacking talents he has assembled at such cost.

And this only 24 hours after his predecessor Mark Hughes proved the old adage that the secret of good comedy will always lie in the timing after he chose to question Mancini's "autocratic" style of management. He may have been wishing he had held his tongue as City's team of temperaments mauled United.

One man currently offering compelling evidence in favour of Mancini's management is the maverick young Italian Mario Balotelli, moving from the ridiculous to the sublime with two goals after showing his more chaotic personal side by igniting part of his own house by setting off fireworks.

He set up the headline writer's dream with his Old Trafford encore, but of greater importance was his contribution to the team effort and even the emergence of an ability to laugh at his own occasional accident-prone nature, lifting up his shirt after opening the scoring to reveal a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Why Always Me?"

And in among the many delights for Mancini, there came crucial contributions from some who could almost be called the undercard behind Silva, Balotelli and Aguero.

Micah Richards recovered from early discomfort against Ashley Young to again raise questions about England coach Fabio Capello's apparent determination to ignore him, while James Milner put in the shift of shifts as he moved from box to box with equal influence.

This result may mark a seminal moment in Premier League history if United cannot respond, while City will be tempted to treat this 90 minutes as the moment the revolution fuelled by Abu Dhabi's petro-dollars finally arrived.

Mancini the pragmatist will not allow complacency to take hold. And he will know that if Ferguson did indeed take refuge underneath his pillow on Sunday evening, his every thought will have been occupied on how to make sure this was not the day he handed over the keys of power in Manchester to City.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Spot on Phil, great article.

    David Silva, a genius.

    Micah Richards, best Right back in the country, power and skill.

    Glichy, brilliant. (Nanni is hiding in his pocket)

    What a day.

    'Build it and they will come"

  • Comment number 2.

    I was very happy to see Ferdinand and Evans paired at the back. I knew this gave us a great chance as proved correct.
    Also Wellbeck preferred to Hernandez.
    Great selections by R.M. = Mario and Milner.
    Feet on the ground though as only 3 points and 29 games to go!!
    By the way..not a bad 2 goal 15 minute cameo from our "donkey" Dzeko.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree that United were totally dominated today, in a way I have rarely seen before and I have been a fan since the late sixties. Although it's easy to point fingers today at Evans's red card as the main culprit, and definitely United's cavalier attitude in an attempt to salvage an already lost cause didn't help, I think the problems lie deeper.

    I don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that Ferguson doesn't have a squad to rival Mancini's although the Italian does have plenty of depth. Back in September, we were all reveling in United's youthful approach to squad development especially after the Community Shield game. I don't think much has changed, except with Ferguson.

    I maintain that he has completely disrupted the chemistry of his squad by trying to introduce his veterans such as Ferdinand, Vidic, and Fletcher back into his starting line-up that was already flying high. Although Ferguson's hand was forced at the start of the season by injuries, he should have kept the momentum going. It kind of reminds me in a way of how Capello manages England in always going back to veteran players instead of giving youth it's head.

    The season is by no means over and City have a long way to go, but today's result will take a lot for United to recover from and I'm sure Ferguson will be hot in the January transfer window.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=3005

  • Comment number 4.

    great Blog Phil :)

  • Comment number 5.

    devastating loss.

  • Comment number 6.

    wonderful result.

  • Comment number 7.

    Utd will be there or thereabouts but they do have weaknesses that the top sides are exploiting.

    Ferdinand does look to be struggling now, Fletcher & Anderson can not dominate top midfields and Welbeck isnt yet ready to play that position in the biggest games.

    De Gea still looks unconvincing and if Silva can pick holes in Utd's backline then Madrid & Barca will do the same and more. You defend as a side & although Utd's back four wasnt great the midfield protection is sadly lacking, they are exposing there defenders too often & only their legendary resolve going forward has kept them ging at times this season.

    Will this mean City will win the league? Who knows, we will find out more in the next few months especially if they were to bomb out of the Champions League but they certainly made a number of fans in this country very happy today & hopefully Utd fans will take it on the chin like most fans have had to when Fergie's sides have dished it out on them.

    They still havent got that X-Factor sonce Ronaldo left, maybe a big name centre midfielder would go a way to helping them move forward but there arent many around (Schweinsteiger would be ideal but bayern are always tough to get to sell).

  • Comment number 8.

    Always new they had better individual talents than we did. But i was just hoping we could just nick it with a 1-0 instead we got hammered

  • Comment number 9.

    Fotball UK, The Trawler, 1878Onwards.

    It's very quiet, very, very quiet.

    "Put Them To The Sword" = Football UK
    "Cant wait for the next blog" = 1878 Onwards.

    It will live in the memory of millions.

    1. The Theatre of dreams half empty with 20 minutes to go.
    2. Sir Alex, his face, lovely.
    3. The noise at OT, it was like the ETIHAD
    4. Balotelli's T Shirt "Why Always Me", lovely
    5. David Silva conducting an orchestra
    6. Glichy (You UTD fans need to search through Glicy's pokets, you will find soft-lad Nanni hiding in there)
    7. Joleon Lescott
    8. Micha Richards (leading the troops over the Top)

    So many memories..................................................

  • Comment number 10.

    Great article Phil, as always! I'm a United supporter for a very long time, and today reminds me of how I felt when we were relegated. Just unbelievable! The basic qualities which most other teams admire in Man Utd. just weren't there. Our mid-field four just didn't defend! One nil down was bad enough, but to lose a man to such a silly foul was trajic. Jonny Evans will have a lot of soul searching to do, and realistically his long term future is questionable.

    Players returning from injuries is always a problem, and perhaps today we were found out. Ferdinand & Fletcher are in just the same boat as Vidic. Not enough games under their belt! Not sharp enough!

    Then we also had two full backs who totally bought into the dream of being able to pull back a 3-0 deficit! What niavety, especially from the captain! ( I don't rate his leadership qualities )


    Personally, I don't rate Nasri, perhaps as much as you do. He looks good when things are going well, but can he roll his sleeves up when things are going against you?

    I think United are missing Cleverly, who always plays at a high tempo, and is superb at retaining the ball. Looking forward to getting him back to full fitness and back in the first team.

    United will get back to basics, and win the Premier League this year, I hope. They have always been admired for their work rate, but that seems to have disappeared recently.

    Thanks again Phil, your comments are always worth waiting for!

  • Comment number 11.

    Meant to add that I dont think Nasri would have been the answer to Utd's midfield woes, they need someone to dictate in the middle not a widish player who has never played centre midfield consistantly. It would be a player in the Wilshire mould who Utd need but they arent many who arent at top sides these days.

  • Comment number 12.

    It reminds me of that U2 song "ONE".

    We are one.

    Mancini is our leader, he makes the tough decision, he nurtures, he keeps us level headed, he is THE MAN.

    On the field, we have Vinnie ( a GIANT)

    SILVA, OH my, that pass to DECKO.

    Lescott, leaps and bounds over the last 6 months.

    Milner, brilliant.

    Richards. "Never in the field of human conflict"

    Barry, YA YA.

    Glichy, wonderful.

    Balotelli, He's a striker, good at darts, allergy to grass when he plays he is a lot of class, drives aroun Manchester with a pocket full of cash, OH Balotelli, Balotelli.

    We are ONE

  • Comment number 13.

    was that Howard Webb I spotted warming up? or the 4th Official

  • Comment number 14.

    I think this blog will have around half the usual number of comments as very few united fans will be commenting.

    good to see some who have commented have taken the result in the right manner and although disappointed can see the failings of the team today.

    i must admit that i thought united's team spirit would get them through but in the end they looked like 10 blokes who had just met at the bus stop.

    Where was Evra for most of the game?
    when did Ferdinand forget how to defend?
    Why did Ferguson pick Johnny Evans?

    I think there were a lot of mistakes made by United today and Ferguson got his starting line up and tactics completly wrong.

    As a Liverpool fan I am not looking forward to going to the Etihad.

    Also, I said on a previous blog that as long as City attacked then they would open up Man Utd's defence. i think Mancini must have been reading. ;-)

  • Comment number 15.

    The Old Trafford Massacre

    Silva is a wonderful player made Rooney look like a huff and puff Championship player.

    Mancini - is fearless and cannot be intimidated by Fergie, he ouwitted him at the FA Cup semi-final and again yesterday.

    Fergie - has allowed United to become a team of too many kids and crocks, it was men against boys.

    A brilliant day and this is just the beginning.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ Sams town

    you must be grinning from ear to ear.

    I have just been going over some of the posts in the previous blog from certain Unitd fans. I think they will be fairly quiet over the next week or so.

    Was a good game for you boys and while i agree that silva is a wonderful player, i don't think you can really call rooney a "huff and puff Championship player"

    We all know he has wonderful skill but to be fair to him, he was never going to play well because he doesn't get the right service against the top 6 teams due to united's midfield being fairly poor.

    I would disagree that mancini is fearless as well. Once he has played all the top 6 teams and really had a go at them then maybe you could say he is becoming more adaptable but after parking the bus so often last year in the big games fearless is not a word i would use to describe him.

    Still, a cracking day for you boys and hope you are not too drunk still! Going to be some sore, but happy, heads in Manchester tomorrow. and some sad faces n sussex ;-)

  • Comment number 17.

    Well that was an embarrassment. We have nothing but ourselves to blame. City probabaly played their best football and Man united their worst.

    Like the poster above recognised, these are some of the main questions asked for United's point of view.

  • Comment number 18.

    1. Evra has been on the decline for a while now and is always one of the first people on the team sheet. He needs to be dropped. In his prime he was brilliant, but he has no passion to track back and gets sucked in to the middle badly. I don't actually think Fabio is that far off anymore. There is no surpirse most the goals came from the right side.

    2. Rio is a quality defender, but has not had a good season so far. What got to me was his lack of passion and how he simply gave up for the last view goals. He is meant to be a leader, and showed nothing of the sort.

  • Comment number 19.

    3. Me like many others sighed when we saw Evans on the team sheet. He should NEVER play the big games. He is our 5th choice defender, so why does he play? Smalling is 3x the defender. We should have put him in the middle with Jones out wide.

    4. The main issue for me was the players all round attitude to the game. Rooney (and maybe Welbeck) were the only players who treated this game as a derby. Everyone else played as though it was 'just another game'. It is more than that.
    Another worrying issue is how everyone gave up as soon as the second goal went in. Man United have a reputation for there determination, and it was not evident.

  • Comment number 20.

    For me the substitutions changed the game into the embarrassment. But you can't blame fergie. We were losing and were 1 man down, he had to try and be more attacking. Sadly this left a big gaping hole in defensive midfield, which allowed City to have their way.

    I can't wait for Vidic and hopefully a new look defense:-
    Jones Smalling Vidic Fabio

    Sorry for the rant but I am sure you will understand! And splitting the posts up - This blog doesn't publish big posts so well. Full credit to City, looking forward to this season it is going to be interesting.

  • Comment number 21.

    ....would also like to mention that looking at the state of our back 4. Carrick was needed yesterday. A lot of United fans give him stick, but he actually protects the back 4 very well....he probabaly needs to be in a midfield 3 though.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 17-21


    I think most of your points are fairly valid but the one i disagree with is that Fergie had to be more attacking. By doing this is created so much more space and when you only have 10 men (especially against players like Silva) you need to contain and then try and break fast.

    I personally think that Fergie should have started with Vidic and smalling as the CB pair but i still don't think this would have been good enough. vidic always gets shown up against pace players and city have pace in abundance.

    i do agree that maybe Carrick was needed or maybe a more disciplined game from fletcher? He seems to chase and hassle the ball a lot but then this creates space in other areas so maybe he needs to be more positionally disciplined.

    Only mentioned him because for me i would prefer a disciplined performance frm fletcher than any kind of performance from Carrick. (but thats a personal opinion.)

  • Comment number 23.

    I know, I don't agree with what he did, now I have obviously seen the consequences!! But he did it. 2-0 down with 10 men and after the substitutions we had 3 strikers on the pitch. We did put Rooney in Midfield, but from what I remember ( I maybe wrong) we were playing:-

    Jones Smalling Rio Evra
    Fletcher Rooney Young
    Welbeck Chicharito

    Rooney was completly isolated in the middle, which City tore apart.
    I would take an on-form Fletcher over Carrick, but ever since he fell ill from this mystery illness he hasn't been the same. And understandably so, he lost a shed load of weight.

  • Comment number 24.

    @16 Liverpaul85
    =========================================================---

    I think many City fans vented 20 years of frustration at this match and things will never be quite the same again in Manchester.

    I was referring to a fearless Mancini in respect of dealing with the aura which surrounds SAF particularly at OT which seems to be a real problem for British managers (Dalglish apart).

    I think the FA Cup semi result (and the FA Cup itself) provided the foundations for this result as it gave the club self belief after defeat in a number of close matches with United.

    United will comeback strong but without the Ferdinand and Vidic partnership working as it used to they are pretty average in defence.

    They will focus on the red card as an explanation but I can't see them overtaking City again this season.

  • Comment number 25.

    Yeah he has been off form for a while now. obviously the illness didn't help but for me he just seems to be a bit too much like a headless chicken. Its great that he can run and run and run but sometimes you just need to sit back, get into position and make the other team play around you. fletcher seems to create a lot of space for teams like city and braca to play these little intricate passes through.

    Mind you, sometimes you just have to stand up and say "WOW! Well done mr silva, that was a phenomenal pass" (not too dissimiler to a through ball i played myself just last week!)

    i do just think that Fergie got it wrong today although i think cleverly and andserson would have been a better CM if they were both available.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 24

    I can't see it either, i think city are now getting to a place where they are working for each other. the positional play of Silva and milner today was just superb to watch.

    I understand now what you mean in regards to him being fearless. I think the main problem is the massive amounts of respect that fergie deserves to be honest. He has been and continues to be a brilliant manager, just made one or two errors today and it has cosst him.

    I still think City need to win a fair few more trophies to have this switch of power that phil likes to mention so much.

    its still early days though and maybe those wet windy nights in stoke will cause a slip up or two?

  • Comment number 27.

    I just think Fergie has to realise that we cannot play 442 against strong teams with the midfield we have. All our center midfielders look better in a 3-man midfield, (apart from Cleverly who has not been tried)

    We played Rooney upfront on his own a few years ago, and he was on fire. Now we have Young I don't see why we cannot adopt this formation. Carrick sitting in front of the back four with Cleverly and Ando in midfield is not that bad.

    It is easy me saying this now as I have seen the result, but with a 3-man midfield we would have seen a totally different score line.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 27

    i think the scoreline would have been different, just maybe not the end result.

    i agree that man utd need to be able to adapt their formation more. it seem a far too rigid 4-4-2 at the moment. i think a 4-3-3 would suit better and then change the formation if you need to accomadate subs such as chicharito.

    i think the most telling thing about your last post was "Carrick sitting in front of the back four with Cleverly and Ando in midfield is not that bad."

    can't remember the last side fergie built where the midfield could be described as "not that bad" before all his midfields would have been described as world class.

    Maybe a sign of the times at united? I hope not as i enjoy the banter with all the london mancs.

  • Comment number 29.

    well I am not going to lie and say we have a good center midfield. Since we don't. But when everyone in the top 4 are playing with 3-man midfields, why are we playing with 2 when we play them? as it is clearly the week area in our team.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree with you there. i think if you manage to get a settled defence you have good youth and experience.

    in attack you have pace, creativity, good finishing, good passing, crossing....everything.

    But your midfield looks very weak. i think you need someone like schweinsteiger from bayern, or even someone like Xabi Alonso would be good in there for you.

    I was also wondering what happened to Nani today, he has been excellent for you this season but today he disappeared.

    Have heard a rumour now that Clichy has framed the shorts he wore today so maybe Nani will never be able to get out of his pocket?! only joking. kind of.

  • Comment number 31.

    Phil,

    i was wondering if there are any plans to do a blog on RVP's recent exploits for arsenal or, more interestingly, on which EPL teams are going to be hit hardest by the African nations cup?

    How much do managers think about these competitions when they choose which players to sign in the transfer windows?

  • Comment number 32.

    Is this the lot that was supposed to close the gap on Barcelona?

    If Barcelona was a dot on the horizon in may, they are surely out of sight now, surely. Some say that Messi can not make it in the PL. Well, you are being mesmerised by SILVA! I mean SILVA...

  • Comment number 33.

    What permanent shift in power, Phil ?? ...It takes more than a single match to even think of such a ridiculous statement..
    Chelsea/Arsenal threatened(even won a few titles) in the early 2000s but you cant just tilt a balance merely because of an impulse...sure it creates ripples...but they damp out...

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 32

    i would like to know who these people are that say Messi couldn't make it in the EPL?! surely they are people who have never watched a game of football.

    @ 33

    It may be a ripple at the moment but your CM needs some serious work and come the end of the season, that ripple may be a tidal wave hanging over the stretford road end.......

  • Comment number 35.

    United went into a hiding as soon as evans was sent off, i knew it will be a city win at the moment only a miracle could have saved them the drubbing.

    Mancini got his tactics spot on, united were the more attacking side in the first half but whenever city has the ball they looked unconvincing.....

    3 players against david silva in the box and they can't get the ball off him, sign of things to come in the match.

    As soon as the 4th goal was scored i knew 1 or 2(happened) more goals are going to be banged in. United were all over the pitch and clueless.

    All the top players didn't turn up. Evans was a disgrace, out of position for the 1st goal and responsible for the misery thereafter, mark my words his career at OT is over.
    Nani where was he they say he is one of our best players not even a single decent cross he made awful.

    Evras needs to know he has to defend too, only overlapping attack isn't your job profile. Ferdinand Didn't turned up enuf said..............

    Humiliating

  • Comment number 36.

    The saddest thing to see there all evening was as soon as the 3rd goal went in the so called fans of the Theater of Dreams started leaving what kind of fans are we.

    I had seen the whole match despite knowing the outcome and the final humiliation so come the day when we take our revenge you should know how it feels.

    Those who left early are not the true fans, i would say those gunners who were there at the 8-2 drubbing to support there team were much better then them.

    Still Manchester United is my team and we true fans will always support it no matter whatsoever.

    Get a grip mates only a new challenge has just begun.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 35/36

    Excellent assessment of the game and good to see a man Utd fan acknowledging how bad they were. there have been a few others but many less than if they had won.

    I was surprised by many things today, the line up, the result, the fans.

    i guess all this pales in comparison to the horrendous events in Malaysia where a young man by the name of Marco simoncelli was killed on his Moto GP bike. As a bike fan myself it has shaken me up to see such a phenomenal rider gone. I think everyone's thoughts will go out to his family friends, team and the riders involved.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    @37
    the motogp accident was sad, it was the lad's first season in MOTO gp, he also has some good performances as well. too bad RIP marco we would have liked to see some more from you

  • Comment number 40.

    Fergie’s post-match comments were spot on. United’s football in the last twenty minutes was suicidal.

    Now I admire the fact that they refused to give up even when they were three goals and a man down – that’s a big part of what makes Manchester United such a special club. I truly believed the game could be saved when Fletcher scored. You could almost sense blue nose Danny Mills trembling in commentary when that goal went in. But what happened after that was farcical. Evra and Jones were nowhere in the picture when Citeh scored those late goals. I’m all for chasing the game but you’ve still got to keep at least a semblance of shape when you go forward.

    Evra for me is fast turning into what Gary Neville was in his final days: well and truly past it. Ferdinand was an absolute disgrace: another one that’s over the hill. Yesterday reminded me of his performance against Barcelona at Wembley: he just didn’t turn up. And I sincerely hope we’ve seen Evans for the last time in a Man Utd shirt.

    There can also be no doubt now that United need a creative midfielder. Fletcher had a good game but his forward passes were absolutely hopeless. United need someone in the David Silva mould to link the midfield to the forwards. Can’t rely on Rooney all the time.

    Oh well. I’ll never write them off but if United can’t win the league this year, I hope one of Chelsea, Arsenal, or hell, even Liverpool win it. Can’t believe I just wrote that! It’s probably inevitable that moneybags Citeh will win it at some stage but it would be nice to keep the pansy blue shadow dwellers waiting just a wee bit longer.

  • Comment number 41.

    What United did wrong:
    1. Playing a 4-4-2 against City's defensively robust 4-2-3-1
    2. United's CMs trying to pass the ball into the wings exclusively, instead of playing a forward pass. This was identified by Mancini and he had Barry and Milner to track back and help his full-backs
    3. Not playing Carrick who is a better passer than Fletcher and Anderson.
    4. Benching Jones, Picking Evans and Dropping Vidic
    5. Rio and Evra are increasingly poor every match.
    6. Not introducing Park

    What City did right:
    1. Made sure there were 2 players attacking a United's full-back. Milner switched wings and made sure of that. Case in point: Goal 1
    2. identified United's wing play and defended intelligently. Their zonal marking was very good.

    What United could have done:
    1. Man-mark the hell out of Silva. There is no shame in resorting to man-mark a class player. Moyes tried it but he didn't have the players Fergie has. United should have assigned Anderson to mark Silva or may be played a 3 man midfield with Phil Jones marking Silva
    2. Switch Nani to left wing as he was handled far too easily by Clichy. Nani somehow looked like not wanting to play 1-2s with Smalling. One of the most irritating displays from him.

    http://442footballfever.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/was-the-6-1-really-on-the-cards/

  • Comment number 42.

    good article- Phil. Manu did miss some mid field generals to cover the back as they would for the goal keeper. Evra had a very disappointing game, time to relook at this position. Park should have been introduced after the 1st goal but how on earth did anyone believe this mauling was in script. Mancini always come with a defensive mindset but opens up the moment he finds an opportunity. Even last year I think when they visited Arsenal he played for a draw and ensured they stay afloat..however too early in league and good confidence boost for Man C with return leg at home.

  • Comment number 43.

    As for the bigger picture, Citeh have a great chance to kick on from here and win the title. For United, I don't think we need to be alarmed just yet because Fergie's still around. Chelsea's billions couldn't stop us winning three titles on the trot. Why should Citeh be any different?

  • Comment number 44.

    #41 Varad spoke about man marking Silva.

    Moyes did do it and it worked for 79 minutes until a seriously deflected goal made Everton chase the game.

    Watching on TV I agree with comments that Carrick was needed in cente mid.
    Anderson never tracked back and was lucky not to give City a penalty in second half. IMO he is a great player when things go well but hides when they don't similar to Nani!!

  • Comment number 45.

    @ scholes Legend,

    i think now is the time to worry, when chelsea cam around with their millions to spend Man Utd had a squad at it's peak with the financial power to still match the blues.

    Now it appears that your weak in certain areas (CM & CB) and i'm unsure that Fergie now has the financial backing to bring those players in to shoree up these positions.

    don't get me wrong, CB will not be a problem in a couple of years when Jones and Smalling have matured, but at the moment with Vidic (struggles against pace), rio (struggling to find form after injuries) and Evans (struggles to see the ball) the defence doesn't look as safe as it has in recent times.

    I am really worried about your CM as well, Fergie seems unable to change to match teams that play 4-3-3 (see Barca & City for examples of this).

    if anyone can bring the club back on a par it's fergie. But how much more Fergie time is left???

  • Comment number 46.

    hughes comes across as very bitter these days.

    he neatly sidesteps any issues he had at City with Elano, Ireland, Petrov and Robinho. The fact that in his first season with the money he finished 1 point and 1 place below Sven after his first season after spending considerably more cash and believes he would have done even better and won the league last season. All this while protesting he has nothing against Mancini who he describes as autocratic (I am sure Mr Elano could have a few words on that subject).

    All that aside is it pure coincidence that Cook went because of an email that came to light 8 months later to a players agent who just happens to have Kia J as an advisor. Any coincidence that Tevez advisor is Kia J? Any coincidence that Hughes's advisor is (suprise suprise) Kia J? And that Cook and City got rid of Kia's influence at the club when Hughes left?

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh dear,. I wonder what the manchesterunited centric journalists will say to that? They'll all be crying in their whisky.

    I note with some amusement that a certain Rio Ferdinand refused to travel to Wembley with the Glazer family to act as honorary captain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his starring role in the embarrassing rout.
    Throwing a toddler-like sulk is a clear sign of a graceless winner as well as a bad loser. Another clear sign that this over-paid overrated prima donna needs to grow up.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a day of football - now that was entertainment :o))

    Utd were sooooo found out, and about time. The Chelsea match was amazing too.

  • Comment number 49.

    This is the beginning of the end for SAF.

  • Comment number 50.

    It was without doubt a horrible result as a United fan, and I'll take off any rose tinted glasses that I own before even writing this.

    Sat as I did in the pub watching the game the first half followed the path of the Charity Shield with United dominating possecion for the whole half, but City scored with the one true attack. Half time approaching, I had the City fans to my left wondering if they wanted to go in at half time in the lead, as they recalled the Charity Shield.

    The second half began and with City's first attack, Johnny Evans was sent off, quite correctly, but in the position he was no other defender in this league or any other around Europe for that matter wouldn't have done anything different to try and get the ball. Evans had been doing well till that one point. From this point on, City looked more likely to score as they attacked with the numerical advantage, aided by Patrice Evra's impression of defending. However, we'll never know if the score line would have been any different had Evans stayed on, but I and the city fans around me all agreed that it's highly unlikely. That said the final 5 minutes saw a capitulation by United, of the like I've never seen before, which I'm sure Sir Alex will address some time this week. In that last 5 minutes the likes of Ferdinand and Evra should have pulled the team together been captains they are and stopped the flood of goals and got the team making an effort, but neither did which is a worry and another conversation for another day.

    In reference to David Silva, I think the pub I was watching it in had a different game on to the one described. Having watched him play quite a bit, I felt he was woeful by his own standards yesterday, but I don't think any of the midfield on any of the teams really covered themselves with glory. Which may sound strange, but as previously stated the scoreline was inflated by the sending off.

    My veiw of the game in general was two teams fairly equal, but one proved rather clinical when given a man advantage against a team chasing the game. The game was over once Evans was sent off, that was the game changing moment. The scoreline hurts like hell, it's stunning, it's shocking, and embarrassing, but I think that masks the actual peformance by both teams.

  • Comment number 51.

    Being a united fan the game was hard to take. but we can have no real complaints about the outcome, the way we crumbled in the last few minutes was worrying but I think we need to be cautious about extrapolating united's demise from this. United usually have one or two games a season where they cop a beating yet when the dust settles they are always there at the end. I don't expect it to be different this year.
    City have shown they are strong and will obviously be favourites after the results yesterday, they have a huge squad and at present a manager who is using the array of talent well. But the season is long and there will be twists to come.
    I don't believe united have a big defensive problem, if the players are not injured Fergie should go back to ferdinand/vidic combo asap to steady the ship. The problem clearly remains in midfield. We have seen on numerous occasions that decent players like Anderson and Fletcher are not grest players capable of winning the biggest games. With Nani and Young (to some extent) there is always a light weight element to the midfield from a defensive perspective. If the holding midfielders can make up for that then ok but at united they can't. So we need some bolstering in midfield - we have known that for 2 years plus.
    Nonetheless we should still pick up the points against the lesser lights and I would imagine there is a big chance united go on a decent ruun now but away at Everton is a tough starter.
    Finally no home fans like to see such a beating from cross town rivals but the empty seats are a bit of an embarresment for the united fans. We have had a long run at the top, have 'humiliated' many teams and should realise the team needs the support at some moments. I think the end of this match would have been one such moment where the supporters could have shown their support.

  • Comment number 52.

    @45 Liverpaul85

    i think now is the time to worry, when chelsea cam around with their millions to spend Man Utd had a squad at it's peak with the financial power to still match the blues....

    ----------------

    I'm sorry but that's wildly off the mark. When Mourinho's Chelsea were steamrolling everything in their way, United were a team in transition and were completely written off. The likes of Rooney and Ronaldo were still unproven then and Carrick was the only major summer signing when United reclaimed the title from Chelsea.

    I remember when Benfica knocked United out of the Champions League group stage around that time and Fergie looked a shattered man. I had serious worries then but Fergie, as always, managed to rebuild yet another successful team. Cue more league titles and a European Cup. Lesson learned: never write United or Fergie off.

    I agree with you that United's current central midfielders are decidedly pedestrian for a big club. Cleverley is the big hope there but the rest just don't cut it and maybe they never will.

    I also won't deny that I fear the day Fergie calls it quits. But let's cross that bridge when we come to it.

  • Comment number 53.

    First and foremost, I must offer my most heartfelt congratulations to Man City, you deserved every bit of it, and we deserved what we got.

    Call me crazy, but this result might actually do United some good in the long run. We've got away with our frailties for far too long, and this is the proof. United's defence needs completely gutted. Evra needs to shape up or ship out, otherwise I say but Fabio in ahead of him. He was the best left-back in the world in his day, but those days seem to be over. The same has to be said for Rio Ferdinand, who has been a great servant to the club, but his time his up. Fergie needs to pick Smalling at RB, Jones and Vidic at CB and Fabio at LB, and stick with that set-up, the main reason our defence is so bad is because the same back four hasn't played 2 games in a row once this season, I believe. If we get that sorted, then we need, NEED a center mid, Anderson needs to improve and he needs to do it now, Fletcher's great when he's at his best, but that hasn't been for a year now, and can someone tell me why on earth Michael Carrick is still at this club? Sell him, Evans and Berbatov in January and get a creative midfielder before City are out of sight.

  • Comment number 54.

    What a complete joke the premiership is now. Eventually if you spend enough you get the title. How fun. What a joke to even talk about Mancini's management skills. Are you praising his deftness in deciding which first team international to play and which first team international to leave on the bench? If they don't grab the title this year, they'll spend another billion pounds. What suspense! The only question now is whether Abramovich will spend more billions or whether someone else will throw cash at Bolton or Sunderland or Stock. It totally doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 55.

    I too agree that this isn't a sign of the times at United. It was just a seriously bad day at the office. Some areas need addressing, but despite the score line there is no need to panic.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54.

    Doesn't that apply to every league in the world? whoever spends the most, has the best players. You get what you pay for (in most cases).

  • Comment number 57.

    @50 leia27

    How can you defend Evans? If you see the red card incident again, he got his positioning horrendously wrong. It was appalling defending. I honestly cannot believe Fergie let Pique go as surplus to requirements. Evans would struggle to make Barca's reserve team and that's no joke.

  • Comment number 58.

    Silva actually hit that last pass on a volley! which makes it even more spectacular. In a split second he had not only judged the trajectory of the ball to hit it clean but he had analysed the position of Dzeko and the defenders and released the pass at the right time. GENIUS. Even better than the pass to Milner against Everton.


    Best player in the league by some distance this little fella!

  • Comment number 59.

    I think this result has been coming to be honest. Utd just have not played well over the past few games. Perhaps City did us a favour in the long run.

    Jonny Evans...He, like Carrick, I do not have confidence in. Like our commentator said yesterday he always has that one big mistake in him.

    But great credit to Man City! They are looking more and more like the real deal. David Silva is just amazing.

  • Comment number 60.

    @57.
    I agree. There are not many defenders who would have done the same thing. It is easier to comeback from 2 goals down than it is 1 goal down with 10 men. Evans shouldn't play games against tough opposition, he is targeted everytime he plays and that shouldn't happen in a Man united defence.

    But regarding Pique, everyone knows we couldn't hold on to him. He wanted out, nothing you can do about it these days.

  • Comment number 61.

    Liverpool fan to start with.
    What impressed me the most was the fluidity of the city midfield and forward line. They all moved position pulling the utd defence apart especially after the poor Evans was dismissed. Agree with previous posts about Evra who once could be easily compared to Ashley Cole but no longer. Would ask why the impressive Jones does not play ahead of Evans?
    Midfield is the issue because the 4 attacking players (Rooney, Hernandez, Nani & Young) are maybe best unit in league though silva and co run them close. Scholes is such a loss and the failure to buy Sneider looks absolute folly now. Fletcher, when fit, can do the anchor role fine but Anderson has been poor in the last few games i've seen him in and seems to have put a lot of weight on. Is Cleverley the answer? Not sure as I have not seen enough of him. January window will need to rectify this if utd wish to retain their title as i can only see City strengthening as well as Chelsea improving especially if a certain spainard continues regaining his form.
    My lot can't beat norwich so we're no threat at the mo

  • Comment number 62.

    As a life long united fan of over 40 years, I can remember another similar scorline when Sammy McElroy got our single goal by mis hitting his pass into the net of the opposition which if I remember rightly was Southampton.
    Yesterdays result was bad. Had City won 3:1 and United with 10 men the jury would still be out on if they had come of age or not. But the last 3 goals were utter chaos. I think Ferguson has to explain why he is willing to play players like Giggs and Carrick and Vidic for some matches, and not for others. We lack Vidic at the back, Carrick in Midfield, I think we lack Park as well. We lacked wisdom grace and a level head. How does a team that wins 8:1 at the start of the season lose 6:1 a couple of weeks later? City have of course arrived there is no doubt. They are a better team without Tevez. I don't think United need any more players, they have the squad , Ferguson just doesn't know his team and his tinkering with it has been evident the last few games as they have gone from being off the boil to being frozen solid. Uniteds best start to the season and their worst defeat... It's a crazy game and all I want to know is now what will happen next? Swansea will beat City? .....Because on that form no one else will.

  • Comment number 63.

    Just like when Arsenal came of age eh Phil ?


    Great result if you are a City fan, Awful result if you are a United fan.

    Congratulations to City, we need to improve.

  • Comment number 64.

    Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the game. Well done City. At last Utd have been found out. They have been getting away with results for the last season or so. Ferdinand was particularly bad yesterday, think it's about time he hung up his boots. We should have beaten them last week at Anfield. Finally, congratulations to the thousands of committed 'Man U' supporters who left with 20 minutes to go, nice to see you all getting behind your team.

  • Comment number 65.

    Interesting reading all the post-mortems. Surprisingly, no supporters from either side saw that type of score coming; same as for ManU v Arsenal match. It is so easy to talk after the game and say what the manager should have done. That is the beauty of the game. The one good thing about the result is that the referee did not grab the headlines. My good advice to those that are critical when your team loses; relax, it is only a game of football and you cannot win them all. More later ......

  • Comment number 66.

    Typical hyperbole Phil, but the truth (as always) is a little more prosaic. Utd edged a close first half (but like the Community Shield) went in behind. Reduced to 10 men right at the start of the second half it was effectively game over, with UTD having to gamble and City good on the break.

    My only criticism is that UTD should have stopped thinking they could have got something out of the game at 4-1 down, but hey I like that mentality also and its why I love em, as Fletcher said its only 3 points.

    Sets the season up nicely, if City can now handle the weight of expectation which will come with all the gushing praise then good luck to them - however, I ain't too worried as I do not think they will.

  • Comment number 67.

    Come on lets get a reality check here. So City deservedly thrashed United yesterday and there can be no argument who was the better team, but a "shift in power" as heralded by the anti-United BBC. Hardly.... City have yet to prove they can match the best in Europe and its October. City are still at top 4 side at best amd will remain that way for a while yet. The title is still Uniteds to lose and winning one game, with three goals in stoppage time proves nothing more than bad strategy on the day... lets see what the ABU brigade say come March/April when City ar 10 points off the pace? I shall expect apologies all round from the Bitter Blues and the Scousers out there

  • Comment number 68.

    @62 collie21

    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it you who said Carrick and Scholes had held United back last season just a couple of weeks back? Now all of a sudden he's what we were missing? Personally, I think Carrick should have played. He was United's best player by far midweek in Romania.

  • Comment number 69.

    Why shouldn't Manchester United lose 1 - 6? This is a great day for football and the English Premier League in particular. These prima donnas ought to feel the pain of a thrashing, why should they be exempt?

    I see folk going on about Europe and the Community Shield which has absolutely nothing to do with the Old Trafford debacle yesterday.

    Think on this, many a manager would have been sacked after such a result but oh, no you can't do that do 'Fergie', why not/!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Few observations from an United fan from India:

    1. Result justified but not the margin (Last 3 goals were scored in injury time when utd were still thinking they could nick a draw)
    2. How on earth is Johny Evans a better CD than Vidic, Smalling (Bought as CD) and Jones
    3. Chicha is better than welbeck and why is Berba being treated like this (Atleast sell him to a club where he can play)
    4. Rio, Carrick, Evans should be be done away with (I know its harsh on Rio coz he has been injured most of the time)
    5. Nani: why doesnt he attempt running past defenders, the way he always used to. Hope yesterday was an aberration for him and evra (Not a captains material)
    6. Team with likes of Balotelli, Silva, Kun Aguero, Hart, Kompany, Dzeko, Nasri, Yaya, Dejong will have most teams (Barca included) under pressure, i.e if that team plays like a 'team' which they did yesterday.
    7. Mancini had the wings covered yest (Utd create most goals from there) which leads o next point
    8. Has Cleverly's injury come at the wrong time (United did win against chelsea sans him but we were opened up against them too on quite a few occasions). Do we need to put Rooney there till the time cleverly recovers)
    9. Lastly to all those fans who left early, it was shameful ( I swear I saw a utd fan in tears yest after the match)

  • Comment number 71.

    All seasons hinge on moments such as these. For city because it demonstrates what can be done with commitment and application and the right mindset...For united it will simply be to treat this loss as one game, to remember that there is no 'I' in team work and ultimately take their revenge on the next team they face. Winning is not a one time thing...winning is an everyday thing and City have yet to learn that with the good times come the bad...the only way to go from here is down...in the sense of results, because this must be a sweet moment for the boys in blue.

    Regardless of who you support there could not have been many people that would have predicted this result...enjoy it...enjoy the moment and then get back to work. There is a long way to go. The bottom teams need beating and that is not such an easy task these days.

    A fantastic result...truly deserved but if the league is not won...it will count for nothing and the pundits will be calling for the bosses head. United are at there best when ever the need arises...when Christmas come they will be there or there-about...that is when the fun will start.

    This is great for the league, great for the national side, great for the city and great for the fans...real competition and real expectation.

  • Comment number 72.

    The shift in the balance of power between the two Manchester teams actually started two seasons ago. City and United were pretty evenly matched that season in both the Premier League and the League Cup semi-final fixtures. Take away the extraneous Fergie time from the two league games and they would have ended 3-3 and 0-0 instead of being 4-3 and 0-1 wins for United. United fans blindly put both those wins down to United's usual dominance in derbies when in fact both wins late in stoppage time were rather fortuitous if they had been truly honest about it.

    Similarly, the League Cup second leg at OT should really have gone to extra time but Rooney and United once again rode their stoppage time serendipity. Everyone at United (both staff and fans) was so busy rubbing their City rivals noses in the fact that they won all three of those games that they failed to notice how very close they all were ... and they chose to completely forget about the fact that United lost the first leg of the League Cup. That was the season the gap between the two teams actually closed only everyone supporting or following United simply refused to notice it.

    Last season the first league game at Eastlands was a tactical stalemate while City actually deserved to win the return fixture at OT ... but who, blue or red fan, could deny United the win after that superb Rooney overhead kick? The City fans' anger or disappointment at losing that game was completely dissipated in the thought that if they had to lose then at least they lost the game as the result of a goal that was worthy to be dubbed "Goal of the Season".

    So it was not until later on in the season, in the FA Cup semi-final, that City could finally demonstrate the new gulf in class between them and their noisome neighbours by actually winning a game they deserved to win for once (because although City had beaten United 2-1 in the League Cup in the previous season that too was a very closely fought game and United were as unlucky to lose it as they were lucky to win the return leg by the extra goal).

    The Charity Shield match was a game that City should have closed off once they were ahead 2-0 but, like the later Fulham game, they lost concentration, took their foot off the pedal, and threw away their lead. But even then it should have ended as a 2-2 draw and gone to penalties. The fact that it ended 3-2 for United due to a late Nani winner was another piece of United stoppage time serendipity.

  • Comment number 73.

    @64

    "They have been getting away with results for the last season or so."

    I am a United fan and I completely agree. After the Norwich game I said we would get slaughtered soon by a decent team and I made the prediction it would be away at Anfield like it has been in the past few seasons. Well I was one week too early. It has been coming all season.

    The talk in the stadium, in the pubs and homes of most United fans I know is just how bad our central midfield is and has been for the last 5 YEARS!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    There are few who defend Carrick and more
    Some who say Fletcher is still injured (virus)
    Lots who defend Anderson although I have never thought this guy is anywhere near good enough for us.
    Some who still think Rio is good enough
    Some who think Evans has 'been our most improved player'
    NONE who think Evra is putting in 100% effort this year!!!

    Never mind having a poor season, Evra, I feel, is actually not trying in games. He makes no attempt to track runs anymore and you see a million and one times when he is too central!!

    Will this be Fergie's wakeup call that our midfield is so poor?? No, I don't think so as we've made the 'wakeup call' statement many a time in the last 5 years and absolutely nothing has been done about it.

    Anyway rant over. This won’t be a walk in the park for City, but at the moment I don't think the challenege will come from us with this midfield line up and the centre backs changing every single game.

  • Comment number 75.

    A truly wonderful day if you are a City fan, without doubt. But as a City supporter for longer than I care to admit, I remember the 5 - 1 defeat of United back in '89. City fans banged on about that victory for years afterwards even as United went on to win more FA Cups, Premier League titles and European Cups . . . and we won nothing (until last year) This has to be the moment when we do indeed grow up as a club and a set of supporters: it's silverware that counts and nothing else. Whether we beat United 0-1 or 1 - 6 it's still only 3 points. Winning the Premiership must be our number one priority and beating the neighbours has been a step towards achieving that goal, but no more than that.

  • Comment number 76.

    So if you look at the trajectory of City's derby game performances over the last few seasons - rather than, as Gary Cook might, at only their trajectory of derby game results - then a significant derby win by City has been on the cards for some time now. However, a 6-1 drubbing of United was probably a bit more significant than their latest performance merited. City scored against the run of play in the first 25 minutes of the game, and I bet no City fan could have predicted a 6-1 result when City went in at half-time only leading 1-0.

    A 3-1 result would probably have been a fair reflection of City's superiority on the day but United completely collapsed during stoppage time. The fact that City scored three goals in injury time - a propensity that United have pretty well monopolized over the last few years - was probably just as sweet for every City fan as was the five goal margin of victory. This is one game I personally would have enjoyed there being three or four minutes of extraneous Fergie time added because by the end of the match City's strikers were averaging a goal a minute, so if there had been four minutes of additional stoppage time the way Ferdinand and Co. were playing - or more precisely, not playing - by that point, the final score line could have been 10-1 ... which would have broken even more records!

  • Comment number 77.

    Well Man Utd cant win all the time and it was just one of those days that went bad. Just got to accept defeat and see the truth of it.

  • Comment number 78.

    As a United fan I was embarrassed by the result, but I cant say I didn't expect Man City to win. They have quality throughout there team that we don't have. We need to invest in our midfield because that is our major weakness.

    But on the upside, still most of the season to look forward to.

  • Comment number 79.

    @72 LOL

    Serendipity : It was only last night that I saw that movie

  • Comment number 80.

    @69.
    So we have our first stupid post of the day.

    "Why shouldn't Manchester United lose 1 - 6? This is a great day for football and the English Premier League in particular. These prima donnas ought to feel the pain of a thrashing, why should they be exempt?"

    ...How can you be exempt of pain in a derby thrashing?

    "Think on this, many a manager would have been sacked after such a result but oh, no you can't do that do 'Fergie', why not/!!"

    Like who?

  • Comment number 81.

    Man Utds defence yesterday was awful, probably the worst I have ever seen them. Time and time again Man City players just ran around statues and quite frankly the score could have been 10-1. Look at the Man City goals again and you will see great movement from the city players but defenders not tracking runners and Man City players getting tap ins as a result. It's fine to make the excuse of the extra man, but that should mean players try harder to cover space not walk back like we saw Evra, Ferdinand and Young all do yesterday. They now have a tough, tough away fixture at Everton next week which could also end in tears.
    On the Man City side though I thought they defended comfortably throughout without panicking which was very impressive and Silva's touch and vision was absolutely incredible and on another planet to any other player on the pitch. He seems to get better every time I seem to see Man City.

  • Comment number 82.

    ScholesLegend, nope not me. At least I don't think I have ever said Carrick was bad or holding us back....... :-) Scholes I said was past it... I said I was worried about Ferguson relying on older players who have had their day, Giggs included. I also never understood the love affair with Neville either....Now he is doing it again with Evans and more so with Ferdinand. I genuinely think Ferdinand has his head elsewhere and is getting to be past it. But Carrick this season seems to be the only real anchor we have had in midfield as fletcher is a shadow of his former self.

  • Comment number 83.

    @72 Tell it how it is

    You most certainly don't tell it as it is. So injury time goals don't count? Let's chalk off Citeh's last three goals yesterday shall we?

    Yesterday was the first time in a long time Citeh truly outplayed United.

  • Comment number 84.

    @75

    Top post.

  • Comment number 85.

    A truly unbelievable result. No team should ever get beaten 1-6 at home, let alone United at Old Trafford.
    They have looked shakey all season, especially in defence, and finally they got put to the sword.
    I agree with some of the comments earlier that Ferguson is getting a lot wrong, but is either too stubborn or in denial.
    Reading some of the comments elsewhere from United supporters makes me wonder if they are the same.
    United will bounce back, they always do, but is the damage done in the title race?
    Well done City, and well done Mancini who is showing his pedigree with dignity.

  • Comment number 86.

    SAF definitely got his starting line up wrong and showed that he is lacking in midfield.

    Evans for me isnt even really premiership quality, maybe Ferdinand is past it, but above that he wasn't even in form. As soon as is saw both team sheets i had this feeling that Man U was in for a tough game, Evans being the weakest link and Ferdinand close behind. Then a goal down and 10 Man United were never gonna come back.

    But all Credit for Man City should go to Milner and Silva and a good all round team performance.

    SAf now needs 1 good holding midfielder and a player like snider, so i would expect come January Man U will be bringing in another 2 players.

    Its a good day for City fans and i am genuinely happy for them.

  • Comment number 87.

    What a complete joke the premiership is now. Eventually if you spend enough you get the title. How fun. What a joke to even talk about Mancini's management skills. Are you praising his deftness in deciding which first team international to play and which first team international to leave on the bench? If they don't grab the title this year, they'll spend another billion pounds. What suspense! The only question now is whether Abramovich will spend more billions or whether someone else will throw cash at Bolton or Sunderland or Stock. It totally doesn't matter.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Agreed. But as most people in England and certainly the vast majority of overseas fans jump on the bandwagen of success and follow the top clubs - then the wider audience doesn't care or simply doesn't know any better. Personally I do hope City win the title just to underline even more emphatically than Chelsea did that titles are bought. Money has now corrupted the top end of the game to such a degree that as a sporting contest its pathetic.

  • Comment number 88.

    As Roberto Mancini and Vincent Kompany said, at the end of the day, it's only 3 points, and there's a long way to go, and these are words that many on these boards, including some of the BBC, would do well to heed, for the inevitabilty of a 20th title this season from some commentators after the Community Shield is now shown up for the idiocy that it was.

    Unbelievable result for City! Is an FA of 33 and 7 after 9 games enough to be able to call a pattern, Phil? Nonetheless, as I posted on here last week, there are a lot of fine lines in football. If Evans hadn't been sent off yesterday, it probably would have been a much tighter game, but on the other hand, it couldn't have been a clearer red. I think City threatened something similar at Bolton, but that day, with limited opportunities, Bolton hit back at just at the wrong moments. Even after Bayern dominated the CL game, you wonder what would have happened if the City shouts for what I don't think could have been clearer penalties had been given. And are Bayern so good now after getting beat by Hannover? All teams get beaten, but now we'll hear that Phil Jones will suddenly stop being the new Duncan Edwards, for the moment, until United have a turnaround in their fortunes. Of course, it's a complete nonsense, and the media love it that way.

    As Chelsea showed last season after a steam roller start had the fickle football fans announcing the title was already decided in September, and ridiculously, this season after just one pre-season game Alan Hansen saying there was no hope for the also rans, you're only as good as your next game. So,as ecstatic as I am about yesterday's result, and I've watched it over and again from every possible angle, it's on to the next game now, away to Wolves in the Carling Cup on Wednesday.

    Difficult to fault anybody yesterday, but with liabilities like Mario, you have to say "Who needs reliability?" It's a stereotype, but Best, Maradona, Gascoigne, etc, suggest, remove the devil, you remove the genius. Micah's cross for the third was beautiful. And James Milner is just completely transformed. It reminds me of Paul Gascoigne saying how he wishes he'd seen all the runs that Gary Lineker used to make. James Milner is suddenly seeing situations that he never saw before. And who is the catalyst? DAVID SILVA. Have we ever had anyone like him in English football, who doesn't get flustered when he arrives in the box, and is comfortable and patient enough to hold onto it just a few yards out f

  • Comment number 89.

    Micah Richards has to be our first choice right-back at Euro 2012

  • Comment number 90.

    As thoroughly enjoyable as this result was, I would never be fool enough to write off Man Utd.
    Man City are, currently, the best team in the Prem. The confidence City they will have gained from thrashing United on their own turf will be huge. They were already banging in goals for fun against lesser team.
    So City can move onwards and upwards while Man U will re-group, strengthen the back four and come back stronger.

  • Comment number 91.

    a city win was no real surprise (forget the scoreline) the way united have played recently, giving up chances to even mediocre team visiting old trafford. a combination of cynical defending and taking advantage of united's stupidity doesn't really add up to being taught a lesson. worst moment of the day was seeing the teamsheet. fletch and ando is not a midfield and evans is just meat with eyes. fergie needs to own up to his own contribution here and at anfield.

  • Comment number 92.

    @83

    I didn't say that at all. You seriously need to improve your reading and comprhension skills.

  • Comment number 93.

    City could have scored 19 (I know Man U fans like that number).

  • Comment number 94.

    Great piece PM! You summed it all up very nicely.

    City were a class above yesterday and even showed maturity to absorb the early onslaught by the home team and then put the foot on the pedal when the time was right.

    It appears the city of Manchester is far from united and yesterday was certainly one for the mambers of the sky blue revolution to revel in.

    Hat off to Mancini as well letting Adam Johnson play no roll after his substituton dummy spit. He is laying the law down and showing the players who is in charge following the Carlos affair.

    Horror day for UTD, but also for Chelsea (7 yellows, 2 reds) but in Chelsea's nightmare they still came agonisingly close to snatching a point. For me, and I am by no means a Chelsea fan, they pose a much greater threat to derailing the City juggernaut than Ferguson & his band of not-so-merry men. with all this talk of the manc derby, they are the forgotton about team in the title race.

    Sure the blues lost at Old Trafford, but it was a game they could have won. It is the Chelsea vs City game that I most look forward to on 12th of December (day after el classico - mark your diaries people) that could have a more profound effect on the title outcome.

    More on the Chelsea chances here.
    http://therestijustsquandered.com/2011/10/23/avb/

  • Comment number 95.

    I was thinking today what teams our current midfield would get into. As I went down the prem league I crossed off City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal.

    I finally found Norwich and I thought, yeah maybe Anderson would get in this time (maybe), still not sure Carrick or Fletcher would.

    That is the level of our midfield at the minute with no disrespect intended to Norwich fans.

  • Comment number 96.

    88 (continued)....

    ..... for the bonus options that no-one else seems to be seeing. And watching behind all this hardly bereaking sweat it seemed, was Yaya Toure. I'm worried about his absence during the African Nations Cup, but well cross that bridge when we come to it.

  • Comment number 97.

    not only could chelsea have won at old trafford, but so could spurs (with a youngsteer and a reserve in midfield), arsenal (third team) and norwich... if only any of them could have taken their chances. united have been winging it for weeks. it's all very well to say fergie needed to replace scholes, but he still hasn't replaced keane. the reasons for this were on helicopter ride to wembley. still, at least giggs won't have to worry about people pointing out his lack of balls this week.

  • Comment number 98.

    Being a Gooner, I am happy with this result of course after our spanking by man yoo. Balotelli is fast becoming my favourite player outside the Emirates, football needs characters like him and boy oh boy has he got serious potential.

    No, one result does not mean the end of a dynasty, however serious work is required in January at Utd, the same as at my beloved club, but we will both be up there in the end I am sure, but will either of us be strong enough to stop Citeh? Doubt it. The only hope for everyone else was the fact that a squad of top players may not gel.. can't use that argument anymore.

    Money cannot buy you class maybe but it sure can buy you class players!

  • Comment number 99.

    As a neutral it was an amzing game and an unbelievable result for City.
    Whilst I find it hard to revel in CITEH's euphoria as their success has been built on an overly munificent benefacor which will prove, in time, to be highly detrimental to the stability of other club's in the EPL (i.e. wages, transfer fees etc) it was nevertheless a high octane performance from CITEH.
    However there is something odd happening this season though with shambolic defences.
    I'm not sure I've witnessed a season quite like this with so many high scoring games.
    Whilst there are some sublime strikers out there some defending has been woeful e.g. Arsena's 8-2 drubbing was some of the worst defending I've seen for a long time.
    Whilst Utd, with a man down, were always going to struggle to a rampant CITEH their defending was equally dire verging on schoolboy error strewn stuff.
    However after Utd's explosive start they have looked poor at times and a heavy defeat was on the cards - but not 6-1.
    Before the CITEH hysteria gets out of control they still have 29 games to play and May is a long way away - so hold the Champagne for a moment.
    There is no dounbt Utd will get over this and they have a number of soft fixtures coming up (except Everton away which might stretch them).
    The next big test for CITEH is Liverpool away on 27th November but confidence can lead to arrogance so CITEH need to watch out for this.
    BTW Tevez was Citeh's saviour last term and the go-to player, it's a salutory reminder of how times change which CITEH should keep in mind at all times.

  • Comment number 100.

    @97

    Getting a bit carried away there. Spurs were not good against us and arsenal definately didn't have 7 chances where they should have scored.
    Agreed on Norwich and Chelsea though

 

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