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Noisy neighbours tear down the walls

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Phil McNulty | 07:17 UK time, Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Roberto Mancini confronted Sir Alex Ferguson while he was standing up, then Liam Gallagher kicked him when he was down. A night in the company of the noisy neighbours was a lonely place for Manchester United's manager.

And how noisy those neighbours were at 9.56pm when referee Andre Marriner's final whistle was drowned out by the deafening delight of Manchester City supporters celebrating victory in the biggest game in 20 years of the Premier League.

It was the sound of Ferguson's worst nightmare moving closer to reality - namely United being denied a 20th title by the rivals he has kept down at heel for pretty much all of his 25 years-plus at Old Trafford.

Vincent Kompany's goal settled a game that, almost inevitably, failed to live up to its pre-match billing as it was beamed around the world.

Now it has all come down to this. Two games left, City on top with a superior goal difference. The sense around an ecstatic Etihad was that they could almost reach out and touch the title and yet it could still stay tantalisingly out of reach.

This was, however, a victory for positive intent and the team that wanted to win. So often this team has been Manchester United - not on Monday as a desperately poor and passive United went quietly to defeat.

And what a miserable night this was for Ferguson almost from the moment he handed in a team sheet that hinted at a departure from his natural instincts.

The Scot insisted he has never played for a draw in his life but his selection looked set out for containment and a game without a United shot on target for the first time in three years told you the rest.

Wayne Rooney was deployed in a lone striker's role to his increasing frustration. Ji-Sung Park was brought out of cold storage to no effect in a selection gamble that failed miserably, as midfield was dominated by the magnificent Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.

Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes looked and felt their advancing years as the game progressed and Nani did nothing to justify his inclusion ahead of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. It does not happen often, but Ferguson's team selection was mistaken.

Even Kompany's winning goal was a defensive mess for United. David Silva's corner was missed by Chris Smalling and goalkeeper David de Gea's movement was pinned in by the presence of Carlos Tevez, allowing the City captain to rise and head home.

Roberto Mancini was ready for Alex Ferguson's unexpected outburst. Photo: PA

As if this was not chastening enough, Ferguson was slapped down by Mancini in the middle of an unedifying confrontation late on when United's manager at least showed some of the passion and fight lacking in his players.

Ferguson marched ominously towards Mancini after City substitute Nigel de Jong fouled Danny Welbeck, the old streetfighter ready to put his opposite number in his place. Instead he was met en route by the equally fired up Mancini, giving not an inch and gesturing to Ferguson that he had too much to say for himself.

It took City coach David Platt and fourth official Mike Jones to restore a semblance of order, but Mancini's willingness to take Ferguson on earned him a standing ovation from some of his own fans, revelling in his discomfort by chanting: "Fergie's Cracking Up."

Ferguson - and he will get little sympathy around the Premier League on this one - claimed Mancini had been influencing the officials from the sidelines in a statement that brought a sarcastic rejoinder from the Italian in his press conference.

Mancini then applied the knife further by insisting City deserved the victory that will almost certainly give them their first title since 1967/68 if they win at Newcastle and beat QPR at home because they played to get three points while United went for the one that would have suited them.

This will cut Ferguson deeply as it effectively accuses him of betraying his fiercest football principles but the evidence here supported Mancini.

Could it be that Ferguson was so concerned by City's attacking strength, perhaps remembering the 6-1 beating at Old Trafford, that he embraced a word he hates in all its forms? Conservatism.

For one final insult to injury, Oasis star Gallagher then took Mancini's place in an unscheduled press briefing with the opener "top of the league - how about that?" before he was joined by City match-winner Kompany, greeted with a cry of "Vive La Belgium."

Following a few barbs in the beaten Ferguson's direction and more praise for Mancini - "I love him. He's nearly as cool as me" - the rock star, clad in sunglasses at gone 11pm, was away with farewell handshakes and the message: "City are back mate."

To back up that boast City must win these last two games and, even in the after-glow of victory, some supporters were returning to the old days of dark humour to insist their side can still turn glory into grief in the next 180 minutes.

Mancini played his now familiar game of still painting United as title favourites, but few were listening. City now have the destiny of the title in their own hands, a remarkable turnaround from the feelings of despair and an eight-point deficit that accompanied them on their journey away from defeat at Arsenal in early April.

For United, the tables have been turned and a seemingly impregnable advantage cast aside in the space of four games, including defeats to Wigan and City, and what looks like an increasingly damaging 4-4 draw against Everton at Old Trafford.
In a game that contained few surprises, United provided most of them - and none of them pleasant ones.

Ferguson has always prided himself on never taking a backward step but here he did and so did his team. It is easy to be wise after the defeat, but eyebrows were instantly raised at a team-sheet lacking Welbeck and Valencia, who have excelled recently.
Perhaps the knowledge that a draw would be a workable result for United preyed on Ferguson's mind. Was there even an element of fear in his planning? For a Ferguson side not to muster a shot on target armed with the knowledge victory would more or less secure the title illustrates the scale of their under-performance.

The trademark late charge never came as United were almost timid, a startling sight in a match when even local pride took second billing to the possibility of the title being decided.

Even amid the high tension of the closing stages City football development executive Patrick Vieira - providing a live running commentary via Twitter - tweeted: "Five minutes to go and City are controlling the game. I am not worried at all."

City were stronger, with Kompany and Joleon Lescott coping comfortably with the stranded Rooney, and operated with the intensity that mirrored the importance of the occasion, played out in a thunderous atmosphere from first to last.

The old adages in Manchester tell the tales of how City can find a cock-up in the most promising of scenarios, while United have the powers of recovery to extract themselves from any adversity they find themselves in.

We shall find out just how true this is over the next two rounds of Premier League games. Only a fool writes off United, and this season seems almost destined to provide twists until its conclusion.

On Monday, however, as hero Kompany signed autographs for elated supporters with the clock ticking towards midnight, it was advantage Manchester City.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    I've noticed that the 'Scholes For England' brigade have quietened down in recent weeks?

  • Comment number 3.

    Yesterday's game demonstrated that relying on over-hyped English players is not the way forward. The worst players on the pitch for United were all English.

    Scholes ran around like a small kid in the school playground, as he has tended to do for most of his career in big games. The art of finding space and time against West Bromwich is completely different to finding space and time against some of the top clubs in Europe. Add to that his customary and clumsy fouling, and one wonders how anybody has the audacity to compare his career to that of Xabi and Iniesta.

    Then we have Smalling who was at fault for the goal and Jones who found himself with time and space on four occasions but was unable to deliver a telling cross.

    If a team as poor as United have been this season are able to amass 83 points, it demonstrates how poor the Premier League is.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    City won easily, as predicted. Newcastle is the game they always needed to worry about. If (when) this United team win the league it will be a travesty, but it will be their last for a long, long time. It is the end of an era.

  • Comment number 6.

    City were awesome last night but the United squad is simply not very good, Scholes didn't make one decent pass to hurt City and was Giggs on the pitch? Rooney? oh dear.

  • Comment number 7.

    why is this Gallagher fellow in nearly everything related to city. did he play football? as far as I know he is just a fan, clinging to the last bit of attention his exploits o overf 10 years ago have provided.

  • Comment number 8.

    Writers, pundits, united fans etc… keep referring to us as noisy neighbours, which is totally understandable in comparison to our neighbours “funeral like atmosphere”. They might as well call it the theatre of funerals.

    Keep looking into your glorious past as much as you like, we are looking to the future, and banner will going up comes august.

  • Comment number 9.

    More worried about Newcastle than I was about the derby to be honest, think Newcastle will actually attempt to play football and probably get a shot or 12 on target at St James' - first time in 3 years with no shot on target....toothless!

  • Comment number 10.

    For me, the result yesterday was not surprising. Man Utd have not been the best team this season. They have Rooney to thank for saving them many times because they are quite an average team. Man City have had a slump but their star players showed their worth yesterday and Kompany is the player of the season forget Van Persie!

    http://playwithflair.com/2012/04/28/johan-cruyff-and-pep-guardiola/

  • Comment number 11.

    Time for Ferguson to quit.

    He's run down the squad and making all kinds of mistakes, unfortunately he's past it.

  • Comment number 12.

    One thing I have to disagree with is that the team put out by Ferguson was against his normal instincts. For years ferguson has been putting out a similar shape of team away from home in Europe which was defensively very solid. Granted Man City were wasteful but it would have gone to plan if not for a defensive lapse at a corner. One thing different to the team of previous years though is the centre midfield looks so much weaker, as demonstrated by the recall of Scholes. That and the fact that he left out Valencia who was the form winger of the past month.

    Overall though Man City were well worth the win and are probably kicking themselves over some wrong decisions and snatched finishing.

  • Comment number 13.

    City were by far the better team and it comes as no surprise. They have better players all over the pitch and on the bench. United will invest in some midfield talent in the summer though and will come back again next year.
    Congratulations to City, ye played the better football throughout the season and deserve the title!

  • Comment number 14.

    Noone to blame but ourselves. When I walked into the pub and read the line-up I knew the game was lost: Sir Alex somehow thought he was playing against Barcelona! Too defensive; Valencia on the bench(he has a telepathic link with Rooney). Defensive and maybe nick it with a sroke of luck means Berbatov- the invisible man who materialises at the right moment.
    I'm afraid Sir Alex allowed himself to be intimidated by Mancini after all.
    He went there to draw(not to destroy), with too much respect.
    Sorry Sir Alex, the Everton draw hurt us badly, but yesterday you got it all wrong.
    That team selection wasn't worth the pints.

  • Comment number 15.

    No doubt the Man Utd fans will start moaning about McNulty but what is written above is spot on.

    Ferguson didn't make himself look too clever last night, in his pre-match talk, his team sheet, the tactics and his conduct. He has now left with his tail between his legs.

    I am waiting for the Man utd fans to start whinging about "please stop saying that noisy neighbours comment" but these are the same fans that getting all excited by Hanson's "you'll never win anything with kids" and probably have it as their ring tone!

    Will be an interesting next 2 games, am hoping as a neutral it'll go down to the last game (which I know it will regardless unless Man City beat Newcastle and Man Utd lose to Swansea then it's as good as decided).

  • Comment number 16.

    I think it was the poor United that is the real story. Even if they go on to win the title they will have been seen to fail when the real challenge is on. It has made one decision easier for Hodgson. Don't take Rooney. He can't play half the Euro games anyway so he will be short of match practice. He has shown time and time again that although he can score great goals he is not a player who makes things happen in big matches.

  • Comment number 17.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 18.

    Man City might currently be ahead on goal difference, however I still believe Man United will win the title. After all, City still have to go to Newcastle who are themselves fighting for a potential* Champions League place, will give it their all and I believe will get at least a point. United are playing mid-table teams who have nothing to strive for.

    *I say 'potential' as, as far as I know, if Chelsea win the Champions League and finish outside the top 4 then the 4th placed team go into the Europa League, with Chelsea getting the chance to defend their title.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, however I believe UEFA will want to avoid a repeat of what happened when Liverpool won the Champions League and finished 5th in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 19.

    Who would have thought a team that threw £200m at players would win the league? Someone asked me the other day if one day I would like to see my team back in the Premier League. With the current state of play involving whoever has the richest sugar daddy owner I would happily stay in the football league with real football and real fans.

    As much as I hate Chelsea and the way they went around buying trophies at least they managed to win a few at a time. The fact that with two games to go City MIGHT win the league after spending all that money in an otherwise trophyless season is no achievement at all despite how much BBC laud them as a “team”.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nani's contribution was as follows: ballooning one over the bar when in a promising position, being virtually clean through in the opening 5 minutes but failing to control the ball, followed by a demonstration of the ineffectiveness of his namby pamby footwork. United were crying out for Valencia to start the game.

  • Comment number 21.

    Vive La Belgium? I doubt if Vincent Kompany was as linguistically hopeless as your correspondent. Vive la Belgique, maybe. Vive Belgium (a curious hybrid) maybe. In the same vein even Vive Belgie. but LA Belgium??? I didn't hear it, but I doubt it.

  • Comment number 22.

    Two Managers exposed as showing " feelings of an almost Human Nature "

    Two Teams exposed " before their Peers "

    and The Wall finally torn down.

    From a neutrals perspective not a bad game to watch.

    Concerned at Mariners eagerness to book a City player, and his attitude as to what in his eyes is seen as " dissent " there was mention made of the fact rooney has yet to be booked this season, how he escaped a booking for his aggressive orchestrations towards the Officials is beyond me.

    My view is City will find Newcastle a much harder nut to crack perhaps thats why they
    conserved their energies in the second half.

    a fair result, but i have to agree with the general consensus the Title is far from over.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ #11
    Don't be ridiculous, Fergie hasn't run down the squad, there are some young players like Jones, Smalling, Welbeck who will be all the better next season after gaining so much experience.
    In centre field they look a bit weak but they haven't been helped by injuries to Fletcher, Anderson (who i don't actually rate) and Cleverly.
    In the summer Fergie will buy Gaitan and maybe Hazard, or Modric and United will come back strong!
    You were probably one of the people who said Wenger and Mancini should have been sacked.

  • Comment number 24.

    The 4-4 everton match made me think that Ferguson joking with the 4th official was behaving like Mr X from Streets of Rage 2, when he scythed you down with that machine gun on the last level and chuckled with his shoulders bouncing up and down, unaware of the impending doom heading his way from Axel and co.

    Top professional lip reader Dr. Fred Davies said that Ferguson was saying to the 4th official "this game is won, the title is ours and I cannot wait to use the expression noisy neighbours once more".

    But when Everton blasted those goals in Ferguson hit the roof and snapped at the 4th official.

    It was all quite needless and hasn't endeared himself to anyone.

  • Comment number 25.

    3. At 09:21 1st May 2012, Tadees wrote:
    Yesterday's game demonstrated that relying on over-hyped English players is not the way forward. The worst players on the pitch for United were all English.

    ===================================================

    A tad disingenuous maybe Tadees. You obviously weren't watching Mr Barry, who for me was the best player on the park. His defensive positioning was perfect; his range of passing fantastic and he controlled the midfield area against a team with an extra player in that part of the pitch.

  • Comment number 26.

    One of the funniest things last night was the sight of Unitehd's much vaunted, so-called 'Men In Black' standing there silently accepting being baited by the Manchester fans. Priceless.

  • Comment number 27.

    What happened to all this stuff about United 'never giving up' and not bottling it because 'they've done it all before'?

    They started to crumble when Ferguson proclaimed 'the preparations are perfect'.

  • Comment number 28.

    Yaya Toure the real man of the match.There is no fomation in the current ManU squad that can cope with him around. Scholes, Giggs, Carrick were no match for him. He had Ferdinand on a pedestal or should i say carousel, the same way his ex Barca team mates had united a few years ago. Big game and big win for City. Not a single shot at goal from ManU. Blackburn were given the stick over the wekended for there performance against spurs, but the difference is Blackburn are fighting relegation while ManU are chasing the title. 2 games to go though, it will tough for both teams. Really hope City can pull this one off, as this would open the PL upnext season, as other teams will hav the belief that they can also win some big games, which will make the league less predictable and more exciting

  • Comment number 29.

    Still a cacophony of sounds coming from the serried ranks of boozers in Moss Side which last saw such bedlam when Summerbee was a regular for City. Manu disappointed as predicted. Now the big game is the play- off for league status between York City and Mansfield this Wednesday. Expect similar bedlam at the Kit Kat stadium.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think, like many, Manchester Utd went into the game hoping not to lose rather than believing they could win. I anticipated a similar set-up to the one that worked so well in the FA Cup in January prior to the harsh sending off of Vincent Kompany with United happy to concede possession and ground but with the armoury to counter quickly with devastating effect. It never happened.

    By playing Wayne Rooney as a lone striker, for me, you lose a lot of his strengths and when he becomes visibily frustrated as he appeared to be last night, he becomes more pre-occupied with personal battles than being the creative heartbeat of the team.

    I thought United looked a desperate side, and I will maintain it is an outstanding achievement for them to remain consistently at the top end of the Premier League year-on-year despite their obvious flaws.

    I hope the performances of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling last night will settle any clamour for their immediate inclusion in the England squad this summer, whilst it pains me to say, I thought Gareth Barry was excellent.

    I still have a terrible feeling that City will not come home from St James' Park with all 3 points though.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 31.

    derwaldman keeps referring to Manchester, when he means Manchester United. Where, please, does he think Manchester City come from? There is a world out there that needs to learn that one city can have (at least, FC United) two teams.

  • Comment number 32.

    It was nice to see Mancini stand toe to toe with Fergie on the touchline. Seems there are a few managers around in the premiership now who are not intimidated by Fergie and won't implode in a Keegan style melt down whenever he says anything.

  • Comment number 33.

    The title is there for the taking for Man City.

    Mancini has so far outsmarted, destroyed and obliterated Ferguson at his own games, the mind games. He cranked the pressure up by saying Man Utd were favourites and you can see it in Ferguson and his players eyes that they are thinking "are we? I dont want to be, I dont know if we are" and this doubt has undermined them.

    I would liken it to Streetfighter 2, Ferguson would win the 1st round (with Blanka) with a Perfect and would get concerned that he would actually win the next 1, but Mancini (Zangief) has upped the anti and battered him into submission, culminating in Ferguson rolling about 'seeing stars' and being finished by a spinning piledriver.

  • Comment number 34.

    People speak of Barry as having played well. Having Toure pulling the strings next to him tended to help. In fact, if Toure was in my team, I would look just as good as one-footed and one-dimensional Barry.

  • Comment number 35.

    Deary me, you're all out this morning!! And people say united fans have no modesty or humility in victory.

    I think its quite sad that rather than celebrating a great win for your team, the focus is more on pathetic childish jibes at United.

    Just proves what a "big club" City are.

    From my point of view on the game, all of the pundits are right - Fergie got it seriously wrong with his team selection. I honestly dont think I will ver figure out what on Earth he was thinking picking Park and Giggs, let alone dropping Valencia and Welbeck.
    I know he may have been thinking about taking the draw at least as the priority, but he could have done that without changing the line-up at all - Rooney could have dropped into midfield as he did in the FA Cup match which even prior to the sending off, we were dominating with a flexible 4-4-2. I'm honestly getting a bit sick and tired of this nonsense 4-5-1 formation. For it to work, you need a Silva type player to drift around behind the striker, the wingers need to get forward as much as possible, and you need some energy in midfield - Scholes and Carrick are not that player, and Park never has been and never will be a United player! Gives the ball away almost every time he touches it.

    So, fair play to City, they deserved the win, but can't help feeling that depsite him saying he always moves on from disappointment, if City now win the league, Fergie may regret his selection for this game for a long time. Although, there's 2 games to go and this is the EPL!.............Listen out for that fat lady, I can't hear her yet. B-E-L-I-E-V-E

  • Comment number 36.

    As a man utd I have to hold my hands up and say well played city, they outplayed us in every position. Fell this result has been coming and in many ways should have been more. Cant help thinking that all the money we spend on yearly interest payment could have gone on some trully world class players as opposed to spending less and investing in youth. Think its times for Utd to wake up and see that City, Real, Barca and Bayern are leaving us behind. If Tevez had been at City all season think they would have the title already

  • Comment number 37.

    Well done City.

    I'm gonna go and sulk now :(


    Lukas Podolski "I'm moving to Arsenal to win trophies".

    And they say the Germans haven't got a sense of humour.

  • Comment number 38.

    @16
    Rooney has carried United this season and is their only World Class player. He has to be brought to the Euros. A strike force of Defoe, Crouch, Sturridge or Wlbeck won't scare any team in the Euros but Rooney will.
    He's been brilliant this season and last night he had no support at all up front so it's unfair to blame him for a poor performance from United!

  • Comment number 39.

    Ferguson the epitome of a hypocrite. He is a loathsome man. Last night's "fight" with Mancini showed how low Ferguson has sunk. If he doesn't get 100% of referee decisions he will throw a strop and accuse the other guy of tainting the match officials. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 40.

    To be perfectly honest i wrote the title off after the embarassment of the 4-4 against Everton. The last 10mins of that match were simply unforgiveable at this level, much of the blame has to go to SAF i'm afraid. His team selection against Everton, or rather his reluctance to go to his bench, cost us that game more so than the team performance. Fellaini was causing all manner of problems throughout the match, a tactic employed by Moyes against us in previous game he knew that Utd simply cannot deal a direct over the top approach.

    With 10mins to go and cruising at 4-2 up SAF should have made the changes required to shore the defence up. Why not bring Phil Jones on to play as a midfield anchor to try and nullify Fellaini's areal threat. That would have left Rio and Evans to mop up the second ball rather than being left one on one consistently with the excellent Jelavic.

    Last night was no exception. City showed that at the top end they simply have the edge over us, Utd simply can't compete with a midfield and attack consisting of Nasri, Toure, Silva, Tevez and Aguero. Whilst the 451 was the right way to set up for this match, as trying to play 442 against the aformentioned players would result in, well...a 6-1 thrashing, i do have serious reservations about the players chosen to fit into this system.

    Why Nani was given the nod instead of the previously excellent Valencia, a player that even when on an off day still gives an assured defensive performance is beyond me. How Ryan Giggs continues to get a game is also still a mystery. His lack of any form of pace left Evra completely exposed on numerous occasions, not to mention how fed up i am with seeing his standard 40yrd hollywood passes that lead to nothing other giving possession away. Scholes tried to dictate the game as best he could but when you spend most of the game mopping up after Giggs/De Gea/Smalling have smashed it 60yrds it's quite hard to get into the game.

    Then we have Park, a player that hasn't started a game for nearly 3months (and with good reason). Yes he tries hard, he gets around the pitch but at this level that really isn't enough. He seems to have lost a few yards of pace and is now noticeably getting tired in game after only 60mins or so. His days as the "big game headless chicken" are well and truly over.

    If SAF was intent on playing a 451 i'd have much rather seen a midfield of Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Cleverley and Young. A side equally balanced between speed and technique, a side capable of at least keeping the ball.

    The one bright spot for us was the defensive performances from what is a very back line. Jones and Smalling were excellent for the most part, making up for perhaps a lack of positional sense at times with some wonderful instinctive defensive play. Smalling was unfortunate on the corner, Lescott and Kompany had obviously worked on that set piece for a while and he was just done by a bit of attacking nouse. The same could have happened to anyone, except Vidic!

    All in all not much of a surprise about the result. City well and truly deserved the victory and truth be told prob the title too. I think Utd can def look back at the past 2 weeks as the time the league was lost rather than last night though. Still, a young team will learn from this and hopefully SAF will actually get his cheque book out again.

  • Comment number 41.

    Over to you Newcastle...Ba and Cisse to run riot on Sunday...Newcastle have beaten Man City more times than any other team in England - 48 times...here's hoping it becomes 49..

  • Comment number 42.

    Fergie 'cracking up' moment was almost as good as the Kompany goal.

  • Comment number 43.

    31

    Littleheathen, when I refer to Manchester I mean City.

    This morning I am reminded of a famous Smiths songline, themselves natives of Manchester.

    "Panic on the streets of London, panic on the streets of Birmingham etc etc etc"

  • Comment number 44.

    United do the business at the business end of the season...really? Cannot understand Fergie's selection last night. I honestly think Valencia is the best player Man U own, why bench him? Mancini would never leave Aguero or Silva on the bench in a huge game. Also, everyone giving Rooney stick last night, United didn't play to his stregnths, he was very isolated, this is where his frustration comes from for England, play to his game and he will obviously perform better. Congrats City, 2 wins and you've done it.

  • Comment number 45.

    Fergie got his team selection all wrong. Why change the system so dramatically when he could have kept it the same shape it has been for most of the season, with Rooney dropping back into midfield when necessary. As much as I rate Park, he just couldn't get in to the game last night(that fossil Giggs also), and his selfless chasing just looked a bit daft when he couldn't do anything of note when he got the ball. Why would Fergie chose to throw him in there when he's been on the fringes for so long! Valencia has been the stand out performer in 2012, not going to say anything else about that.

    Ultimately, City more than deserved their win. Nasri was awesome and I was even surprised at the level which Barry played. For all people's criticism of their negativity in the past, Mancini picked a team to attack United and win the game. Even in the second half when he inevitably brought on De Jong for an attacker they still looked more dangerous than United. City deserve the title now on the basis that they've beat their nearest rivals twice, but there's still some tough games for both sides to play, so I'm not prepared to bet on who I think will win.

    To all the United haters out there: you may have enjoyed watching them get turned over last night, but they're the second best team in the country and it scares me to think, that with a few additions to city's team in the summer, how one sided this game may become in the future, let alone against the other 18 teams.

    As a neutral, I was looking forward to this game immensely, but as per usual when a game of this magnitude is billed like it was then it usually disappoints.

  • Comment number 46.

    To be honest, as soon as I saw the team selection yesterday, I had no doubt about the result. United came for a draw and deservedly lost.

    Fergie does get it wrong sometimes but we'll bounce back just like we always do :)

    Good luck to City, but write United & Fergie off at your peril.

    PS: The fact that we had zero shots on target (in fact I don't even remember us having a shot) was more disappointing than the result.

  • Comment number 47.

    Shambles of a team selection. You wonder sometimes what goes through the head of the wily old fox.

    Good mind games from Mancini taking the pressure off city by insisting utd are still favourites. The guy has learnt from his mistakes.

  • Comment number 48.

    Furthermore I think ferguson showed no bottle in respect of his desire to win this game, after all it was City who had everything to loose, the 1st ten minutes suggested
    united were gonna have a real go, after that it ended up hoof ball, united obviously void of any plan B.

    the Officials failed to rescue them and luckily the City players kept their cool .

  • Comment number 49.

    Bryan Robson: "The Tevez saga, stories of Balotelli's nights outs, Ferguson doesn't allow it to happen in his club. He does man-management really well. That could be the biggest difference." Could be right there, Bryan - could be right.

    SAF: "This is the derby game of all derby games. It means everything to the fans and I think going into work on Tuesday morning will be the most important day of their lives for both sets of supporters.” Applying a little pressure served his team well – zero chances. Choke?

    Certainly, if you believe in them, SAF has lost the so-called 'mind games'. And if United fans want to now claim the mind games are media hype (though you’d never hear that from them when they 'work'), then they have to face the only other possibility: that it wasn’t mind games that beat them, it was just a superior performance by a superior side. So, which is it?

    They were all – all the football pundits – saying City had choked and they couldn’t see United losing it, because of all their experience. Well, who choked? It took United several games to chip away at their own lead, but by God they did it. Is experience the magic antidote to choking? Or is it also important to play good football? United were simply outplayed by City. Again.

    SAF: "We're disappointed we never tested their goalkeeper. They had more threat as they had more action around the edge of our box. If you lose a goal from a set-piece at this level, you only have yourself to blame for that." So… didn’t create any real chances and let in a soft goal.

    SAF: "He was badgering the referee the whole game, the fourth official and the linesman…” United are fortunate that they can take the moral high ground, having built their reputation on never employing such devious tactics as badgering officials. How much hypocrisy can one team inspire? So having lost the biggest derby game in his time at the club, SAF opts to further embarrass United. I thought I'd seen the worst of United's play on the pitch, but SAF has single-handedly trumped his own team's defeat. Congrats.

  • Comment number 50.

    Mancini must have been delighted on seeing the United teamsheet. Game over.
    City superior in every department. Kompany and Toure immense. SAF is paying the price for not buying a top quality midfielder in a Viera, Keane, Toure mould. And I doubt if Modric will give them that. The return of Scholes papered over the cracks. Cracks most EPL teams would be happy to have but as this game and the UEFA cup have shown, not good enough at the very top level.
    The one downside for me was that only 3 British players could make what was arguably City's best line-up. And that tells another story. Be interesting to see what difference this 'Fair Play' scheme makes. Probably very little.

  • Comment number 51.

    11.At 09:29 1st May 2012, dogeared wrote:
    Time for Ferguson to quit.

    He's run down the squad and making all kinds of mistakes, unfortunately he's past it.
    _____________________

    As opposed to dogleash who's filled his squad with pub plodders.........

  • Comment number 52.

    Very solid performance from Man City. The only reason I wanted a result like this was to keep the title race open as long as possible and because it just makes a change.

    Was surprised and not surprised at Ferguson's team selection. Park is often brought in as a spoiler for such big games but to have little other drive from midfield was a surprise.

    Hey ho, despite the skirmishes let's not squabble ourselves.

  • Comment number 53.

    Should Ferguson call it a day? A lot of fans seem to think his time is up.

    How can he rebuild young players when he himself is getting on? What good young players would want to join when a change of management is imminent. If I decided that in Football Manager (Norwich, who incidently regularly destroy Man Utd including an 8-0 AWAY win in Champs League) was going to finish in 2 seasons, I would look for quick success in players not ones for the future. Same with Man Utd.

    Look at the latest 'stars' young stars, Chris Smalling was tantalised and systematically dismantled last night and closed his eyes for the corner from which Man City scored. That's under 12's stuff.

    Still, if Fletcher was playing Man utd would've won (a favourite quote Man Utd fans use re; Barca matches!)

  • Comment number 54.

    Not sure why United fans automatically think they are going to win the last two games and City drop points.

    It's that kind of false expectation that has seen them drop from a seemingly unassailable lead.

  • Comment number 55.

    35 NevsaRed

    "Deary me, you're all out this morning!! And people say united fans have no modesty or humility in victory.

    I think its quite sad that rather than celebrating a great win for your team, the focus is more on pathetic childish jibes at United."

    Good God!

    This from a fan of a club whose supporters have spent the last twenty years goading opposing fans.

  • Comment number 56.

    United simply weren't good enough. The line up had very little attacking ambition and key players weren't even starting. Instead players with very little game time (Smalling, Jones, Park) were risked and it simply didn't pay off.

    That being said, if City do end up winning the league it is a very hollow victory. Spend that much money on any team and you'll end up winning trophies, and this team of superstars has very little legacy to what they once were. City fans surely can't see any semblence of their old club in this team of mercenaries (and there are alot more City fans nowadays!) and as such they aren't really City fans anymore- they're merely supporting brute force investment by rich owners, much like Chelsea once did.

    Pundits can talk about City's drive, determination and ambition but its all overshadowed by the fact that if you have a team like that- you should not be losing anything! If they come 2nd I expect another £100m to go into sales to make sure they can't lose for the 2012-13 season. Its an eventuality that City will win trophies- and its all meaningless.

    As a United fan, I think its good for football to see the trophy go in another cabinet for once- it keeps things interesting, but it a shame that it happens under these circumstances. It doesn't particularly hurt me to see City win the league as it simply doesn't mean anything, they're a fake team and it has taken some of the passion away from these sorts of games. The players don't care about the club or the city of manchester- they care about wages and european football. Its not something that people should be supporting.

    Arsenal are one of the few competitive teams I still have genuine respect for- I hope for the sake of football that they're competing closer to top spot next season.

  • Comment number 57.

    Would be funny if Newcastle win..............

  • Comment number 58.

    #16 - LOL! You forget the FA Cup match between the two, or the goal of the season last year, or his numerous goals against Arsenal and Chelsea in our title battles since he joined.

    Seriously, what a joke. He's (arguably) the best player in the league, but as with all players no matter how great, with no service and no support, he cant do anything useful.

    #23 & #30

    Well said both, great to see some common sense and actual footabll knowledge on here.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hilarious loser's rant from Slur Rednose.

    Never knowingly unhypocritical.

    http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/9959/untilwescore.jpg

  • Comment number 60.

    Lets be fair. The title isn't won and lost in a single game. The birds have come home to roost for United. In years gone by they would not have lost away to Wigan and drawn at home to Everton to even give City a chance to draw level at the top.

    I can see this season being a pivotal one in English football... since I do not see the quality of player at United to dominate the league like they have done in the last 20 years. This is proven by the fact that Fergie panicked and sought to bring Scholes out of retirement..... where was the youth players (or major signings) to take his place.

    If Man. United to lose the title to City (since this is what they have done) I can see this being a long slow decline for United.

  • Comment number 61.

    Great to see Mancini not only stand up to Ferguson but make a fool of him as well. I bet SAF wishes he hadn't celebrated the title being won against Everton last week. Oops!

  • Comment number 62.

    Dress it up however you like, they have spent more money than anyone else, any success they ever get will be shallow. I'm not a City or United fan, I just don't understand how people are able to look past these facts, money is the only thing that has helped City.

  • Comment number 63.

    Man City were magnificent last night. In a high pressure environment, the blues showed that they can more than handle the mind games and tension. Kompany was immense, Yaya Toure ran the game and Clichy and Zabaleta played with heart and intelligence. City deserved everything they got last night, they are clearly the superior team.

    United were appalling. Negative from the start and simply couldn't get going after City took the lead. Ferguson stated in the build-up to this derby that United 'always try to win every game'. Not last night they didn't. He came for a draw and got exactly what that deserves.

    The title is still in the balance. There is the potential for both sides to drop more points. But it feels like City now have the momentum. The Chelsea/Newcastle result tomorrow night will have a bearing on Newcastle's state of mind before the game on Sunday. If City can win on Tyneside, they are virtually there.

    City can still lose the title. It would be quite embarrassing for this United side to win the league but it can still happen. The fact that they have already accrued more points(83) than they did the year they won the treble is fairly amazing considering how poor they have been.

    Mancini has played it perfectly. He has ignored United, ignored Ferguson and just concentrated on his team. If he can find two more performances, his team can win their first premier league title. Whatever happens this year, United need to invest or they are in danger of being left behind.

  • Comment number 64.

    What are the odds on Mark Hughes coming & wrecking City's title hopes on final day of the season...payback for getting sacked...

  • Comment number 65.

    It is a sure sign of inexperience that the city fans are counting there chickens before they've hatched! Ture champions know its not over till its over and you'd be a foolish man to write off Ferguson and United at this stage. how foolish a man is after one bad game (and the fact it was the first game in 3 years with no shot shows the first bad game in 3 years!) to discredit the achievements of Fergusonand the United team. Man for man city have the better players in nearly all positons - something you'd expect with their purchasing power. Yet, united have kept up all season and have often played the better football. City have done well and have been a joy to watch, yet tbhis has not come through the hard work and determination that United exhibit. Cith have been rife with ill discpiline and arrogance all season - they're just lucky they were able to afford enough of the worlds best plays to porvide cover when this occured.

    United do best from losing positions, and they will come back and hammer Swansea and Sunderland. The title is city's to lose. It will be a shame if they win becuase United have to chance quell 'nouveau' city.

    United did it with chelsea, they did it with arsenal. teams have come and tried to take the crown before, and people tried to write off Ferguson and united. but now look at the challengers and look at United? the challengers are out of the race - but United have been there every year since the Premier League began.

    City will win titles, and city will be near the top for years to come. but only a fool can write off United.

  • Comment number 66.

    56

    "they're a fake team"

    They were all to real for your lot last night mate. Just ask Ferdinand. He looked like a rabbit in the headlights last night. Scholes couldn't understand why his usual tactics of fouls and intimidation didn't work on Yaya and his vain protestations to Marriner fell on deaf ears. Marriner by the way had an exceotional game last night, with just a couple of minor errors.

    1. Kompany should not have been booked.

    2. Rooney's shirt-pulling just a few minutes later itself should have warranted a booking.

  • Comment number 67.

    Post 3. summed it up perfectly. That a team as dismal as Utd could still win the league, and, as Mancini rightly says, with their remaining fixtures they remain favourites, is a sad indictment of the premier league.

    Those looking to excuse the English contingent, sorry, you either have it or you don't, and the English players for Utd this season may have excelled in the darker aspects of the game, but otherwise.........

    However, to claim Barry is quality, after so many City fans this season have marked him down as a 'weak' link, on the strength of one performance is comical.

    More to the point do we care whoever wins the league? It'll either be a poor Utd (yet again) or the 200 million merchants.

    Excuse me while I don't get too excited.

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't normally have a dig at the contentious statements that Mr McNulty comes out with but the opening of this blog is really poor. 'The biggest game in 20 years of the Premier League'? What an utterly ridiculous statement to make. Can you please attempt to justify that or back up your claim?

    And 'It was the sound of Ferguson's worst nightmare moving closer to reality - United being denied a 20th title by the rivals he has kept down at heel for pretty much all of his 25 years-plus at Old Trafford.' How exactly has Ferguson 'kept' City down? They were rubbish by their own efforts and managed to get relegated to division 2 without United's help. You make it sounds as if Ferguson has been single-handedly fending off City for two decades. Their failure to challenge for honours before the multi-billions of the Middle East flew in was not down to Ferguson - or do you know something we don't about how he sabotaged City for all those years?

    I know the game was dull, I know you need to engage in hyperbole to try to whip up enthusiasm from fans of the country's other 90 league clubs who care very little about the Manchester duo, but please do try to keep your statements somewhere within the bounds of reality.

  • Comment number 69.

    I do wonder if Ferguson marched over to Mancini for something quite feisty but as soon as Mancini squared up to him, Ferguson backed down and looked timid. He went bright red (not with rage, but through fear and embarrassment) and stepped back a bit.

    It is like in school when that little kid is standing behind his tall mates saying to a guy on his own "Yeah i'm talking to you" but as soon as the little kids mates disappear and it's just the 2 of them, the little kid looks at the floor and is a blubbing wreck. Mancini slapped him down and mentally and physically intimidated Ferguson.

  • Comment number 70.

    What's all this nonsense about Utd not being in control of their own destiny? Oof course they are. A couple of 5 or 6 nil wins and Utd take it on goal difference!

  • Comment number 71.

    Think it's time for Fergie to step down

  • Comment number 72.

    Arsenal or Newcastle to win the league next season

  • Comment number 73.

    It is a sure sign of inexperience that the city fans are counting there chickens before they've hatched! Ture champions know its not over till its over and you'd be a foolish man to write off Ferguson and United at this stage. how foolish a man is after one bad game to discredit the achievements of Fergusonand the United team (and the fact it was the first game in 3 years with no shot shows the first bad game in 3 years!) . Man for man City have the better players in nearly all positons - something you'd expect with their purchasing power. Yet, united have kept up all season and have often played the better football. City have done well and have been a joy to watch, yet this has not come through the hard work and determination that United exhibit. City have been rife with ill discpiline and arrogance all season - they're just lucky they were able to afford enough of the worlds best plays to provide cover when this occured.

    United do best from losing positions, and they will come back and hammer Swansea and Sunderland. The title is city's to lose. It will be a shame if they win becuase United have to chance quell the 'nouveau' city.

    United did it with chelsea, they did it with arsenal. teams have come and tried to take the crown before, and people have tried to write off Ferguson and united before. but now look at the challengers and look at United? the challengers are out of the race - but United have been there every year since the Premier League began.

    City will win titles, and city will be near the top for years to come. but only a fool can write off United.

  • Comment number 74.

    A lot of nonsense, Phil. A poor game which City deserved to win but they were not that great themselves. Newcastle are more than capable of taking 2 points, if not 3, off City. Game still well and truly on.

  • Comment number 75.

    64.At 09:52 1st May 2012, fergie_time wrote:
    What are the odds on Mark Hughes coming & wrecking City's title hopes on final day of the season...payback for getting sacked...
    ___________________

    Judging on Sunday's abject performance, it's more likely to be a repeat of Chelsea v WIgan last game of the season.

  • Comment number 76.

    #62 makar - thread killer

    Don't kid yourself. There is around £20m or so difference between the spend on the accounts at the two clubs. £20m is £20m and maybe enough to account for City being top rather than United.

  • Comment number 77.

    how is this the biggest game in 20 years? It's the biggest game of this year. Has been completely blown out of proportion by the media.

    At the end of the day, a team of superstars in their prime has just about drawn level on points with a team of made up of young players and the oldest midfield in premier league history. Only really Rooney would get into the City team last night. Says it all.

    If Ferguson had the players Man City have, they would be leading the league by at least 20 points. People calling for him to go really need to get a grip. The man is a genius. I am sure he is plotting his next move. The guy is inspirational because he overcomes every obstacle.

    Saying all this, I think Mancini is a good manager, and deserves all the success he gets. Just think, even Roy Hodgson could win the league with City.

  • Comment number 78.

    And what's the big deal if City win it? Most people thought they would all season and that Utd have been poor. Like Chelsea before them, it was inevitable that City would buy the title. The FFP rules will soon be here and we'll see how things go then.

  • Comment number 79.

    To go out with such a defensive attitude was perhaps unwise. Arsenal showed only a few weeks back how easy City are to break down when you play attacking football against them. Ferguson obviously lacked the belief that United could match that so chose the anti-football route which has worked so well for him in the past. Unfortunately, as we all know, money can buy titles.

  • Comment number 80.

    Utd's tactics were spot on at the beginning. Close down the midfield quickly and rapidly, get the ball out wide and hit them on the break. The early pressure game worked well and utd were dominant in the first 15 minutes. If you watch the opening, their were plenty of mistakes and rushed passes that Utd forced out of their opposition. Then, the decision to have Giggs and Scholes in the middle backfired as their age was exploited and the quick pressing game undermined. Suddenly City had much more time and freedom and grew into the game. After that there was only going to be one winner.

    Terrible tactics by ferguson, especially after the teams came out in the 2nd half. Cannot for the life of me understand why the player of the season Valencia wasn't playing. They played too deep, trying to contain City in their own half, but that ultimately isolated Rooney up front. Jones was like a bull in a china shop, marauded forward but terrible final ball. Smelling was too inexperienced for a game like this. And someone please tell me why Utd didn't go 4-4-2 with Wellbeck and Valencia on for Giggs and Park after the first half?!?!

    Ps, I don't support Utd, I'm just astonished at the conservative and naiive tactics of the greatest manager of the EPL era

  • Comment number 81.

    66

    I'm not denying they played us off the field. Simply put Man Utd didn't deserve to win. Even without Vidic and Fletcher- I'm not convinced Utd would have done any better.

    No United team for the last 15 years or so has ever been filled with superstars. We've had many great players, but it isnt the same as City who have a superstar in EVERY position and another on the bench to back them up.

    United deserved to lose yesterday, and we threw away a massive game against Everton. And yet it means nothing to me. If we won this time- cue another spending spree and City win next season. You can't compete with that sort of financial power.

    The result is that City have a team of players who don't care about the club. They are all there for money and euro football- they do not feel pride wearing the City shirt, they won't care about the history of the club or its fans.
    Man Utd are not a perfect club- I can understand why Fergie is loathed by some, an Rooney and Ashley Young can be as despicable as any player in the league with some of their antics.

    Simply put, the Club of Manchester City doesn't exist anymore- its been replaced by a team of strangers- and there is little trace of the club that used to be there a few years ago.

  • Comment number 82.

    I see Liam managed to bask in reflected glory. That's probably what the shades were for. If you want a semi-story to go with this blog, why not ask him how many games he's been to before this season. Looks like City have attracted the trappings of success without the trophies. At the moment.

  • Comment number 83.

    Yup, a rubbish performance from United that got us what we deserved. The Newcastle game will be a title decider now, if City win it they're champions. I can easily see them putting 6 or 7 past QPR, to seal their relegation as well. QPR might be fighting for their lives but they just aren't good enough to get a result at Etihad. Newcastle on the other hand have a good chance of causing an upset, if you can even call it that, depending on which Newcastle turns up. I can't see us dropping points in our last two games.

    A real shame how we've thrown it away but only have ourselves to blame.

  • Comment number 84.

    78

    "The FFP rules will soon be here and we'll see how things go then."

    Is that what you're relying on?

    Surely it would be better for Unitehd to try and find a way of combatting Manchester rather than waiting for the rules to change in their favour.

  • Comment number 85.

    Utd should've had a penalty in the first half for handball. Robbed again, Mancini doing his best at influencing the referees again!

  • Comment number 86.

    Still can't see what Nasri is doing in that team.

    Thought City played well in particular last twenty minutes or so where they seemed to move up a gear instead of backing off, that's the mentality of a team who is confident and mentally strong.

    Can't understand why Nani started on right for United, reflects maybe arrogance in Fergie thinking he would get away with changing things around. He might be able to against lesser premiership teams but not City.

  • Comment number 87.

    I said to my non-Utd mates at the beginning of the season that I didn't think we would challenge for anything this year. I'm sad that I've not been proved wrong. The only positive I can take from this season is that the newer and younger lads in the team will realise that they have to put a full shift in before they can even think they are entitled to the rewards that Utd have achieved over the years. The ease with which other teams seemed to have knocked goals in at fortress Old Trafford this season has been worrying.

    Credit to City - they have capitalised on all the talents within their squad despite some troublesome individuals and Mancini has probably got the better of Ferguson in the mind-games stakes.

    However, (he says clutching at straws), the lady with the large girth hasn't warbled yet and there's still two games left!

  • Comment number 88.

    80.At 10:00 1st May 2012, All_Rhodes_Lead_To_Wembley wrote:
    Utd's tactics were spot on at the beginning. Close down the midfield quickly and rapidly, get the ball out wide and hit them on the break.
    ____________________

    Utd's tactics were awful, and completely wrong. Hence having 0 shots on target. I whinced when I saw the team lineup.

    It was billed as a big game, but it was a lame duck.

  • Comment number 89.

    I think this will be Baconface's last season.

    He worked miracles last year with a declining squad - this time the big cracks started to appear when United were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages.

    I'll be glad to see the back of him and is insidious influence over the administration of the FA and PL.

  • Comment number 90.

    The fear factor from Man U, team selection and tactics poor.United did not play to their strenghts.
    Skirmish on the touchline between Alex and Robert topic was it Bordex or Chiantti.
    Hopefully no spilling of nectar in the boardroom.

  • Comment number 91.

    "Mancini doing his best at influencing the referees again!"

    Lol.

  • Comment number 92.

    #84 derwaldmann - 22-01-2011

    Indeed. #78 Wordsofwisdom seems to quite want things to go back the way they were when Man U could outspend everyone, so that they could 'buy' success.

    (And that is to ignore the many problems with the proposed FFP rules.)

  • Comment number 93.

    City played the better football. Utd started quite well, but Rooney's not right for a 4231 formation and the midfield doesn't have the quality it did when Van Nistelrooy was in that role. I was expecting Fergie to go 442 at half time bringing on Young and Valencia for Nani and Park. I was surprised citeh went so defensive in the 2nd half with subs etc. Fergie should've pounced and I don't know why he didn't. Gutted.

  • Comment number 94.

    Phil McNulty wrote:

    "victory in the biggest game in 20 years of the Premier League"

    =============================

    ...really? What about all those final day title deciders? Surely they are bigger than a fairly dull derby that ended 1-0 to the home side and hasn't (yet) clinched the title.

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

    Phil McNulty then went on to write:

    "As if this was not chastening enough, Ferguson was slapped down by Mancini in the middle of an unedifying confrontation late on"

    ==============================

    'slapped down'? I must have missed that. I thought Mancini produced a rather childish gesture with his hand. Hardly a slapping down.

    It is true that United offered very little, and were easily seen off by City's defence. I wouldn't say Toure and Barry dominated in midfield - United had their fair share of possession - but Kompany was indeed outstanding and United were indeed disappointing.

    The rest of your article is sensationalism, though. Perhaps relishing in United's defeat a little too much.

  • Comment number 95.

    81.At 10:01 1st May 2012, A wrote:
    66

    I'm not denying they played us off the field. Simply put Man Utd didn't deserve to win. Even without Vidic and Fletcher- I'm not convinced Utd would have done any better.
    __________________

    Well we hammered them in the first game of the season playing exciting and adventurous football in the process. How many of that team were missing?
    Wellbeck, Young, Cleverley, Anderson, Vidic. Granted some due to injuries, but leaving your highest assist maker on the bench (valencia) was always going to give you problems.

    What we can take away is that city can beat utd's b team.

  • Comment number 96.

    Once I saw Park and sadly, Giggsy too in the line up, I didn't hold out great hope in us getting even a point. Park's game is about stamina, energy and fitness but has barely played this season. Giggs, these days, is just too wasteful and tactically undisciplined to play in a wide position or two-man central midfield. Probably the worse player to have in front of Evra, in terms of helping out Evra (who has hardly been at his vintage best in the last two seasons). Present-day Giggs requires the freedom of the pitch, yet we are hardly in a position to offer him that sort of freedom. Baffling sometimes to see how long it takes for Fergie to take him off in some games this season and sometimes not even taking him off at all, such as the Wigan game, when his performance is clearly not good.

  • Comment number 97.

    Thoroughly deserved victory for City I have to say. Fergie got his tactics wrong and City took advantage, bar the first 15 minutes of the match.

    A lot of people on here slagging the United players off. Why? They were hamstrung by the manager. Defensively you have to say that United were pretty good. The back 4 all played well and I thought Carrick had another good game. But none of the forward thinking players had good games. Rooney was isolated, which again isnt his fault.

    Fergie got it wrong this time.

  • Comment number 98.

    Nervous in defence, unimaginative in midfield, toothless upfront. On the plus side, United did enjoy a nice break in Wales just before the game. Teamsheet and tactics aside, United were always destined to lose last night. For years - no decades - City's season has always been defined by how well they do in the head-to-heads against United. Win one, or both, and it's been a great year for the fans. This year, they could win the title as well. They deserve to because they're far and away the best side. But as a red from Machester, I can't help taking solace from the fact that whenever City get a sniff of real success they always shoot themselves in the foot. So it would be just like them to celebrate today and drop points at Newcastle. If they do, and United end up winning the title, what does that say about the standard of football in the premiership today?

  • Comment number 99.

    89.At 10:04 1st May 2012, dogeared wrote:
    I think this will be Baconface's last season.

    He worked miracles last year with a declining squad - this time the big cracks started to appear when United were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages.
    ___________________

    I agree. Get Mourinho in to weave his magic.

  • Comment number 100.

    " Noisy neighbours tear down the walls "

    wonderful, the Blog takes on a Pink Floyd theme.

    The " trial " is far from over though.

 

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