The much anticipated Manchester derby has come and gone and whatever the case is, a winner had emerged. Both teams fell short of expectations and even at that, the Citizens still churned out a better performance than their red-shirted city rivals. In the end it was Manuel Pellegrini’s side that ran off with a 1-0 win in what many pundits have labelled a terrifying match. Manchester United were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Chris Smalling’s misdemeanour earned him 2-yellow cards and subsequently a red. However, there are still a couple of things for Manchester United can learn from that crunchy encounter.
Chris Smalling; A let down: Ever since his arrival at the club, he had been mediocre to say the least, but then nobody was hacking down his neck because he was obviously playing to the best of his ‘ability’. But when he deliberately decided to hand their opponents a win last weekend, then that is just over the hedge. He knew that even when they were level in terms of personnel with the Champions, they were gradually getting overwhelmed not to talk of when one player chose to put up a character that should only be seen in a Grammar school league. If a good deal comes in by January, the former Fulham man should in my opinion be sold.
De Gea is the Man: Take him off your team list and watch your team go down in a serious goal thriller. I have been noticing his seriousness since the game against Everton and if you count the number of saves he’s had this season, you’d be counting more than 20. In the derby, the awesome Spaniard calmly handled the terrific efforts from Yaya Toure and a couple of other attempts to further prove his already proven importance to the current Manchester United team.
Adnan Januzaj still needs to learn: The young Belgian had a miserly outing and was outmuscled all of the times he was on the ball. In fact, I doubt if he made any dribbles or any runs. He partnered badly with Antonio Valencia down the flanks and as such, quelled all of the attacks that could have been initiated from his wing. Since he wasn’t much of a threat, more workload fell on the make-shift full-back, Antonio Valencia with the Ecuadorian fumbling a couple of times. Of course he is only 19 and still has quite a number of years ahead of him. His performance against Chelsea shows that he’s still got stuffs. The manager should consider using him in some less demanding matches for some time to avoid ruining his confidence and career in general.
Resolute Red Devils: Even with lesser personnel, the Red Devils handled their business well and in fact if you aren’t a keen observer, you’d never know that they had a man missing. While it is true that the resolve was ill-fated since they couldn’t secure any points, it still goes a long way to show that the team is evolving and if they keep up with these performances against lesser teams, good results should abound.
James Wilson, The future: The teenager got few minutes to play after the manager decided that Robin van Persie’s pace was inadequate and Wilson actually showed hunger. He couldn’t possibly compete in strength with the rock-solid Vincent Kompany but his poise indicated that if he had half a chance, he’d blaze home.