Tough luck for Manchester United when they faced their local rivals Manchester City. Although the hosts were already gaining grounds on their rivals, the match was still fairly even until Chris Smalling decided that it was time to play some silly pranks, you know those kind of behaviour that makes you question if a person had manners at all. It is forgivable if a player lacked poise and form or even if he was outclassed by a better striker. In fact, if he had lunged at an oncoming striker and in an attempt to halt a goal bound move, he gets sent off, believe me the fans might be quick to forgive. But when you decide to block a goal kick in front of the opponent’s goalkeeper, then if other players sustained their injury to their shoulders or knees, maybe you had yours to your brain.
To make matters worse, the former Fulham man, fully aware of the fact that his name was on the referee’s warning list plunged himself onto a Manchester City attacker in a manner that even the likes of Tom Thorpe and Paddy McNair would never do. With Manchester United down on personnel, the Citizens continued to come at them and were it not for the brilliance of David De Gea in between the sticks, perhaps it could have been a recap of the 6-1 humiliation that occurred few years back.
For a player of Chris Smalling’s stature, that misdemeanour alone is already suicidal. He has never been a favourite at the back and were it not for injuries on Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, there is no way that Louis van Gaal would have handed him a start in such a huge game. The manager could not hide his disgust in the defender’s actions while speaking to SkySports after the match ended.
The manager was quoted to have said: “As a player when you have a yellow you have to deal with that. You can’t do what he has done. That is not very smart.” And when your manager believes that you aren’t very smart, how much longer before he starts to welcome bids for you? Anyway, Arsene Wenger had been a long term admirer of the Englishman and has even had about 2 bids rejected for Smalling partly due to the Ferguson philosophy of not wanting to sell to his rivals but with Louis van Gaal, that philosophy doesn’t hold, at least with the way he handled the Danny Welbeck to Arsenal saga.
If the right offer comes in by January for Chris Smalling, the club should do business, this is not because of his stupidity at the derby but because, he isn’t really Manchester United quality. The Club should spend money and sign reliable defenders like Mats Hummels or Ron Vlaar not someone who instead of marking strikers, decides to disturb a goalkeeper.