United 4 – City 2. Derby day delight (finally!) for the red side of Manchester yesterday. Losing one derby to City at Old Trafford is never good, but two and then three on the trot is painful. Thankfully for them, four on the trot never arrived, although up until the point where Ashley Young equalised from the rebound of his first effort on 14 minutes, some United fans might have thought the pain would continue.
I was always confident United would score on the actual day due to City’s defensive record pretty much being non-existent this season. However, during those first 10 minutes or so which included Aguero giving them the lead, City started the brighter with United not looking confident and very nervous at the back. The Young goal settled them all down though, including the City players who’d started so quickly with their high tempo, but United then never looked back.
The score was 2-1 at half time, after Fellani nodded them in front with a back post header from Young’s right footed cross from the left on 27 minutes, after good work by Blind. United fans went down to the concourse happy and leading a home Manchester derby at half time for the first time in just over 4 years. The team talk for van Gaal must have been relatively easy, just keep at them and more rewards will come. They did, in the space of seven minutes mid-way through the 2nd half, Mata and then Smalling had made it 4-1. That was game over, the gap of 3 goals had United fans relatively relaxed knowing a first derby win for a while and bragging rights were going to be theirs.
Louis van Gaal admitted after the game that it was his mistake that allowed United to finish the game with only 10 men after Carrick hobbled off with a knock on 88 minutes. He’d used all three of his subs just to give Di Maria, Rojo and Falcao game time. That meant no one was covering for Carrick, which allowed Aguero so much time and space to grab his and City’s second goal, albeit no more than a consolation.
City fans may say, “it’s about time they beat us at home” and admit they’re playing their worst football for a long time, but some Blues still believed they could win there again. United fans may say, “it was never in doubt” and the form book would back them up. Many would also believe they should always be beating their rivals at home, but deep down they’ll be relieved.
Champions League qualification for both? No guarantees but they should both do it now. City have enough home games against teams that they’ve brushed aside over the last few years. United’s away fixtures are quite tricky but with a four point gap to City and eight to Liverpool they should get over the line with just six games left to play.