5 parts to dissect from Wembley’s derby day disaster
By Matt Dodd.
1) Oh Dimitar
It was genuinely one of those ‘harder to miss than score’ chances. Berbatov had already missed a guilt-edged chance just 15 seconds before the horror miss. Carrick, Scholes and Park combined in a classy, one-touch, Barca-esque exchange, but the Bulgarian could do no more than hit it more-or-less straight at Joe Hart. I need not go into detail about what happened moments later, but as soon as the Premier League leading goal scorer, (yes, leading goal scorer) skied that chance from two yards, I knew it was going to be ‘one of those days’. Had Berbatov scored, it could have been a totally different story.
2) Rooney was missed more than Tevez after all
The big pre-match discussion was whether Rooney would be missed more than that foolish Argentinean for their respective clubs. The main consensus seemed to be that Rooney would be less of a loss, because of Manchester United’s versatility in formation and the goal-scoring capability that Berbatov, Hernandez and Nani have shown this season. The fact that Tevez has scored 38% of City’s league goals this season, Dzeko has scored 0%, and given Balotelli’s childish, pathetic individuality, you did wonder exactly how City would find a way past Rio and Vidic. But alas, City admittedly showed more attacking potency in the second-half – Yaya Toure and David Silva were particularly impressive and United has no response.
3) Scholes’ one weakness cost us
One reason we had no response to Toure’s goal was the absence of Paul Scholes with 20 minutes to play. Arguably our best player until the challenge on Pablo Zabaleta, only the most optimistic Man United fan would have envisaged that we could stage a stunning comeback with ten men. Tackling has been Scholes’ only fault over the years of his glittering career, and it is with sorrow that being sent off could be his final ever act in a Manchester Derby. As for the tackle itself, there are no excuses, apart from maybe the fact that it was his first bad challenge of the game – and City were by far the dirtier team.
4) What an absolute winker
I don’t think it surprised anyone. Since he signed for Man City, Mario Balotelli has developed a reputation which can be summed up in one world, ‘childish’. I didn’t wait around to watch City celebrate, so I didn’t see the incident, but from what I have heard it sounds like something more suited to a school playground rather than Wembley Stadium. When Gary Neville celebrated (ironically) Rio Ferdinand’s goal against Liverpool years ago, but Neville went crazy because of his love for United. Can you say the same thing about Balotelli and City? No. Interestingly, Neville said this in 2006 after the incident: “I would have been apologetic if I had run up to one of their players and tried to belittle them but this was a celebration. You are caught up in the moment and for a few seconds you can go bananas.”
5) Another vintage year is still on
City won’t shut up about this for a while, but Fergie’s men need to simply forget about the FA Cup and focus on finishing the season on a high. Our other main rivals from the North West did us a huge favour by drawing with Arsenal, and the title is within touching distance. The Champions League is obviously still on, and just two teams stand in our way. It won’t be easy for any United fan going back into work or school tomorrow, but the memory of Saturday must be forgotten and the focus must now turn to Tuesday night’s clash with Newcastle United.
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