One of the most attritional Manchester derbies in recent times ended in stalemate at Eastlands, with both sides deploying five across midfield and a cautious approach for much of the game. This, in truth, was nothing like the drama the two clubs served up in four astonishing meetings last season as the 157th Manchester derby ended scoreless.
Given Manchester United’s recent trouble with injuries and illness, Sir Alex Ferguson would probably have taken a point from the short trip across town. In the end though, United failed to translate dominance of possession in midfield into clear chances or goals as the game petered out into congested trench warfare.
United though will end the match the more frustrated of the two sides, with the game there to be won but for City’s willingness to defend in numbers in front of its own supporters.
“City are very difficult to beat on their own ground and that’s obvious with the way they set their stall out in the second half,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“I was pleased with the control we had, we were very confident and had good possession of the ball but we needed to create chances. I think we had two, in that sense we didn’t do enough.
“I think there was too much tension for it to be kind of match people thought it would be. It’s a decent result but we don’t count draws away from home as the target before the game. Our target is to win the game and I think we had enough possession to do that.”
Ryan Giggs missed his first Derby in nearly 20 years, sidelined with a hamstring injury and the ‘flu in recent weeks. In his stead Ferguson opted for Nani and weekend goalscorer Park Ji-Sung in support of Dimitar Berbatov, with Javier Hernández perhaps unlucky to miss out given the Mexican’s recent good form.
If United’s line-up looked cautious then Ferguson opted to match City’s five in midfield, with Park also looking to tuck inside. City, meanwhile, offered up a powerful if defensive-minded trio of Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure.
With the younger Toure brother and Darren Fletcher often the closest of the midfield sextet to their respective strikers, the match was always likely to be characterised by more attrition than flair. Indeed, the cagey opening period lasted most of the tie.
Yet the the hosts almost created the first chance of the night, with Carlos Tevez evading Rio Ferdinand and failing to shoot when the opportunity presented itself. Long range efforts from Michael Carrick and Nani in the opening quarter barely tested Joe Hart in the City net.
No surprise then that it was more than 35 minutes into the match before either ‘keeper was forced into a save at full stretch, with Edwin van der Sar palming away Tevez’ free-kick. In truth either ‘keeper could have been forgiven for taking the night off on this evidence.
The second period began much as the first finished. United pushed the frankly abysmal Park into an even more central role in an increasingly congested midfield as the two side’s largely cancelled each other out. The South Korean, who scored twice against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, lost possession 12 times in an often careless display.
Yet the visitors almost drew first blood, with substitute Wes Brown and Carrick working an opportunity for Berbatov to fire straight at Hart from eight yards. It was almost as good as it got at Eastlands.
United, hampered by injuries to both fullbacks during the match, resisted the temptation to use Hernández until 13 minutes from time as both sides sought safety in numbers. Indeed, the Mexican’s introduction was at the expense of Berbatov, who played well, but often far too deep to inflict real damage on the hosts.
United, though, continued to dictate the pace of the game and edge possession as Ferguson’s side had throughout. Carrick and Fletcher, aided by Scholes, out thought and often fought their counterparts in the City engine room. On this evidence, Geordie Carrick may well be finding his best form once again.
It wasn’t enough though, with United unable to find the opportunity in the closing minutes that characterised last season’s dramatic wins over the Blues.
“I think today we saw two teams that defended as units and a draw was the right result,” said United captain Vidic.
“It’s a hard place for us to come, we came here to win the game but City was a strong team today. We played some good football but we didn’t create too many chances.”
Man-of-the-match Vidic neatly summarised the match, which will be forgotten quickly. However, the draw extends to 25 United’s lossless steak spread across two campaigns.
The Reds will have to find a greater cutting edge to win the Premier League title, especially away from home, but there were at least more positives than often has been the case on the road this season.
City – 451 – Hart; Boateng (Kolarov 80), Kolo Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta; Milner (A Johnson 73), Barry, De Jong, Yaya Toure, Silva; Tevez (Adebayor 90+4).
United – 451 – Van der Sar; Rafael (Brown 49), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (O’Shea 68); Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Carrick, Park; Berbatov (Hernandez 77).
Attendance – 47,679
Man of the Match – Vidic
Possession: City 48% – 52% United
Attempts: 6 – 7
On target: 4 – 4
Corners: 8 – 5
Fouls: 10 – 12
33 thoughts on “Derby serves up bore draw at Eastlands”
City spend £100s of millions and then play defensive at home. A very sad state of affairs. Give me Harry and Tottenham any day of the week.
Also any comments on this welcome:
Mancini could not afford to lose this one, his job is on the line.
Mancini has no future playing cowardly Italian defensive shite like
Second half they let us have the centre circle like they did at the Council House in the League Cup last season
Their attempts to hit us on the break were feeble and just downright fucking lame
Tevez back to his runaboutalot best, Toure running down blind alleys
City fans, and the Sheikh cunt, will want more action for their money. You aren’t gonna fill the Council House every week playing like that. Chelsea got 24,000 against Rosenborg and it was the end of Mourinho
Mancini made up his mind early to use these tactics and playing at home, he must be a very desperate man to keep his job. I can see why the City ground is never full when City play at home. I can’t blame the fans who just stay away. Surprised they are in the top 4! Man United will get stronger and their play will start to improve as we get into December. Players that were lacking are starting to pick up their game, but it will be a tricky game at Aston Villa.
For once we agree sir :o) I thought Carrick especially looked a lot sharper – I noticed an improvement in the Wolves game.
Rafael is really starting to look the business too. He put the troglodyte in his place!
Not pretty, but a good result.
I’ll take a point across town, given the squad and indifferent form as of late. And hey, we’re still undefeated. Not dropping all three points will come due later in the season, as we should only get better as things go along (if the past is any indicator).
Berbatov should be stuck up front and not go back into the midfield.
Berby was kind of forced to drop deep cozz of Cities numbers at the back, and the poor service did’nt help, Carrick again puts another “tick over” shift and never really got involved. Never have i seen any home team in a derby be so shit scared to come out and have a go, they offered absolutely nothing in terms of attacking threat. It was clear 15 minutes into the 2nd half it would have to be a catastrophic mistake by United to concede to them. Taking Berby off and leaving Jimmy Spark or Carrick on was a major bollock dropped by Fergie, there was no threat from siddy what so ever and the game was crying out for another striker. Carrick should be arrested for obtaining money through false pretences, just don’t and never have rated him. Fuckin easy street merchant.
That was Carrick’s best game this season and grounds for some optimism… I thought!
£200k a week YY Toure!! He looked 2 stone overweight and a donkey! Another low point for football. After the Rooney affair I really starting to lose interest.
Not to mention City’s tactics, sport should be entertainment not an anorak fest. May the best footballing side win, not those who do the best not to lose.
This may sound silly but points wise you are better off over two games winning one game and losing one as opposed to drawing twice. Just ask Rafa – it cost them the title two years back!
Good performances by all – except Park.
I agree that City were there for the taking and if we’d switched to 442 we may well have nicked one. But this would have given Silva more room and A. Johnson was introduced too – it would have been dangerous.
Given the injuries and illnesses, I would have taken a draw before the game. Hope the Sheikh was watching and can see what great football his £400M has got him.
united lack flair, especially when nani is having one of his ‘fall over a lot’ days. feel sorry for berba, a lot of his good work is lost on our forward players (fletcher, park, nani, etc)
think it was a good result tho seeing as we were missing giggs, valencia and rooney – the sooner the latter is back fit (providing he can stop smashing whores and counting his money long enough) we will push chelsea all the way
was a crap performance, most faffing game I’ve ever seen, fergies a disgrace
if you mean what you have just said, which i have a feeling you dont, you really dont know a lot about football do you?
I can’t be alone in being quite pleased, surely?
Yeah, some of our lot were off the pace and didn’t do as well as we’d like. But many coming back from injuries and half the squad recovering from a virus. If it’s the same one I had (still getting over) then fair play to them ‘cos it was vile.
A point at Eastlands is always satisfactory, if not ideal.
it wasn’t a good performance, city played for 0-0 and got it with comfort, why did we just accept our fate
What bit about half the squad either returning from injury and/or recovering from a really filthy virus do you not get?
It was clear to see that a lot of our lads were a touch off the pace.
Shit game, acceptable point.
We had no idea Citeh would be so shit beforehand, did we? On paper they were a lot fresher and had more to pick from.
Unless you think managers should be clairvoyant?
I’m clearly right
if wed wanted to win wed have gone 442 and thrown the strikers on like we do in europe, it was like the minute we realised city had no interest in winning we said fair enough we’ll leave it at that and faffing ensued
I think Fergie might have gambled on the win but then Rafael and Evra had to come off through injury.I would have taken a draw beforehand.
fair enough but to say fergie is a disgrace is nonsense. good point imo
Villa will be tough, need 3 points there. oshite and brown will come into the team if evra and rafael are injured although evra always seems to make a miraculous recovery. maybe start with hernandez for scholes and push extra man forward.
If Evra and Rafael werent subbed off with injuries, I suspect Fergie would have gone for the win with a 4-4-2 , berb and chicho up top. But oshea and brown are more of a liability against the class and speed of Johnson and Silva. I think he did the right thing in securing a draw and allowing a bit of hope for a late winner with chicho.
Don’t mess with the knobhead, he’ll faff you to kingdomcome and back
does being off the pace mean not being able to attack
you dont need to be clairvoyant to see after an hour that city arent interested in winning, and then try to win it yourself
// does being off the pace mean not being able to attack //
Evidently it does.
Good point. What Sir Alex needs to do, though, is to quit blowing smoke with his, “we were trying to win” crap, and stick to needling City and Mancini for parking the bus, etc. That way, when Mancini’s successor brings City to Old Trafford later in the season, he will remember one of the reasons his predecessor lost the job and try to attack from the off; a, hopefully, full-strength United can then hit back on the counter.
RobDiablo speako senso!
Our situation wasn’t helped by injuries to our 2 attacking full backs. Not Fergie’s fault, that. I reckon he would have brought Hernandez on sooner alongside (and not as a replacement) for Berbatov.
Other than that, we didn’t have very many options.
surely taking off two attacking fullbacks for two defensive ones wouldve accentuated the need for another attacker on, its no excuse
I tell you what pissed me off. We looked more likely than City to score in the second half. We got in good areas in the pitch but the killer ball was consistently shite.
That pass by Wes Brown to a City player when a simple cross would surely have done the trick (there were United players in the box). What a cunt.
We desperately needed Valencia in that game.
What pissed me off was the number of times we burst out of our end, with a dangerous looking break… couple of quick passes, and we were in their end… decent ball to Park… and the whole move breaks down as the fucker turns and runs away from the rest of the attack.
and his falling over!