It is a Red day in Manchester as the league leader extended their three point lead to six points over today's conquered opponents in an enthralling game at the Etihad. It is a massive win for us as that opens a really nice gap over City, who will face a difficult trip north to Newcastle next Saturday, needing to win to keep the pressure up.
City dominated the first fifteen minutes, with the possession stats looking dire for United. But they rarely threatened David De Gea. Aguero almost snuck in but the pace of the pass let De Gea release United down the left. Clever play between Young and Robin Van Persie set the former free. Young drove forward and dound Rooney just inside the box. Three touches was all he need. The first was great, he shifted it right and then somehow worked it back into the left hand corner; Hart was literally rooted to his spot, completley wrong footed due to the unpredictable nature of the shot as the ball rolled slowly into the corner. For all of City's domination, it was us that had a vital lead.
Another blow for City soon followed. Their influentual captain Vincent Kompany came off injured, replaced by Kolo Toure.
And soon after we had doubled our money. Rafael thundered down the right as he does so very well. Rooney once again was in the box to get on the end of the low cross and slid it home. We were in dreamland. City were dangerous with their pace and fluidity, but the United defense stood firm. Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans colossus at the heart, and Patrice Evra looking 100 times the player of last year, continually blocking crosses down the left.
Some fantastic football almost set Young free. Brilliant linking up and the pass from Robin Van Persie was just slightly too on the
Anderson heavy side. It really was a wonderful run from Young. Came from deep and sprinted though, timing it perfectly. The half time whistle blew with no further goals coming.
Out City came and they were clearly putting in extra effort, trying to sneak a way back into the match. Not long after two subs were made. Chris Smalling came on for the brilliant Evans. Carlos Tevez on for the very poor Mario Balotelli.
And yet it was United who should have been home and dry. Van Persie picked it up on the left hand side of the penalty area. He cut back and curled it with his weaker foot. Luckily for Joe Hart, the post came to his rescue. As did the linesman who wrongly flagged Ashley Young offside when he stuck in the rebound. The right back Pablo Zabaletta was leaving him on by a clear yard.....
A minute later and CIty were right back into the game. Aguero was played through down the left. David De Gea done so well to save his low shot. He then somehow blocked the impressive David Silva's follow up. He could now however scramble Yaya Toure's effort away. From a legal goal and 0-3, it was a precarious and slender 1-2 scoreline.
David Silva should have squared it up. From a tight but score able angle he powered a shot goal wards after delaying his shot. David De Gea again done ever so well, standing tall when others would have went low. The ball hit his shoulder and flew over.
The goal came however around the 85 minute mark. A corner was half cleared at the front post. It fell to the semi circle at the edge of the box to Zabaletta who powered home. Phil Jones had come on minutes earlier for Antonio Valencia, who had been marking that area. The confusion left the CIty RB with all the time in the world to hit it.
It was all City. They poured forward and De Gea again had to show great hands to no spill solid shots. Danny Welbeck came on. And it was he who harassed Gael Clichy. He won the ball deep in their half. That led to Rafael being fouled. And that led to RVP to dispatch a free kick home, via an outstretched leg of Samir Nasri on the end of the wall. WIth two minutes left of injury time, that was the last meaningful kick of a wonderfully played game of football.
A shame that the CIty fans could not behave themselves as Rio Ferdinand was struck by an object as he celebrated our winner. Disgustung scenes. Luckily it seems he was only cut. But what will it take to stop this kind of thing? A player to lose an eye? The FA should really come down hard on this kind of shit.
There really could be 11 or 12 players up for MOTM today. Rooney was heroic. The whole of the defense stood firm (despite conceding two goals). Micheal Carrick was fantastic. Tom Cleverley was game against the giant that is Yaya. Tony V was always an outlet down the right. Young and his build up for the first was sublime. So hard working too. RVP...... The whole team was magnificent. Hopefully we can kick on and put in some decent displays and really pile the pressure on CIty to keep winning.