Jason Puncheon! A left-footed free-kick swirled into the net, an enthusiastic Alan Pardew punched the air like Mike Tyson, it was as if the punch itself hit Pellegrini as his face grew with rage. Selhurst Park went mad, as did Manchester United fans as Palace managed to overcome the ever-pressing Manchester city to secure another win in their fantastic run of unbeaten games.
The win, meant City stay put in a measly 4th position, meaning that United fir the first time in 16 months were above City with the same games played.
On Sunday, the Manchester derby takes place at the Theatre of Dreams, although throughout history the game hasn’t been a top 4 clash, ever since Manchester City came and brought their way to their first two Premier League titles.
Unlike Manchester City, Manchester United have genuine success, all sprouting from the Munich air disaster, which sadly shocked football as a whole, although since then, the courage and determination from the Busby Babes has all contributed in the success of a truly legendary football team.
Manchester United go in to the derby in fantastic form, Spurs and Liverpool proved to be an elegant display, the passion which was missed under the unfortunate reign of David Moyes has been recovered and United saw off big rivals in eye-popping displays. In these games United have seen the best of players such as Fellaini and Young, two players which last season were known as ‘flops’, they are now cementing a name on the first team sheet and into the long-term plans of Louis Van Gaal’s philosophy.
Manchester City on the over hand, go into the derby in poor, inconsistent away form, they have not won away from the Etihad since February 11th a 1-4 win against a usually defensive Stoke side. Aguero in particular has not scored in 5 games! Whether that will just motivate him more is yet to be told.
United know what they need to do, we as United fans know what we need to do, score first, every time we play City and they score first, they go-on to win the game and it is frustrating, we need to get off the mark and do what we did at Anfield, slowly but surely break down the defence.
If we play the same team in the 4-3-3 formation the tactics will be the same as Liverpool, but there are different players who play differently, although Man City are in poor form, let us not forget after all they are actually English champions.
The key to winning this game is Fellaini, he is a huge presence in the midfield, compared to smaller players he can destroy them, Fellaini will drive into City, winning high crosses and passes, and the only player who can match the physicality of Fellaini is Yaya Toure, this will mean Toure has to spend his game sticking to Fellaini like a rock, this means that Toure cannot express his natural game plan of scoring goals, if Fellaini stays high up the pitch Toure has to stay deep, this will remove any hope of City having Toure on show in attack.
Another are United can smash City is Martin Demichelis, he is a woeful centre-back, Rooney will destroy him! Stay away from Kompany and we’ll be fine. Rooney has the ability to drive and defenders because he is undoubtably the most powerful striker in the league.
Where we lie in weaknesses is a major threat for the outcome of the match, firstly Gael Clichy, he is an attacking left-back with pace, Mata on the other hand, has a reluctancy to get back and defend, down the left Clichy will be getting forward loads and Mata needs to stick to the Frenchman like glue, Clichy is also not like Alberto Moreno, he will not let Mata run rings around him, because he has more experience to do so. This will prove a big test for Mata, he will need to be practising his track-backs all day in training.
The biggest weakness United posses is Valencia, he is not a natural fullback, he will probably need to come up against one of the best players in the Premier League, David Silva, he will not try and beat Valencia with pace or physicality, he will cut in and try and pick the pockets of Jones,Smalling or Rojo, playing through Aguero who is always a threat when we play City. Silva cutting in will mean more space for Clichy who will exploit the wings with pace, Silva’s movement will mean Valencia is dragged with him and therefore Mata needs to get back.
The biggest doubt is the centre-half partnership and the question over Di Maria or Young, who both have the same qualities although with Di Maria we will have two predominantly left-foot’s on both wings, but, a footballer of Di Maria’s calibre should be comfortable with a left foot.
United meet City in a sweet time, coming of the back of a victory over the Scousers, the result is hanging in the air, lets grab it and finally silence those noisy neighbours!