By Imran Kardar
What an absolutely appalling derby! The match was incredibly boring to its core and I’m sure that millions of fans watching around would have been struggling to keep themselves awake to watch this one! I feel worse for the fans at Old Trafford who must have paid anything between £40-60 to watch the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them queued at the gates for a refund.
The game ended in a 0-0 draw and it never really took off. Both the managers looked scared to lose this one and were happy with the draw. United were awful. They didn’t even a register an attempt on goal in the entire first half! Yes, NO SHOTS ON GOAL for 45 minutes. Both the defenses were on top giving the attackers no room or time on the ball. LVG made just one change to the team from the previous game with Mata coming back in for Lingard. Valencia did a great job on Sterling and I was impressed with Rojo who did an even better job on De Bruyne. The middle of the park was where the battle lied and the United midfielders and the City midfielders basically canceled each other out. United had zero ounce of creativity upfront. Mata could not influence the game in any way and was the first to be substituted for Lingard. Jesse Lingard looked lively and the best chance of the game probably fell to him but his flick hit the post. That was the only 2 minutes of exciting play in the whole game. There were a couple of shouts for a penalty but the ref wasn’t giving in, they weren’t convincing anyways.
Rooney was a lonely figure the whole game; he couldn’t even manage a touch in the City box for the entire first half. That the kind of stat you want of you striker. This goes to show that he needs to be played in behind a main striker and due to his current form he isn’t able to lead the line. He has always done well off a main striker in a second striker role, baring maybe a couple of seasons where he was the main man up top and scored many goals. LVG will need to find a solution to the problem soon if United are to return to scoring goals.
Anthony Martial looked threatening the whole game on the left wing but that is where he stayed all game. He is too good to be wasted there but since Depay hasn’t performed well and Young is out injured he has had to fill in at left wing. What concerns me is LVG’s stubbornness to stick to the formation and not change it around a bit. Lingard could have been put on the left and Rooney at No.10 allowing Martial to play up front. His pace would have caused a lot of problems to the City defense and who knows he might have knicked a goal. LVG isn’t ready to take such risk and it becomes very frustrating for the fans who are watching the game. This was Old Trafford, The Theatre of Dreams! You don’t come out to be defensive and cautious! You go out to attack and win matches! None of that desire was on show.
The draw takes United down to 4th place, 2 points off the top. You can maybe argue that we haven’t fallen far behind but come end of the season if you lose out on the title by a couple of points then you will look back at games like this and feel that with a bit more effort and desire you could have won. I just hope it doesn’t go down like that. Till next game, GGMU!