This was a rather apologetic performance from Manchester United and we got what we deserved from Eastlands. A championship team would have swashbuckled their way into East Manchester, rather than building ramparts around the goalmouth. Despite a bright start and a bright finish for United, City bossed large periods of this match and were worthy victors. They are in the driving seat now.
The result at Old Trafford earlier in the season was obviously playing on Ferguson’s mind when he selected the team for this match. Despite the fact we have beaten City at both Eastlands and Wembley this season, that 6-1 bayoneting from October is all anyone remembers.
• Man City blog: Ferguson parks the bus
Park Ji-Sung is a great man but he hasn’t had much football recently and he looked off the pace in this match. His selection also sent out the message that we were set up to play defensively and happy with the draw. Our caution has cost us and one wonders if fortune may have favoured us had we been braver.
Last year’s Champions’ League final followed a similar script. Not because City are as good as Barcelona, they are not, but because we began full of intent before sitting back and asking our opponents to come forward and attack us. It is pathetically easy to criticise after the event, but I feel the game would have gone our way if we had started with the team that finished the match.
Full credit must go to our contingent of away fans who played their part in a terrific atmosphere. It was also pleasing that, in a season that has featured so much controversy with Liverpool, this derby could pass without any ugly incidents. It was indeed a credit to the city of Manchester.
And this week, the Berties will be cock of the walk about town. A friend of mine who married a City fan has not spoken to her husband all week. Personally, my only regret is being so nice to City fans over the years. We will be made to suffer over the next few days, make no mistake.
Nonetheless, whilst this is very much a case of the battle being lost, the war continues to rage. Manchester City have the momentum now, there can be no denying it, and if they win the last two games of their season they will become worthy champions of this division. The thing is, they might not.
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