FIVE things we learnt from the Manchester derby

Manchester derby: Carlos Tevez and FabioOh dear, that wasn’t supposed to happen was it? It was meant to be the game of the season so far. It had all the makings to be a classic, but sadly it wasn’t. The two managers were too conservative for the game ever to open up – and a point was a decent result for both sides. The game itself lacked imagination and a sparkle that these two so often produce against each other. Was Roberto Mancini too concerned about loosing and was Ferguson brave enough in the second half. Manchester didn’t provide the fireworks, maybe they are being saved for Saturday. In the regional battle, London was the clear winner last night with Arsenal and Chelsea winning.

Below are five things that we can take away from the Manchester derby.

Manchester United need Wayne Rooney

His 34 goals last season seem a distant memory after his slump in form dating back to his injury against Bayern Munich in March. However, Manchester United need to see a fit and healthy Wayne Rooney return to Old Trafford as soon as possible. The early season form of Dimitar Berbatov sidelined the Rooney issue, but the Bulgarian hasn’t scored since his hat trick against Liverpool. Berbatov’s recent slump must be a worry for United fans as Javier Hernandez is not ready to lead the line for United. A fully fit Rooney is one of the top strikers in the world and United need him back as soon as possible.

Carlos Tevez needs support

The little Argentinian looked lost last night. To be fair, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic marshalled him well and didn’t give him a kick for the most part. If Mario Balotelli wasn’t Mario Balotelli, Tevez may have had this support at some stage last night. Manchester City have to address the problem of goals in their team. Last night, it was as if his team mates were waiting for him to conjure up a piece of magic. The wide men needed to be more creative for Tevez to come alive. The next two games could be interesting if Tevez can’t shake off his thigh injury. His goalscoring record is phenomenal but a more expressive City might ease the burden on the striker.

Big games sometimes flatter to deceive

Big match hype. Sky bring out the big guns. Sharp dressing Ruud Gullit and blind dresser Graeme Souness. Seriously, who can’t match a suit jacket to a pair of trousers? Unbelievable. There was the usual inflammatory langauge before the game and a typically hostile Manchester City crowd under the lights. It should have been a classic, but it was dire. Big games sometimes go like that, but after the games the two Manchester clubs produced last season, can we really complain that one didn’t live up to the billing. Its easy to say that as the home team Manchester City should have attacked United more and bossed the game. However, Roberto Mancini is answerable to his bosses and fans, not Richard Keys. Were City defensive or were they stifled by a very experienced United side. Either way when two top teams play the same formation, games tend to turn into chess battles, waiting to see who blinks first. To credit both sides, neither did. If Tevez had elected to shoot in the first five minutes, it may have been a different game.

Sir Alex still has a trick or two up his sleeve

Virus? What virus. We were all led to believe that Manchester United were going to be depleted to the extreme by Sir Alex Ferguson. United had their strongest eleven available on the pitch with decent cover on the bench. Bringing on Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Javier Hernandez. Was this another mind game by Ferguson to test Mancini’s nerve. When the two clubs train opposite each other, it would be difficult to fool City. However, the media took the bait as usual and we all expected United to be without Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov. After Berbatov’s performance, many United fans may have wished he had come down with something.

Were City there for the taking in the second half?

Did Manchester United miss an opportunity in the second half last night. United were on top for most of the half and looked the most likely throughout the game. City were forced into a defensive approach by a strong United midfield, but could Ferguson have taken advantage of this. Should the change have been to bring young Javier Hernandez on to partner Dimitar Berbatov rather than replace the Bulgarian. Sure, this would have been a risk considering the strength of the Manchester City midfield but, they Werner threatening United. It may have been a change that won United the game. Of course, having to replace two full backs forced Ferguson’s hand to a degree. After a controlled second half performance, and with Arsenal and Chelsea winning, United may see last night’s game as an opportunity missed.

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