Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughClash of the Manchester’s, again - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Clash of the Manchester’s, again - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Clash of the Manchester’s, again

Clash of the Manchester’s, again.

Manchester Cities 1-0 close scrape against Reading has brought them to Wembley, and the noisy neighbours only have one obstacle in their way of a dream FA cup final against Bolton or Stoke.  Sadly the obstacle that presents itself is that of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, an obstacle that ‘Poor ole Citeh’ seem to have a lot of trouble overcoming.

Whether its last minute goals in ‘Fergie team’ from Michael Owen or wonder goals from Wayne Rooney, the noisy neighbours just seem to have no luck when it comes to overcoming their red rivals.

When looking at the sides though it must be added that United’s team is by far the weakest it has been in recent years, this is down to a combination of injuries and well age.  But all well, the strongest first team that could be fielded now by United would look like this.

Out of context this looks like a strong line-up but looking at it in perspective you have a team of players playing poor football. OK so Vidic, Berbatov and Van De Sar are clearly not a part of this generalisation, but look at Chris Smalling a player who is playing well for his development but is being carried by his defensive partner. Rafael, a player who is notorious for having one good game followed by a poor game, Patrice Evra, a player who while he has was United’s most consistent players last season and has faded this term. Antonio Valencia has just come back from injury and didn’t look fresh at the weekend against Arsenal; however his arrival could be the catalyst for more. Ryan Giggs can’t last 90 minutes anymore and while his class is obvious, he just doesn’t have the legs for the full match. Wayne Rooney has shown glimpses of class lately but still hasn’t been on top scoring form and from a striker who a lot of the time plays alone up top he needs to start scoring consistently.

By far the main problem for United though is in the centre of midfield; Michael Carrick has been nothing short of poor lately and in his duties at the heart of midfield is not contributing further forward on the pitch or defensively. Darren Fletcher has been a sight better than Carrick but has showed nowhere near the drive and passing ability he showed last season. Anderson and Darron Gibson are being expected to provide creativity in the middle and are falling short dramatically and Paul Scholes is being expected to play a lot deeper than he is used to and is therefore losing his effectiveness as a playmaker.

So how on earth are they at the top of the table, well that’s something I can’t really answer. I would say a mix of ruthless efficiency in front of goal courtesy of Dimitar Berbatov, defensive strength courtesy of a when fit twitter addict Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and strong mindedness.

Can Manchester City exploit this and steal a victory from their neighbours; my opinion is that if there has ever been a time it is now. City bar their stodgy reading performance are playing good football, what they lacked in creativity earlier in the season is being provided in abundance by Yaya Toure and David Silva. The potential for goals are there with strikers Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, but will most likely come from ex red devil Carlos Tevez and defensive strength can be found in the rocks that are Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart.

Will it come down to the wire? Yes, of course when do Manchester derbies of late not come down to one or two goals. The added spice of a cup tie will surely add a different dimension, but the final result, well that’s anyone’s guessing.

John Fernandez

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