Monday, August 20, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 1 v United 0

A typical story of Manchester football.

One Manchester club goes top after winning the first three games of the season, helped by another clean sheet from a keeper called Schmeichel. Their local rivals are seven points and 15 places behind them, massively in debt, can't score and are forced to bring on two untried youngsters for a key game.

It reminds me of my favourite episode of Seinfeld, when Jerry's obnoxious friend, George Costanza, decides that as every decision he has ever made has been wrong, following the opposite of what his instincts tell him must therefore be right. The result is an amazingly good run of fortune, during which Jerry's glamorous and successful friend, Elaine, sees her life fall apart. "Oh my God," screeches Elaine: "I've become George!"

And for the time being at least, United too have become George. Arrogant, selfish, unloved - and completely unable to catch a break. We all know it won't last. United will be comfortably in the top four at the end of the season while the very best we can hope for is a Uefa Cup spot.

But right now the bragging rights are ours. And as the very earliest United can overtake us in the table is Sept 15, they're ours for at least a few more weeks.

~ Latest Premiership table
~ Video of Geovanni goal
~ Sven and Micah's post-match interview
~ Getty Images photos

Match reports

City 1 United 0
Geovanni's deflected first-half strike proved decisive and the Blues withstood long periods of pressure to seal the win.
Micah Richards made a couple of crucial interventions in defence to foil United, who have picked up just two points from their first three games. City, meanwhile, have three wins and three clean sheets.

Richard makes his mark for City (Martin Samuel)
Eriksson said: “To have a young man, at 19, to be so strong and yet so quick is a very unique package — I am not sure I have come across it in my career. He is so powerful in the air, but if he makes a mistake, he can recover. At his age, when sometimes there is a lack of experience, that is very useful.”

Geovanni's lucky strike punishes prodigal United (Daniel Taylor)
United attacked with pace and purpose, they stretched their opponents, forced corner after corner, rattled the woodwork and laid siege to Schmeichel's goal. In many ways, it was the most one-sided derby here for years - a comprehensive 0-1 thrashing, if you like - but Eriksson will not mind if the victory was fortuitous.

Match stats

The stats (below) are taken from a live commentary and can differ from the match stats given by the BBC
and Sky.

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): Mark Garrett, Dr Spectrum, irblinx, Arjan Van Schotte, (Mancityfans) FleetwoodBlue, Bagpuss, winblue, (Wookie's Lair) , Apollo, bluebrendan (Citymancs), MEN, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Schmeichel: 6, 7, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7.2, 8, 7.7 (av: 6.8)
None of the signs of nerves he showed on Wednesday and produced two smart saves to deny Nani. (MEN)
Kept a clean sheet against the defending champions. Nowt wrong with that but needed protection. (Apollo)
Well protected by the CBs but made 3 smart saves too. (bluebrendan)

Corluka: 8, 8, 7, 7, 9, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.7, 7, 7.0 (av: 7.2)
Got tired in second half and was booked but until then had coped well with his first derby. (MEN)
Looks a good defender, and contributed solidly to our defence. (Apollo)
Tired a little towards the end but was generally solid. Hell of a shot that just went over too. (bluebrendan)

Dunne: 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 9, 9, 9, 7, 7.6, 8, 7.9 (av: 8.7)
Old hand at these games and it showed. Never let Tevez off the leash and won important second half headers (MEN)
Back to his best, captain magnificent... (Apollo)
In fine "they shall not pass" form once again. (bluebrendan)

Richards: 10, 10, 10, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 8.3, 9, 8.7 (av: 9.5)
Absolutely magnificent: Memo to Steve McClaren, forget old Sol and just stick Micah in the middle. (MEN)
... but Micah stole the show. Bearly put a foot (or head) wrong and had that extra yard of pace to intercept Rags opportunities to score. (Apollo)
Fecking amazing performance, how much better can he get seeing as he's only 19?? (bluebrendan)

Garrido: 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 8, 6, 6, 7, 6, 6.2, 7, 6.6 (av: 7.0)
Had his powers of concentration and his lungs tested and came through the test with flying colours. (MEN)
Contributed to the team effort but didn't shine as much as the other defenders. (Apollo)
He's a consistent, unspectacular but solid defender. (bluebrendan)

Elano: (Bianchi 63): 6, 5, 7, 7, 5, 5, 3, 7, 6, 7, 6.4, 5, 6.2 (av: 5.8)
Any fantasy football players should transfer him into their sides quickly. A master of the assist. (MEN)
Was mainly jostled out of the game. Rags were allowed to rough him without penalty by ref. But a tough competitor, and will shine more against lesser opposition. (Apollo)
Kicked off the park by Scholes and Hargreaves, the sly whack in the kidneys from Scholes was particularly brutal. Still supplied the pass for the goal though. (bluebrendan)

Hamann: 8, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 7, 8, 8, 7, 6.5, 7, 7.0 (av: 7.5)
Not easy to dominate in such a crowded midfield but got through his fair share of the workload. (MEN)
He was great today, and important anchor and cool head in front of the defense. Seems to be fulfilling my prediction that he'll be one of our stars this year. (Apollo)
I still don't believe it's the same bloke as last season! (bluebrendan)

Geovanni: (Ball 74): 8, 7, 8, 8, 6.5, 6, 7, - , 7, 8, 7.4, 8, 7.6 (av: 7.4)
Would not have played had Ireland not phoned in sick but his wonder strike was worthy winner
Took his opportunity well for the goal and worked hard throughout. (bluebrendan)

Johnson: 8, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 7, 8, 7, 7, 6.3, 7, 6.5 (av: 7.2)
Built well on what he achieved in midweek. Not fazed by expensive names in opposition ranks. (MEN)
Great game for him today, very impressed with how he's developing. (Apollo)
Worked hard again, more emphasis on his defensive duties this time. (bluebrendan)

Petrov: 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6.5, 6, 6.8 (av: 5.6)
Singled out for some hefty tackles and always carried a threat without ever fulfilling promise. (MEN)
Had little opportunity to shine, but battled well. Caught lingering on the ball a couple of times when he should have done better. (Apollo)
Gave Brown a torrid time early on and he should have been carded for the fouls. Faded in the second half. (bluebrendan)

Bojinov (Mpenza 8 )
His derby debut lasted a mere five minutes and ended with him on a stretcher and facing a lengthy lay-off. (MEN)


Mpenza (Bojinov 8 ): 7, 5, 5, 6, 5, 5, 4, 6, 7, 6, 6.1, 6, 6.5 (av: 5.7)
Toiled hard but precious few sights of goal for Belgian. (MEN)
Little opportunity to shine as a striker, but contributed to the team effort. Felt he could have controlled the ball better at times to help take the heat off. Seemed to give the ball away too easily. (Apollo)
Had a thankless task up front until Bianchi arrived with little service but he worked his bollox off tracking back. (bluebrendan)

Bianchi: (Elano 63): 6, 7, -, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6.2, 5, 6.5 (av: 6.1)
Made sure Reds defenders did not have time to dwell on ball. (MEN)
A little more effective than Mpenza at holding the ball, but had no opportunities to shoot. (Apollo)
No real opportunity in attack. (bluebrendan)

Ball (Geovanni 74): 7, 7, -, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, -, 6, 5.8, 6, 6.1 (av: 6.3)
Slotted in well on his comeback from suspension. (MEN)
Helped shore up the defence as they were wilting. (Apollo)

Subs not used:

Hart, Onuoha.

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