Monday, February 11, 2008

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 2 United 1

I've been trying to figure out why I've been so utterly appalled at last week's proposals by the Premier League to play fixtures overseas.

After yesterday's game it suddenly became clear.

Allowing games to be played abroad is rather like lending your priceless vinyl collection to a bunch of bratty 15-year-olds whose only musical purchase to date has been a Kylie ringtone.

Not only is there a good chance that records will be returned scratched or broken, or flogged to a dealer, but the sheer depth of emotion invested in the collection is always going to be beyond their understanding.

Few people outside Manchester can really appreciate the historic importance of this win and the joy it brings. And few people overseas will ever understand or embrace the unique culture of British football.

Maybe it was the minute's silence, the mass of scarves and absence of shirt advertising that helped give this game such a magical feel. But yesterday was what football should be about - the unique mix of mutual respect, rapture and unrelenting piss-take.

And the settling of historical scores.

There's been many dates bandied around before and after the game - the last double over United since 1970, the last win at Old Trafford since 1974 - but everyone has their own emotional timeline.

Mine includes September 1980, the last time City went 2-0 up at Old Trafford. The only ticket I could get was in the Stretford End, and I remember the sheer torture of not being able to celebrate City's two goals (actually I think there were a fair few Blues in that section of the ground but none of us wanted to push our luck).

This time there was no Coppell-inspired fightback, and I was free to let rip with decades of frustration.

This time our Man of Passion outfoxed their Man of Passion.

And this time there are no boardroom squabbles threatening to poison the well, and no financial crises brewing.

We're three points off a Champions League spot, the best young defender in the country has signed until 2013 and our under-18s have just stuffed United's 5-0.

I've had worse weeks.

~ Vassell 1-0; Benjani 2-0; ESPN highlights; the final whistle
~ Sven's post-match interview / Benjani & Dunne interview / minute's silence
~ Getty Images photos
~ Latest Premiership table

~ The best songs from yesterday are remembered at Mancityfans. "We can see you sneaking out" (sung 10 minutes from time) and
"Shit ground no fans, shit ground no fans" (after United fans had left the ground) had to be the funniest two.

Match stats

The stats (below) are compiled from a live commentary. For more detailed stats, including a breakdown of each player’s passes and tackles click here, while you can also find match details at the BBC, Sky and Setanta.

Also worth a look is the excellent nerdic indicator at Wookie's Lair.

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): Gloebero, WangYu, ross.mcfc (Mancityfans), FleetwoodBlue, BlueAnorak, blue_blue (Wookie's Lair), chrisgoatian (bluemoon), Setanta, Sky and Sky Your Rating and the BBC.

Hart: 8, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7.5, 7, 7.2, 7.2 (av: 7.3)

Onuoha: 8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 8, 7, 6.5, 6, 7, 6.8, 6.6 (av: 7.2)

Richards: 9, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7.5, 8, 7.7, 7.5 (av: 8.1)

Dunne: 9, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8.1, 7.9 (av: 8.3)

Ball: 8, 7.5, 9, 7, 8, 8, 8, 6.5, 6, 7, 6.9, 6.7 (av: 7.4)

Vassell: 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7.0, 7.2 (av: 7.1)

Ireland: 8, 8, 9, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 8, 6, 6.7, 7.0 (av: 7.4)

Hamann (Sun Jihai 84): 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 8, 8, 7.2, 7.1 (av: 7.8)

Gelson: 8, 8, 9, 8, 7, 8, 8, 6, 7, 7, 6.8, 6.7 (av: 7.5)

Petrov (Garrido 87): 7, 8.5, 9, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8.5, 8.5, 8, 7.8, 7.8 (av: 7.8)

Benjani (Caicedo 75): 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 8, 6.5, 7, 7, 7.4, 7.7 (av: 7.4)


Caicedo (Benjani 75): - , - , - , - , - , - , - , 5, 6, 6, 5.9, 5.8 (av: 5.7)

Sun Jihai (Hamann 84)

Garrido(Petrov 87)

Subs not used:

Isaksson, Geovanni, Garrido

Match reports

Manchester unites as Benjani makes history (Henry Winter)
Maybe the emotion surrounding the Munich commemoration affected Manchester United's players yesterday. Maybe the recent long-haul, if lucrative, trip to Riyadh sapped their strength. Maybe the suspension of the talismanic Wayne Rooney deprived them of some zest and belief. Maybe Edwin van der Sar should have worn a cap as Darius Vassell's shot and Benjani's header came out of the sun and flew past him. Maybe not. United can make no excuses. City, their old foe, were simply superior in every department, from the shot-stopping of young Joe Hart, to the stout defending of Richard Dunne, to Didi Hamann's intelligent patrolling and on to Benjani's hugely effective front-running.

Great burden of history proves too heavy for Ronaldo and Co (Sam Wallace)
The first City victory at Old Trafford in 24 years was also marked by the worst United performance in recent memory. Sven Goran Eriksson may have achieved wonders at his new club but even he, with three straight victories over Ferguson (including his time at Lazio), cannot have imagined United would play so badly. And no one disappointed more than Cristiano Ronaldo, the United player who embodies the spirit of those Busby Babes more than any other.

City steal glory as United sink under emotional tide (Daniel Taylor)
City, in stark contrast, were magnificent, wearing a 1950s-style kit but playing with 1970s verve. Some of Sven-Goran Eriksson's players had been hiding from the ball in recent weeks but two of the worst culprits, Stephen Ireland and Martin Petrov, could not get enough of it here yesterday.
Micah Richards played as though affronted to have been left out of Fabio Capello's first England side for the match against Switzerland, and Darius Vassell has redeemed himself from a position where he has been in danger of getting what is known at City as "the Richard Edghill treatment".


City Slicker said...

I suggest you look at Harts average again. How can you have an average less than every score? Good article though. As you say I have worseweeks too.

Anonymous said...

what was the maths used for hart's average?

Andrew said...

city slicker, anon

Thanks for pointing that out.

Hart is now up to his rightful 7.3 average.

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