From the opening whistle in the Manchester Derby, to the one that ended the game, there was only one team that seemed capable of winning the game.
Infact, the gulf in class was so much, you could fit a dozen City of Manchester Stadium in it and still have enough space left to fit in three “Theatre of Dreams.” At this point, Manchester United are not only the inferior team in Manchester, but their lack of progress since Ferguson’s exit, coupled with City’s sharp rise, has raised many questions for the once top team in Manchester.
One of them has to do with whether City’s rise from “Noisy Neighbours” to Champions and then, more annoyingly for United fans, the epicentre of progressive football in Manchester all down to oil money.
Yes, one could say that. No one should divorce City’s success with the power of oil dollars from the Gulf, but United are far from poor themselves and have spent as much as anyone else in the league, bar City, without the required success commensurate with such spending.
United looked bereft of ideas and players looked like they didn’t know what they were doing for most part of the game. This made it easy for City to isolate United’s forwards. This wasn’t helped by United’s starting eleven that had three defensive Midfielders in Fellaini, Matic and Herrera. Herrera, who famously “shut down” Hazard two seasons ago, was given the same task – this time to man-mark Silva, and the folly of the tactic was revealed early on, when Silva not only found space to twist and lay a pass to Sterling, but also connect with the resulting cross to give his team the lead.
The tactics and attacking coaching even looked more misjudged after United went a goal down and needed to get back into the game. While they tried to force the issue through sheer will, they were still unable to muster any creativity when it mattered most at the other end of the pitch to really worry City’s defence.
Watching United attack was an eyesore, a contrast to the Royce Rolls smoothness of City’s forward play that made United’s defensive unit looked disjointed.
There was no part of the match that United looked like the better coached team or even one that had it in them to cause the opposition problems. De Gea, who used to be United’s savior and the one who stood up and stopped the team from embarrassment has downed tools too. He has conceded 22 goals in 12 games this season – a disappointing return for a World Class keeper and a team of United’s ilk.
All these boils down to the coaching and the mentality in the team. United looked worse every year. They are worse than they were last season, and the second place finish flattered them seriously.
Historically, Mourinho has always won the league when he has the most expensive squad in the league. Anytime he was unable to outspend all opponents, he struggled a lot and never won. From Porto, to Chelsea; and From Madrid back to Chelsea, the constant thing is his tittle winning team is millions spent in the off season more than any other team.
All this points to a coach that isn’t particularly good at building or creating something when the finished products are not available, or when someone else can outspend him.
The gulf in Manchester has more to do with coaching than with the money.