“Where did we put those light blue ribbons?”
That’s it folks. Stick the blue ribbons on the trophy and send it five miles east towards the Etihad Stadium. It’s City’s to lose now.
October 24th, 2011
OK, so we might be a little premature but after turning up to United’s back yard, completely taking the mick out of Rio Ferdinand and whacking six past David De Gea, City are now the 6/5 favourites for the Premier League, cut from 11/5 overnight.
The manner of the 6-1 reverse at Old Trafford for United was so severe that Ferdinand couldn’t even bring himself to enjoy a VIP junket at Wembley for the NFL’s annual sojourn across the Atlantic. It was perhaps just as well that he wasn’t sat alongside the Glazer family, given that they saw their second of their two teams defeated within the space of a few hours.
Two goals from City’s new fire-safety marshal, Mario Balotelli, a brace from Edin Dzeko and goals from Silva and Sergio Aguero overshadowed an excellent Darren Fletcher strike to put Roberto Mancini’s men in the driving seat.
Whilst the red card undoubtedly changed things, City executed their game plan to a tea. United had position but could do little with it. The home side were stifled by the five-man midfield and City broke with purpose. If the experiences of Tottenham and United are anything to go by, you don’t play 442 against the men from Eastlands
If it were possible, Sir Alex Ferguson’s performance post-match was even more bewildering than Ferdinand’s defending, with the United manager claiming: “It’s the worst result in my history,” later inferring that his side should have just “taken” the 3-1 at 90 minutes.
“It was a horrible defeat but it was suicidal,” added the United boss.
“Jonny Evans’s sending off was a killer for us. With 10 men we kept attacking – it was crazy football and ended up being an embarrassment. We should have just said: ‘We’ve had our day’.
“I believe you shouldn’t bring down a man on the edge of the box. Evans is young but he should let Balotelli go through and see what he can do.
“I thought with the experience we’ve got – Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra – they would have defended more but we just kept attacking. Sometimes there has to be common sense about it. It was a bad day.”
City’s cause was helped further by Chelsea’s collapse at QPR, where they went down to a 1-0 defeat and had Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba sent off. Those results combined to give unbeaten City a five-point advantage at the top of the table.
We’ve been waiting all season for the City collapse and the chance to say “we told you so”. The problem is, it looks less and less likely that there will be one.