Top five conclusions: Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
1. Changing of the guard?
As Joe Hart would say, wowsers. The odds on Manchester City winning 6-1 before the game were 550/1. In truth, United were always likely to punished by a side with as much quality as City as soon as they went down to 10 men, and it is important to note that the sending off (rightly administered) did change the game, but the manner in which they disposed of their Manchester rivals will have shaken the Premier League to its very core. City now play with a swagger that only achievement can bring. From 48 minutes onwards they ran the game, save for a five minute period after Darren Fletcher’s goal.
Quite frankly, they are irressistable. Conceding just seven goals in nine games is impressive, but scoring 33 in nine games is almost unbelievable: They are averaging four goals per game away from home!
The most telling result of such a hammering? For the first time in the history of the Premier League, Manchester City are favourites for the title.
2. Golden Silva
The best player in the Premier League? Whatever the answer to that question, David Silva is certainly the form player. His season to date was summed up by the delicious pass to Edin Dzeko for the sixth and final goal.
One of the often unmentioned attractions to Silva is his attitude. There are no histrionics or diving (Nani), no card-waving (Evra) and no storming off down tunnels (Taarabt). This is a foreign player that expects and accepts that he will be the recipient of some rough treatment in the English game, but is prepared to rise above this to simply let his football do the talking.
That a player so talented is neither an automatic choice for the Spanish national team, nor was wanted by Barcelona or Real Madrid in the summer is as frightening as it is startling. Rather than worry, we should be grateful, sit back and admire.
3. Super Mario
I can only offer by sincere apologies for not mentioning him sooner.
Whilst Balotelli’s personality is deliciously unpredictable, his on-field performances are not, and his two goals yesterday took his tally to six in his last five games. In fact, whilst the media circus follows if ever, and unsteady, move the Italian has created an impressive goalscoring record at Manchester City, scorer of 13 goals despite only 16 starts since his move from Italy.
But it’s really all about the man, isn’t it? He might be unhinged, but to see someone play football with such an evident pantomime mindset is incredibly refreshing for supporters, pundits and the media.
Yesterday, I made a decision that I would start a campaign for Mario to be nominated for BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. Who’s with me? #SuperMarioForOSPOTY
4. Man-cini of the match
Pre-game, the discussion questioned whether Mancini could get one over on Fergie. The Scot holds all the experience, whilst the Italian hadn’t necessarily excelled himself in previous encounters (and had failed to beat Fergie in the Premier League). These concerns were answered in emphatic fashion. During the week Mancini had talked about a desire to stay at City for years to come, with the aim of building a dynasty akin to their neighbours. Who would argue with that now?
Every decision Mancini made turned to gold. From the selection of Balotelli despite his firework shenanigans to the late inclusion of Yaya Toure isntead of enforcer De Jong. Hell, even Clichy looked impressive. Even when Dzeko was brought on, it was at a time that allowed him to gain much-needed confidence.
Mancini has made a lot of friends within the game recently after the shocking displays of petulance and treachery by Carlos Tevez. In the run up to the game Mark Hughes criticised Mancini for the recent occurrences (both Hughes and Tevez have Kia Joorabchian as their agent):
“I don’t know the guy personally but looking at [Mancini] from outside he comes across as autocratic,it’s either his way or the highway. I never saw [Tevez] volatile, I cannot think of an incident with Carlos. It would never have happened under my watch.”
The performance from the City players make Hughes look as foolish as he deserves.
5. England may just be al-right
As a non-Manchester City fan, allow me to dwell on a selfish point, namely the performances of Micah Richards and James Milner. Both are English, both are young, and both linked majestically on numerous occasions.
Milner has been a bit part fixture for England for some time, without attaining a significant run of games in the Three Lions shirt. Richards has, in my opinion, been criminally overlooked until now, not starting in a competitive fixture since November 2007. His four year exile must soon be over, especially given his talent for overlapping runs that can be combined with Milner’s incredible work rate.
If were told by the media to be excited that Smalling and Jones will mature together and that the partnership of Rooney and Welbeck could gel at international level as well as at Old Trafford, did yesterday’s game give Fabio an alternative to the unreliable Glen Johnson and the woefully inconsistent Theo Walcott.