Man City 4 Man United 1: Four talking points as Aguero punishes champions
Man City 4 Man United 1: Kieran Beckles discusses talking points as Sergio Aguero fires the Citizens to an emphatic derby win
Toure at his immense best
Yaya Toure easily ranks as one of the most imposing and towering midfielders in the Premier League. Few can challenge the Ivorian’s power when the Manchester City midfielder is in his pomp but David Moyes would have hoped his own £27.5m giant Marouane Fellaini could counter the City talisman’s power. But the Belgian and his midfield partner Michael Carrick were at a loss how to contain the irrepressible Toure in the first half. The 30-year-old was ever-present, whether it be tackling back to win the ball when United made rare forays into Joe Hart’s half, or ushering City forward as David De Gea’s goal was put under siege. He capped an immense performance with perhaps the game-deciding goal on the stroke of half-time, escaping his marker Fellaini and bundling his strike into the United net. There’s no doubt the presence of summer signing Fernandinho has given Toure the licence to push further forward and bully opponents, and he has now scored two goals in his last two appearances.
Is Moyes in the right?
Moyes opted to hand a resurgent Antonio Valencia the right-midfield berth in the Manchester derby, perhaps with the Ecuadorian’s defensive capabilities in mind. But the former Wigan Athletic man was below-par alongside full-back Chris Smalling as City exploited United’s weak spot as the Citizens looked to channel their attacks down the right flank. City took the lead when Samir Nasri burst down the left wing before teeing up Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero contorted his body to volley the Serbian’s cross past De Gea in the 16th minute. With Moyes presumably smarting after Toure’s second in the 45th minute, United needed to create some momentum early in the second half. But City extinguished any lingering hopes of a United comeback with a third goal moments after the derby’s resumption, once again exploiting United’s right side. Smalling’s miserable derby experience was compounded when City broke and found Samir Nasri unmarked at the back post after the England defender had been dragged into the six-yard area. The former Arsenal playmaker made no mistake with his 50th-minute finish.
Aguero flourishes alongside Negredo
Aguero will rightly take the plaudits for a clinical display at Etihad Stadium as the City striker scored a brace to continue his excellent run in Manchester derbies (five strikes in six games). The 25-year-old was one of City’s best performers as he produced a performance reminiscent of his debut season in the Premier League. He showed brilliant agility and skill to tuck his opener past De Gea before being pouncing on Álvaro Negredo’s cross two minutes after half-time. Aguero has been partnered largely with Edin Dzeko this season, and the Bosnian’s omission from the starting line-up was a relative surprise considering his recent form. But it proved to be a tactical masterstroke by City boss Manuel Pellegrini as the Spaniard was a big physical presence up front and brought his team-mates into the picture in dangerous areas. The former Sevilla forward capped a promising performance with an assist for Aguero’s second.
RVP-less United still contenders
United were already on the back-foot before a ball had been kicked at The Etihad after Robin van Persie was forced out of the derby due to a thigh strain. The Dutch striker scored a memorable winner in this fixture last season which helped United take a giant step towards a 13th Premier League crown. Whether the 30-year-old could have made a telling difference to the outcome on Sunday if he had been fit is open to debate. Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck were only afforded half-chances as City won the majority of the second balls and bullied United’s midfield, although the forward did net a late free-kick. It means the reigning champions have now suffered back-to-back away losses to two of their biggest rivals: City and Liverpool. Time to write off United? No, not yet. It’s been a topsy-turvy start, with Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Spurs and United all suffering defeats. It’s also worth remembering the Red Devils have been forced to contend with one of their toughest starts of the Premier League era under a new manager. Finally, epitomised by the ever-battling Rooney, United have too much experience and winning spirit to become critically dismayed by a disappointing run of opening results. Expect Moyes’ men to bounce back.