Manchester, The Tale of Two-Classes

Manchester, The Tale of Two-Classes

Ignore the humble scoreline of 3-1.

Anybody who watched the match knew from the get-go, that the red side of Manchester had virtually no chance of taking points off this derby.

At least not by sitting back and parking the bus; a tactic made infamous by manager Jose Mourinho. It did sink several titans throughout the years but nevertheless, not against a record-breaking opponent so formidable like City.

Just basing off raw statistics, City took 17 shots and five were on target. United – five shots and one on target and that lone shot on target was a penalty. The Etihad Stadium was practically a one-team exhibition. Possession was also a one-sided story, 65% for City.

11 minutes in, City were already on their fourth attempt on goal right before David Silva hammered home from close range. United’s defence had no answer to their through balls and one-two passes.

The breakaway came through in the second half, just two minutes after the restart.

Sergio Aguero smashed one home on the right outside the six-yard box after a beautiful one-two pass with Riyad Mahrez.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Right until now, City custodian Ederson has not been really involved in the game and he makes a ridiculous attempt to dive at an oncoming Romelu Lukaku way outside his area. Was Ederson bored? Perhaps.

Anthony Martial then converted the penalty which gave the visitors a glimmer of hope.

City then asserted their position, after substitute Ilkay Gundogan slotted it into the back of the net after a fantastic 44-passes between the team.

Guardiola has implemented a system where his players are involved with the build up of an attack. The dynamism of City’s midfield is unparalleled, as they move the ball so much as evident in this match. ( City-700 passes vs United-380 passes). Even Phil Foden, who came on in the 92nd minute, completed more passes than Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez combined.

The team’s off the ball movement is a sight to behold as their midfield shifts the opponent, not the ball, and waits for a collapse in the opposition’s rotation. With a 4-3-3 formation, there are six players in the offensive end. One or two will make the run, while the others maintain their shape so to be available for a pass in case of an aggressive interception by the opponent. The high work-rate shared between all his men has essentially converted each individual to a tri-position midfielder.

This video shows how their players rotate to alleviate pressing strategies and how they disrupt the shape of the opponent’s midfield.

Aside from their great pool of players, their strongest suit is simply using the space and their mind.

This marks City’s first home derby victory in four years.

Despite a strong performance, the EPL title race is far from over as both Liverpool and Chelsea are just two and four points behind respectively.

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