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REDemption as RVP’s massive goal stuns City

Robin Van Persie scored a dramatic last minute winner as Manchester United ended City’s 37 game unbeaten home record in the league.

The Dutchman produced his most Cantona-esque moment to date to send United six points clear at the top of the table after City clawed their way back from two goals down and looked to have snatched a late draw through Pablo Zabaleta’s smart finish.

It had been hailed as the biggest Manchester derby ever, the game where champions Manchester City would confirm the shift in power that’s long been talked about in the blue half of Manchester.

It was a typical Mancunian derby indeed. Only it was painted red and the last stroke of them all will live long in the memory of both sets of fans for it was applied by the player who divided the city in the summer.

The pre-match columns had been awash with references to City’s unbeaten run and United’s poor defensive form, but Fergie surprised media and fans alike by fielding an offensive side, arguably the best XI at his disposal – bar the injured Vidic and Kagawa.

United had travelled to this same venue in April with a disconcertingly timid approach, miles away from the club’s “blood and thunder” philosophy but there was none of it this time, with De Gea in goal, protected by the usual back four and with Cleverley and Valencia thrusted in midfield alongside Carrick and Young, while Rooney and Van Persie were the obvious choices up front.

After the home fans’ half-hearted attempt at waving plastic flags – does anybody still consider City as the romantic response to multimillionaire’s football? – the home side were quickly on top, dominating United in midfield but failed to create any clear cut chances, apart from a Balotelli free-kick that was comfortably saved by De Gea.

Sir Alex had hailed Wayne Rooney as a potential game changer and the United number 10 confirmed his manager’s theory with 15 minutes played.

Ashley Young’s flick-on found Robin Van Persie, who chested the ball back to the former Villa man, allowing him to run at City’s back four.

Young’s pass found Rooney who brilliantly adjusted his feet before squeezing the ball past Joe Hart to give United the lead.

City were rattled but went close to equalise less than seven minutes later as Aguero worked his way through three tackles but his finish lacked the power to trouble De Gea. Those that expected a City onslaught were soon to be denied as United hit the hosts again.

Valencia and Rafael combined on the flank, the Ecuadorian’s pass releasing his younger teammate who squared the ball for back for Wayne Rooney. The Liverpool born striker made no mistake, nestling the ball past Joe Hart to secure his second brace in the last three games at the Etihad and, perhaps more importantly, his 150th Premier League goal.

Not for the first time this season City looked in trouble with the opponent taking the game at them, just as United were doing with Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley delivering superb performances in midfield, and could only muster a chance before halftime, as Gareth Barry saw his shot fizzle past De Gea’s near post.

Smalling and Tevez replaced Evans and Balotelli early in the second half, before three of the most pyrotechnic minutes of the season. With 57 minutes played, Aguero’s curling effort whiskered just wide of De Gea’s goal then, sixty seconds later, Van Persie’s curled one of his own only to see it crashing against the post. Ashley Young thought he had put United three up as he tapped in the rebound, only to be denied by the linesman who had – wrongly – adjudged him offside.

The game was blown back open less than minute later as City broke down the right, only for Tevez’s effort to be brilliantly blocked by De Gea.

Silva’s follow-up was again blocked by the United keeper but even he could nothing about Toure’s precise finish, that sent the ball in the bottom corner bringing City back into the game.

With City piling on the pressure, United defended admirably as Smalling, Evra and Ferdinand were superb to deny Aguero, Silva and Tevez.

Van Persie couldn’t direct his header and City looked to have produced the last twist of the game when Zabaleta drove home a poor clearance following a Tevez’s corner.

With their unbeaten home record seemingly intact, the home side pressed for the winner but when substitute Danny Welbeck chased and won the ball down in City’s half and Rafael was brought down by Tevez, United were gifted a last, perhaps unexpected chance.

Robin Van Persie didn’t let his club down arrowing his free-kick into the far corner – albeit via a deflection off Samir Nasri – to send the away fans berserk as United celebrated yet another derby win in injury time.

Despicable scenes followed as Rio Ferdinand’s celebrations were cut short when he was hit by a coin thrown from a City fan while Joe Hart stopped another loony from assaulting the United defender.

However, one can’t blame the fans….chucking money at players has been City’s policy over the last four years – they were just following the club’s guidelines.


Dan (@MUFC_dan87)



  1. StevieBlue

    9 December 2012 at 20:41

    Throwing coins, this would never happen at the swamp now would it? 😳

    • AS

      9 December 2012 at 20:57


    • Daniele

      9 December 2012 at 20:59

      @StevieBlue: It’s alright lad. Bitter, are we?

    • Redrich

      9 December 2012 at 21:23

      @StevieBlue: I guess throwing your money away is pervasive at the Etihad. 😈

  2. JARaven

    10 December 2012 at 01:18

    good result for us. i was just glad to see Cleverly in the line up and not Scholes or Giggs (no disrespect to the Legends just that we need more pressing in the middle against City). Good to see that Sir Alex is starting to trust Cleverly with the big games.

  3. Redrich

    10 December 2012 at 03:38

    When United play a good percentage of the 90 minutes with the desire to win the ball they always end up on top. They did that today and it gave them a huge advantage over a team that just relies on individuals and the bank that afforded them.
    Not that good players are not necessary, and really they are the instruments that play key roles in any league. But if they’re arranged or orchestrated poorly they become islands, isolated and exclusive. Citeh have lots of good players, but they are eliminated in the CL and are now 6 points adrift in the PL. The result of their spending has been of poor value because they put the cart before the horse and handed the reins to an egocentric Italian who has no thought or no control over who and how plays together. Playing Balotelli was a ridiculous gamble that completely backfired – but if you have Balotelli you might be tempted to play him.
    I would bet that the Sheiks are asking the very same football questions right now, and I’m not sure how RM can answer them.

    United’s occasional lack of desire is surely because of their immaturity. They don’t look that bad, they just look a little unsure of themselves. This could change for the better.
    We are lacking the “alarm clock”, a Roy Keane type that kicks arse and drives promising players to become great players. We have a really good shot st winning something this season but do we actually have the men to lead the way? Anderson, Carrick, Cleverly, Scholes, Fletcher – not a leader of men among them.

    Give this team the placebo of leadership in the engine room, and the sky becomes the limit. Until then we will struggle to find a clear identity and a vision for the future.

    By the way, great fucking win today. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

    • jos

      10 December 2012 at 07:35

      @Redrich: rooney is that kind of player. surely he should be the captain instead of Evra when Vidic is not there. And after vidic he should be the club captain. He is born to lead Manchester United just like Roy Keane.

      • The_Philosopher

        10 December 2012 at 08:36

        @jos: I here that Jos

        And I’m totally behind that too.

        Rooney should be our Vice Captain right now. And when Vidic steps down Rooney should be fulltime captain.

        By that time he will have matured enough. He truely is a lead by example type player.

  4. thatboywazza

    10 December 2012 at 08:04

    I know city fans are bitter,but this takes the cake!They are on top of us in the league,Bitter Blues in your dreams!

  5. Owen

    10 December 2012 at 08:05

    He is abused too much here but i really believe Evra has been on of the Better United Players this season.
    Same goes for Rio.

  6. Stephen

    10 December 2012 at 09:09

    I thought we were supposed to get annihilated? Fergie should go, Mourinho should take over and oh yes our midfield is awful.
    #6pointsclear. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    • The_Philosopher

      10 December 2012 at 09:27

      @Stephen: I never said Fergie should go.

      I have repeatedly said that if we could have him for another 5years I would gladly take him.(safe in the knowledge that under Ferguson City would be thoroughly dealt with)

      He is the best.

      But if we can’t have him for another 5 years then Mourinho is the next best thing.

      Guardiola hasn’t proven anything at Barca. Tito Vilanova is doing great at Barca. Is it the team or the manager?

      There’s nothing wrong with speculating about the future when one has no certainties or guarantees to cling to.

    • The_Philosopher

      10 December 2012 at 09:28

      @Stephen: A midfield consisting of Scholes and Giggs or Fletcher is awful!

    • AndyCR7

      11 December 2012 at 04:27

      @Stephen: Everyone is happy that we beat City at their home and broke their unbeaten streak. Last season we were 8 points clear and threw that away in 4 games. Young did play well though. hope he keeps his form.

  7. The_Philosopher

    10 December 2012 at 09:14

    Its a little hard for me to believe but we beat City yesterday!

    Its difficult to overstate the importance of this victory!

    6 points ahead and the psychological victory of beating City in their own back yard. (Now they must come to Trafford and pick up another over due hiding)

    Its such a massive victory for us. And congratulations to Ferguson and the coaching staff and the team for pulling this one off.

    I know Ferguson is a master of planning and preparing for games and picking his players just as they hit form.

    And after a season littered with sloppy performances Ferguson chooses the Manchester Derby to get everything right! What a neat and solid performance that was.

    Everything just fell into place at the right time. Ferguson has still got it. He is a master.

    • thatboywazza

      10 December 2012 at 09:25

      @The_Philosopher: Winning Yesterday was the kind of confidence booster,tonic we needed.Now if Rooney can get back to his preferred position.We should be smiling come January,sitting pretty @ the top of the league.

  8. Stephen

    10 December 2012 at 09:40

    Rooney was excellent yesterday as was Rio. RvP just showed all the sceptics what a great buy he was. Yes he is 29 and the fee was high, but he is a match winner and they are priceless.
    Fergie got the team spot on, good to see Vally back he and Young both played well.
    Mancini’s vanity project Mario Balotelli is a joke, you would never see Fergie indulge and idiot like that. As soon as I heard he was starting I felt we had a chance.

  9. Daniele

    10 December 2012 at 11:06

    Apart from the result, yesterday’s biggest satisfaction was to see that we’ve finally taken a step towards the future. Cleverley and Carrick were superb, they have to be our first choice from now on, no questions about that. Also, bollocks to the diamond. That’s what we need, quick, dynamic counter attacking football. Rooney’s at his best when playing behind the main striker AND linking with the midfield rather than when he’s deployed in midfield.

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  11. Sahal

    10 December 2012 at 11:57

    I think everyone saw how vital Rio is yesterday.IN fact,he’s been in this form for well over a year now.Since Vidic got injured he really took responsibility and showed all his class.Reds give him stick whenever he makes a mistake but how often has that been?Being run away by the fastest player in the league?

    Rooney wis brilliant yesterday,again we see how effective he is in that free role.The whole defence was solid,except for an Evra blip where he left his near post position which could have prevented Zabaleta’s goal.De Gea has to be number one now,he comes out for corners and takes command so I don’t see any real weaknesses now.

    Just a random question…would you rather have us win in the way we did,breaking city hearts OR have Young’s goal allowed + the penalty give and converted,thus humiliating City?

    Speaking of Young it’s nice to see he does know how to play,more of the same please !
    Carrick>Toure 8)

    • The_Philosopher

      10 December 2012 at 14:49

      @Sahal: I would rather have had Young’s goal stand than break City hearts in the last minute.

      Young’s goal should have been allowed to stand and Evra’s penalty should have been given.

      We should have burried them 4-0.

      3-2 looks like the contest was close.

      We dominated them.

      P.S. : Carrick’s great but I think Yaya Toure has more to offer right now.

      Especially if he was playing under Ferguson.

      • Dan

        10 December 2012 at 16:07

        @The_Philosopher: Sorry mate, gotta disagree here. A last minute winner against the Berties is always preferable to any other result. Still buzzing about it now, and I’ve already watched the highlights on MOTD four times!

      • Sahal

        11 December 2012 at 08:01

        agree with you 100%

    • tonymontanna4united

      10 December 2012 at 17:59

      @Sahal: I dont agree about rio, his form the last year on the whole, has been pretty poor by his standards.
      He is still capable however of giving a performance such as yesterdays, or at anfield and newcastle where he was also magnificent, but i think the key with rio, as with giggs and scholes, is managing them correctly so as not to over use them, which is something i think fergie hasnt done all that well to be brutally honestly with you.
      All 3 no longer have the legs to be weekly starters. Its about resting them, playing them every now and then rather than every week and picking the right games to start them in (unfortunately in giggs’ case i dont think he offers anything full stop these days so i dont include him here).
      Injuries to smalling and jones have meant hes had no choice but to be starting every week, but now those are back id like to see less of rio in the starting line up if im honest, keeping him back for the odd game here and there and then deciding whether to throw him in in the games such as yesterdays, liverpool, chelski etc where experience can be invaluable.
      Rio is certainly not helped by the inclusions in front of him in midfield, when we go for slow, immobile players such as scholes, giggs alongside carrick.
      Take a look at bales goal against us vs spurs, and the gaps being left in behind the midfield which spurs punished. Very easy to look at the vertongen and bale goals and think the defenders were to blame, when in fact it was the midfield in front, and its lack of energy and mobility that meant rio and the defence were left dealing with an surge of spurs attacks, that made them look the guilty party.
      Yesterday went to show, that with a bit of energy and the right pairing in midfield, less gaps appear and it makes rio and the defences job that little bit easier.
      Basically what im saying is scholes and rio do definitely still have something to offer, provided that is theyre managed correctly. The 2 should seldom ever start in the same team together (especially if its scholes and carrick in a 2 man midfield), so for the next few games coming up id like to see a bit more of cleverley, anderson, carrick in midfield and smalling, jones in defence.

  12. colver

    10 December 2012 at 14:49

    Yeah the diamond is total B.S. Our best performances always involve wingers on the top of their game along with one defensively minded midfielder and one mobile box-to-box midfielder.

    Carrick is absolutely integral to this and he should never be played in defence as we always look weaker without him in the centre of the park. I also worry that we have absolutely no-one capable of filling in for him. Buying a cheap holding midfielder who can pass would be a great bit of business giving us a bit more tactical flexibility (in Europe 4-4-2 simply doesn’t fly) as well as ensuring that we will always be able to field one defensively minded midfielder alongside Cleverley or Anderson.

    I admit I still have a few doubts about whether Cleverley or Anderson can really become a fixture in our midfield. But the Boss has to keep playing them in the big games because that is the only way we are going to find out if they have what it takes.

    Giggs and Scholes should be useful substitutes to have and nothing more and if they cannot accept that role then perhaps for the good of the future of the team they should step down.

    • Stephen

      10 December 2012 at 15:01

      @colver: I have no issue with Giggs and Scholes being used as squad players, they seem to be happy with that role too.
      Carrick is so vital to our midfield it is untrue. If he were to get injured for a period of time, we wouldbe in big trouble.
      I tooo amd not sure about Cleverley or Anderson for the lomg term. Amderson has one or two decent games and his fanclub come out in force. Everytime he get some sort of run together he gets injured. Clverley palyed well yesterday, but is still very inconsistant. Powell is too young, if Fergie were to be brave and bring in one midfield player in during the window I would be very pleased with the squad.
      We have be proud, we have no Vida, Nani, Anderson, Kagawa and Vally has just come back fit and we are 6 points clear, Fergie is a genius.

      • fahime shuhaime

        10 December 2012 at 16:41

        It is the right time and a good move to bring in Wesley Sneidjer into the team according to the report about him in newspaper?

        • tonymontanna4united

          10 December 2012 at 17:46

          @colver: The diamond can still work, i just think its waiting for kagawas return for us to really get the most from it.
          That’d allow us to play kagawa in his favoured position, behind the front man or men as it would be, at the tip of the diamond, with rooney and van persie ahead.
          Ideally for it to work, we could do with another midfielder to play in the midfield 3, alongside carrick sitting and one of cleverley or anderson, but wanting for another midfielder is nothing new here.
          Something like the below and i think its got a good look to it.





          Tbh though i look at the situation with kagawa and do wonder if not for the diamond, just how the hell we are going to fit the guy in because there doesnt seem to be much if any space centrally for him, so unless were eyeing up the possibility of pushing him out on the left in a free role similar to silva at city say then i dont see where hes going to get games. Which would be a dreadful bloody shame as anyone who watched him at dortmund knows what a class act the guy is, and how good he could be for us.

          @fahime shuhaime: You know, a friend of mine whose not a united fan was talkng about sneijder to me recently asking me if id want him if hes available for peanuts and tbh it did make me wonder.
          Probably the transfer muppet in me, but honestly if the guy is getting punted around for £10mish and would be prepared to lower his wages to something more sensible (hes not really in a position now to be demanding £200k) then honestly would i say no?
          Sort of divides my opinion, it would have to mean a change to sneijders game, changing himself from an attacking midfielder who likes to play in the hole, to dropping deeper in more of a deep lying playmaker role which theres no guarantee he’d want to do, but if and a big if, if he was willing to do that then honestly i think he’d be worth a punt.
          Hes still only 28, so still got a few years left in him, would bring us experience (which could be important if we do lose giggs and scholes this summer) and tbh the idea of him in that midfield diamond i had above alongside carrick and clevs, and behind kagawa,rooney and rvp is pretty orgasmic and something i think could work.
          But again that would be something that’d depend on sneijder really and whether hes willing to adapt his game to give himself another few years at the top.
          The way hes been the last year or so though, its just as likely a big pay day in the MLS and the chance to be the big fish in a small pond would appeal to him more, but again as i said that’d be the deal breaker for me.
          If hes still hungry and does genuinely want to work on getting his game back to what it was 2 years ago, then hell yeah id take him.

        • Dr S

          11 December 2012 at 16:31

          This is actually a reply to the post below from tonymontanna4united (can’t locate his reply button): the ???????? in your diamond formation is of course – Anderson!!!

          That’s a formation I would love to see play, with the wingbacks (Rafael and Evra) bombing down the touchlines.

          …wonder though, how a Powell – Chicharito top two would work, in place of Rooney – van Persie when the game is already won?

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