Heroes & Villains: Thrills and spills from the Manchester derby
Manchester City, 7/2 to win the Premier League, made it four straight wins against rivals Manchester United, after Sergio Aguero grabbed the only goal. We at Coral take a look at the heroes and villains from the game.
The Argentine attacker was lively throughout, and was in the right place at the right time to dispatch from six yards. He still had a lot to do, and his left foot finish did well to beat David de Gea. His strike means that the 26-year-old is now top scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals.
A solid match at left back from the 29-year-old, whose energetic presence gave makeshift right back Antonio Valencia something to think about all game. It was his run and cut-back from the by-line that set the goal up for Aguero, and the Frenchman showed great invention to initiate that move.
The England number one stood his ground as United pressed forward in the final period to deny Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie, though all game he communicated well with his defence as City kept their rivals out. Growing in confidence all the time, he is gradually getting back to his best, and gave a mature performance here.
No prizes for guessing why. Two needless yellow cards in the space 10 first half minutes led the 24-year-old to being sent off, and deliberately ignored by the United management team as he made his way down the tunnel. His actions significantly weakened an already makeshift defence. Smalling has incurred the wrath of his manager Louis van Gaal, and it’s only fitting that a Red Devil was the real villain of the piece.
Another error of judgement from another United defender. An over-exuberant dive into a challenge on Martin Demichelis had the Argentine on the floor, having damaged his shoulder. Subsequently stretchered off, United’s defence became paper-thin as youngster Paddy McNair entered the fray to replace him.
A chance fell to the Belgian late on to equalise the match, a free header no less, from eight yards out. The 26-year-old got it all wrong, misjudging where the goal was, and couldn’t even get it on target, as the ball went bizarrely wide. Fellaini continues to be a Jekyll and Hyde figure, and his performance here was certainly more like the former.