Manchester United 0 Manchester City 3 match report: Edin Dzeko double leaves United humbled and David Moyes back under pressure

Yaya Toure added a late third in comprehensive win at Old Trafford

Old Trafford

It was when the Manchester City supporters at Old Trafford turned their attention to Sir Alex Ferguson tonight that you began to realise just now profound the shift has become. City always loathed Ferguson, and he them, but even when they won their one Premier League title two years ago they knew that the old boy would come back for one last revenge mission.

Not any longer. The old dictator is gone and in his place is a United manager who does not even merit the hatred of the City fans. Instead it was another full-scale humiliation visited on David Moyes, culminating in the demand from the City fans that he be allowed to see out the remainder of his contract at United. “Five more years, five more years,” they chanted in the away end at the end, as Moyes turned on his heel and walked down the touchline for the safety of the tunnel.

The United fans have not turned on their manager, but that is about all he could take from another game in which his side were out-played and out-fought once again by a title challenger. “Fergie, Fergie, give us a wave”, they sung from the away seats as Moyes struggled to prevent yet another retreat from the standards of a club that once set the pace at this stage of the season.

 

Of course, even in United’s best years, City beat them. In the 2007-2008 season, Sven Goran-Eriksson’s team did the league double over Ferguson. But they were anomalies. This, tonight, was the real thing. One hesitates to make too certain a statement about shifts in power but there is no doubt that it will take a profound change at United for them to change the way things are going. They are a long way from retaining the status as the best team in Manchester, never mind England.

Edin Dzeko turns in his, and City's, second goal Edin Dzeko turns in his, and City's, second goal Edin Dzeko’s two goals and another from Yaya Toure were a relatively modest margin of victory when one took into account the boldness of City’s start and their goal within the first minute. United did indeed get their act together after the first half an hour and created a couple of chances before the break. But when Dzeko volleyed in his second goal ten minutes after half-time it felt simply like the game was heading towards its natural conclusion.

Read more: Ferguson feels the wrath of United fans
Rooney admits Old Trafford 'fear factor' has gone
Moyes has 'made a couple of signings that haven't worked out' - Scholes

The expectation with United will always be that they have something in the tank. That they never give up. That a bold substitution and a roar from the Stretford End will see them over the line. But the spell is broken these days and now they lose 3-0 at home the same way as every other mediocre club.

As for City, they looked the part. Conducted in midfield in brilliant fashion by the magisterial David Silva, the win places them second, above Liverpool and three points behind Chelsea with two games in hand over the leaders. A victory over their old rivals does not carry the currency it once had but it still matters deeply. They are scoring freely too in a title race when the margins of victory will be slim.

In the Sky Sports studio, Paul Scholes, did not spare his former team-mates. The man who was reluctant to offer an opinion over a glorious career, proved scathing in front of the cameras. “City were far better than us,” he said. “You could tell which one was on for the league and which team was seventh. It was glaringly obvious.”

Read more: Manchester United 0 Manchester City 3 match report
Comment: Cleverley way out of his depth
Dzeko: Win was crucial for Premier League title hopes

It was not a promising start when Moyes selected Tom Cleverley as part of a tight midfield three that left the right-side unguarded. Presumably it was done with City’s central midfield strength in mind but it left United badly lopsided and Cleverley himself too often in no-man’s land. With Antonio Valencia on the substitutes’ bench, and Adnan Januzaj and Ryan Giggs left out the squad altogether, it looked like Moyes was more preoccupied with bolting the back door.

David Moyes issues instructions from the sideline David Moyes issues instructions from the sideline As it was, the back door was left wide open. It started about as badly as Moyes could have imagined, and he has seen a few worst-case scenarios in eight months in the job. Dzeko popped the ball into the United net on 43 seconds, after Samir Nasri’s shot had hit the post.

Even worse for United, was that it was not City’s first chance of the game. That fell to Silva who crept through the United defence in the first few seconds with the kind of authority that made his opponents freeze. Fortunately for Moyes, Rafael came to his senses and made the intervention. From his tackle the ball went from Fernandinho, to Dzeko and onto Nasri for the shot that made the goal.

For a while it looked like this could be the worst yet for United, completely overrun in midfield and with Silva the dominant figure in a very dominant City midfield, Michael Carrick gave the ball away to Jesus Navas on nine minutes and from there it went to Silva who was dispossessed by Rio Ferdinand. That tackle rescued United. So too, another excellent save from De Gea from Dzeko on 18 minutes.

As United got to grips with that early storm from City it matured into a decent game in the first half. Although there were times when the three of Marouane Fellaini, Cleverley and Carrick looked crushed, Ferdinand offered some stability. On the right wing, Danny Welbeck looked the part although he was not on the ball enough for United. But they faltered after the break.

For United’s possession, they were held at bay by a City side that pressed and hustled them at every opportunity. The home side only carved out two chances before the break. The first, a volley from Fellaini after Welbeck knocked on Carrick’s cross, never looked like it would trouble Joe Hart. Juan Mata’s shot from Rafael’s cross on 40 minutes was carelessly inaccurate.

There were four bookings before the break, although how Rooney escaped one for his foul on Fernandinho in the latter stages of the half remains a mystery. Had Michael Oliver decided to dismiss Fellaini for ramming a forearm into the face of Pablo Zabaleta in the 30th minute, there could have been no complaints from United. It was a misjudgement indicative of the struggles that the pnds27.5m man was having adapting to the level required of him.

Scholes was withering in his verdict on Fellaini. “I expected more to be honest,” he said. “You pay that amount of money for a midfielder and you expect a few more goals.“ Ouch, and from one of the few at Old Trafford whose credentials to judge this team are unimpeachable.

Moyes brought on Shinji Kagawa for the hapless Cleverley at half-time, but out on the right wing he has little effect. Dzeko got away from Ferdinand, partly blocked by Fellaini, to score at the near post from Nasri’s corner for the second goal. With barely a chance worthy of the mention from the home team, apart from a flick by Welbeck, Toure drilled in the third in the last minute. It was the first time since 1972 that City have won three consecutive games at Old Trafford. Another unwelcome milestone for Moyes.

Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Cleverley, Fellaini, Carrick; Mata, Rooney, Welbeck.

Subs: Kagawa/Cleverley ht, Valencia/Fellaini 66, Hernandez/Welbeck 77

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Clichy; Fernandino, Toure; Navas, Silva, Nasri; Dzeko.

Subs: Garcia/Navas 68, Milner/Nasri 74, Negredo/Dzeko 79

Booked: Manchester United Welbeck, Fellaini Manchester City Kompany, Fernandinho

Rating: 7

Man of the match: Silva

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
football
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
weird news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?