By Robert Morris
A game that was built as the biggest derby match in the history of both Manchester United and Manchester City failed to live up to expectations last night, as the game finished in a 0-0 draw.
All the talk prior to kick off surrounded former Red Devil Carlos Tevez and whether or not he could shake off a minor injury to start for City. He did, and besides an injured Wayne Rooney, all the ingredients were there for an excellent match.
The game began at a slow tempo as both sides looked to settle into the match. The first half was dominated by sloppy passing and poor ball control, consequently very few openings were created. It took until the 30minute mark until the first chance fell to United. After a quick one-two between Ji Sung Park and Patrice Evra on the edge of the box, the Frenchman eventually struck a tame shot straight at Joe Hart.
City’s best chance soon followed with a set-piece taken by Carlos Tevez. Edwin Van der Sar had to be at full stretch to deny the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Both teams returned to their dressing rooms at half time, as a cagey 45minutes was brought to a close.
Unfortunately, negative tactics continued after the break. All the possession was trapped at the halfway line, with both sides adopting a safe 4-5-1 formation. A half-chance fell to Dimitar Berbatov on the hour mark but the striker could do very little but steer his volley goalwards. It’s now seven games without a goal for the Bulgarian.
United suffered two injury blows when both their full-backs Patrick Evra and Rafael da Silva had to be substituted. City made a change of their own, as Roberto Mancini replaced James Milner with Adam Johnson in a bid to grab a goal. However, Javier Hernandez and Emmanuel Adebayor both remained on the bench until very late in the game. A shame as the scrappy affair desperately needed a goal.
The best attack of the second half fell to City, however, true to form, Pablo Zabaleta’s shot was fired over the bar. There was little to shout about as the game drew to a frustrating close.
A 0-0 result then which sees Manchester United remain in second place, four points behind leaders Chelsea, whilst Manchester City stay behind Arsenal in fourth. We’ll have to wait until February 12th 2011 until these two meet again in the league at Old Trafford. Let’s hope it’s a better spectacle!