Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United manager David Moyes already feeling the heat after derby humiliation

By Steven Beacom

Total humiliation for Manchester United. Complete embarrassment for David Moyes. But, oh, what joy and sweet satisfaction for all connected with Manchester City.

Had City not taken their foot off the pedal in the final half hour, the scoreline would have been even more emphatic.

If the first Manchester derby for Moyes turned into a nightmare, it was a dream day at the Ethiad for Manuel Pellegrini.

After a stuttering start to the Premier League, this result was the perfect pick-me-up for City fans with any doubts about the cool and calm South American, who took over from the much more volatile Roberto Mancini in the summer.

City were a colossal force. From Vincent Kompany at the back to Yaya Toure in midfield and Sergio Aguero up front the spine and spirit of the team was unbreakable.

The intensity, desire, determination and sheer pace of play produced by City at times was thrilling, though United, badly missing the injured Robin van Persie, did not help themselves one little bit.

Such was the confusion and chaos in the visiting defence at critical moments, you would have thought the back four had just been introduced at kick-off!

Right back Chris Smalling looked out of his depth, left back Patrice Evra, for all his experience, was too often out of position and frankly Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were ruthlessly outplayed by Aguero and Alvaro Negredo.

The Ferdinand/Vidic partnership has been admired for years, but a few more outings like this and surely a break-up is needed.

United's midfield couldn't compete either while Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck were just plain useless!

The only player in red anywhere close to matching City's quality was Wayne Rooney, who struck a brilliant free-kick into the net on 87 minutes.

By then City were on cruise control having roared into a 4-0 lead. Aguero's clinically executed volley on 16 minutes broke the deadlock and any weak resistance United ended at that point.

Even so early on, with City in such dominant mood, it looked a case of how many which is a dreadful indictment of United's sloppy, lacklustre efforts.

Just before the break, Toure deservedly doubled his side's lead following pitiful United defending at a corner and five minutes after the interval City had netted two more, from the electric Aguero and Samir Nasri. You know it's bad when Nasri's volleying home against you!

On the touchline Moyes fretted, his face full of frustration and fear that with 40 minutes left it could become even worse. In the end a 4-1 defeat was shameful enough.

When Sir Alex Ferguson was manager of United, City famously won 6-1 at Old Trafford a couple of years ago. United, down to 10 men for most of the second half after a red card for Jonny Evans, didn't deserve to lose 6-1 that day, but were fortunate to get away with a 4-1 hammering this time.

Back in 1989, 24 years ago to this very day, Ferguson presided over another heavy derby defeat... 5-1 at Maine Road. Four years later he went on to lead United to the title. A different era. Moyes won't get that much time, and after this, there'll be more heat on the new Old Trafford supremo.

United host Liverpool and the returning Luis Suarez in the League Cup on Wednesday. It's been a difficult run of fixtures to start his United career, with Chelsea, Liverpool and City coming so early, but even so two losses, two wins and a draw from five league games is not what was expected from Moyes.

On Wednesday he can ill afford another defeat.

Belfast Telegraph


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