EPL: Hail the heroes

EPL: Hail the heroes



(Edin Dzeko 1, 56, Yaya Toure 90)


The main thrust of Pellegrini's game plan was to overpower Manchester United with pace.

And he hit the nail right on the head.

United's lack of mobility has been exposed on numerous occasions this season.

Liverpool stretched them to the hilt during their recent 3-0 victory at Old Trafford.

City themselves pulled it off in this season's first Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium, where they emerged 4-1 winners.

Pellegrini (right) targeted United's left side. Central to the Chilean manager's plan was the deployment of the speedy Jesus Navas on the right flank, where his link-up play with David Silva was the source of United's misery in the opening stages.

City flew out of the traps and placed them under intense pressure.

United, overwhelmed by the dynamic attack, and perhaps surprised by the early show of intent, crumbled in a mere 43 seconds.

The move started with Navas playing a ball to Yaya Toure in the middle, and ended with Edin Dzeko tapping the ball into an empty net after Samir Nasri had hit the post.

United's defence simply couldn't cope.

One play during the 41st minute illustrated just how tormented United were on that flank.

Silva, Navas and Toure congregated to form a mobile triangle of one-touch football amid limited space, confusing every man in red with their quick feet and even quicker thinking.

But that first goal killed United off.

David Moyes sat back, then reacted.

But Pellegrini seized the initiative.

The Red Devils were found out. Yet again.


The City defence, led by Kompany, did everything right.

It helped that United struggled to sustain any sort of pressure on a backline which also featured a pair of outstanding fullbacks - Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy.

But Kompany (left) stood out.

He was walking a tightrope for much of the game after being booked for a body-check on Danny Welbeck in the 13th minute.

Yet, it didn't affect his performance one bit, as he continued to keep a tight leash on Wayne Rooney and gang.

The Belgian made several good clearances and put in a couple of important blocks in his penalty box.

He was also a threat at set-pieces, and nearly set up a goal in the 52nd minute when he flicked the ball towards Fernandinho, who could only head the ball over the bar.

Intelligent, brave and composed, Kompany is just the kind of skipper and defender United need.

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