Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Derby Day Duel.

Man United versus Man City a derby that will not only give one of the teams local bragging rights but will go a long way in deciding who will finish higher in the league this season.

For ages, it seemed that City had all but nailed the runners-up spot, but after recent results against struggling Burnley and Crystal Palace, the momentum has shifted and now their place is under threat from both United and Arsenal.

United will go into the match with their tails up and full of confidence after winning their last five league games. In that run, they have all but distinguished the chances of Spurs and Liverpool finishing above them.

It has to be said that the way the team has played recently has been a joy to watch. The attacking flair of old has returned but more importantly the side seems to be more comfortable and confident in their play.

I will admit that during the season, I have been critical at times of some of the tactical decisions made by the manager, especially the formations and players being made to play out of position.

Having said that, I will hold my hands up and admit that he seems to have found a winning system that the players look to be enjoying. One wonders where we would be if this had been realised sooner though.

A number of the players can hold their heads up high over the last few months, Blind, Mata, Rooney, Herrera and Fellaini all deserve the accolades, but there is one player whom I would pick out for special attention, and that is Ashley Young.

Young has been a much-needed breath of fresh air on the left since playing in his preferred position as a winger. Although he never let the side down as a wing back it is great to see him running at the defenders and delivering some sumptuous crosses. His late winner against Newcastle summed up how important he is to the side.

At the back, the defence looks more assured than at previous times this season with Valencia, Blind and Rojo being joined by either Jones or Smalling.

It's no coincidence that David de Gea has had less to do recently between the sticks. Daley Blind at left back is playing in such an assured fashion that Luke Shaw will have his work cut out to regain his place.

Michael Carrick has shown his usual composure in the center of midfield, which has allowed the Spanish duo of Mata and Herrera to strut their stuff with outstanding results. Having been given the freedom to use their creativity, they have certainly illuminated United's attacking play.

Up front, in the past United would have missed the threat of Dutch striker Robin van Persie, but now Rooney is banging in the goals, and in spectacular fashion having been restored to his rightful place. He has been assisted by Fellaini, who has given the team an extra dimension to their playing style.

Fellaini, now there's a player who has turned his United career completely on its head.

Let's not forget we have a certain Argentinian playmaker up our sleeves, Angel Di Maria. With ten assists in the league so far he could still prove to be our top trump in the final push for Champions League qualification.

So, it's onto the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. A match which United will go into as favourites. As long as Louis van Gaal sticks with the winning formula and with home advantage, I am full of confidence.

But as they say form counts for nothing in these games.

We will see.

Thanks for reading.

Miles Dunton.