How Manchester United dismantled City

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Updated: April 12, 2015
KompanyManchester United finally broke their derby hoodoo against Man City with a 4-2 demolition, with the stars revived under Van Gaal shining again.  The unlocking of this fixture most clearly came from the much-debated Moyes-era players whose future was in doubt at the start of the campaign.

Ashley Young was United’s stand-out player, providing a goal and two assists, but Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata were also key in outplaying the Blues after a nervy start.

The Left Side

Last week against Villa the breakthrough came from United’s ability to exploit the left channel and it was a Blind-Young combination that should have been expected by City this time around.

After an equaliser with a stroke of luck from Ashley Young, this channel was exploited perfectly to get the ball into the danger man Fellaini, who seems to have found the aggression going forward that he used to terrorise United on the opening day of the season playing for Everton in 2012.

Exploiting the Width

 
Again this week, United built from out wide and saw experienced fullbacks Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy torn to pieces. Daley Blind and Ashley Young ran them both ragged this afternoon and forced them into positional mistakes, one of which allowed Fellaini the room to score.

Mata Thriving

 
After the struggle since his signing to find his best position, Mata now looks to be essential to the starting eleven, weaving through defences and providing two cool finishes past Mignolet and Hart in the two biggest games of this half of the season.

Super De Gea
For the umpteenth time, De Gea’s brilliance at the back provided the springboard for United to progress.  An early one-on-one save against Navas, a length-of-the-pitch key pass for Young’s goal and razor-sharp awareness intercepting forward balls from the opposition all combined to form the solid base from which United were able to disseminate their rivals.

The Blues’ Blues

City’s petulance and inability to track back were again significant in their downfall, and lessons from Crystal Palace and their other string of defeats this season still have not been learned, but the United stars whose futures looked in doubt back in August have proved essential to a string of six incredible victories.

With Old Trafford bouncing again, and the bench populated with talent that we all previously thought would start ahead of the current eleven, it seems Van Gaal has found a team that can get the Theatre of Dreams believing again.  Suddenly, just finishing fourth is no longer the priority.

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