Five things we learned from the Manchester derby

Manchester City Etihad 2

City put Premier League champions United to the sword 4-1 on Sunday, in a statement of intent by Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Manchester City put in their strongest performance of the new season on Sunday, beating local rivals Manchester United 4-1 in a commanding performance.

With both sides having new managers at the helm, the hosts took an early season initiative in the battle for the Premier League title and ensured bragging rights for the blue side of Manchester.

Here are five things that became apparent in the clash.

Vincent Kompany transforms City from good to exceptional

It is an obvious statement to say that the giant Belgian centre-half improves City as a team when he plays, but the hosts looked like a completely different proposition from the side that was beaten at Cardiff and toiled to victory over Hull.

Kompany’s awareness, defensive solidarity and communication were all prevalent in City’s win, but his presence increased the confidence of the team as a collective. Had Javi Garcia been alongside Matija Nastasic instead of the skipper, City would have been a different team.

United have real problems on the flanks

Despite lifting the Premier League crown last season, all of United’s wingers were below-par over the course of the campaign. Sunday’s defeat will have failed to inspire much newfound confidence after limp showings by Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.

Young has not recovered any of the form that earned him a move to Old Trafford since debilitating injuries, and was a figure for the travelling support’s disdain. Valencia, usually dependable when turning towards his own goal, failed to track Aleksandar Kolarov on a number of occasions and posed no threat against the Serbian in the final third.

Pellegrini’s attacking options as good as any in Europe

With four top-class forwards to pick from, Jesus Navas starting to acclimatise to life in England and Samir Nasri looking rejuvenated, Pellegrini has a wealth of talent to pick from in attack.

With David Silva injured also, City are ready to challenge on all fronts this term. The Etihad Stadium side are the top scorers in the Premier League after five games and will terrorise rearguards in England and on the continent all-season long.

City’s spine much stronger than United’s

The core of City’s side won them the game against their rivals, with important players in key areas standing up and being counted against the champions. From Joe Hart, the inspirational Kompany, man-of-the-match Yaya Toure and the mercurial Sergio Aguero, the centre of City’s side won the personal battles.

United in comparison looked frail. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic failed to replicate Kompany’s dominance, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini were outmuscled by their opposite numbers and without Robin van Persie United were not the same attacking force.

Wayne Rooney set to have a big season

Although the England international missed a gilt-edged chance half-way through the second 45 minutes, he never stopped trying and was the visitors only encouraging player in the game.

A sublime free-kick consolation showed the forward’s technical ability and with United in a real battle to retain their title, Rooney’s aggression and will to win could be essential.

image: © geetarchurchy

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