Manchester United 1 – 6 Manchester City.

In the past, I would have absolutely delighted in this result.  However, the cynic in me observes yet more evidence that in order to challenge for the title, one needs ownership with deep pockets and no business acumen.  Arsenal were forced to sell Samir Nasri to Man City because there was no chance in hell Arsenal could match the wage offer of City, which I’ve read as four to five times what Arsenal offered in their contract extension.

And Nasri started on the bench against United.

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  • good thing i wasn’t waiting until later to watch, although it was a painful morning.

    full marks to man city, although methinks the bbc writeup attached here is just a touch breathless (city sure as hell didn’t look like a sure winner to me on an against the run of play goal in the first half; they didn’t even look like a sure winner until the second goal with the man down).

    the one thing i never thought it’d see a ferguson-coached team was simply quit on the game, but over the last 5 minutes plus extra time, as man city piled up the last 3 goals, that’s exactly how man u looked….

    and yes, you ain’t gonna win the premier league (or the champions league) on the cheap….

  • I was rooting for a nil(lionaire)-nil(lionaire) draw.

  • Wenger said that Nasri left for the money. I’m inclined to agree.

    • Bill Murray

      he might’ve wanted a chance at a winner’s medal in something this season

      • I find that argument more compelling with Fabregas, less so with Nasri. I tend to be dubious about athletes motivations when their family members (in Nasri’s case it’s his father) manage their careers.

        Fabregas also stuck it out with Arsenal far longer.

        • dave brockington

          With Fabregas, only one club could possibly lure him away from Arsenal, and that’s Barca, for both personal / emotional reasons as well as the little bit where they’re simply great. As an Arsenal supporter (they’ve always been my English side), I do not hold that move against him in the slightest. Nasri? A mercenary, period. If it wasn’t Man City, it could have been Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U, Inter, Juve, Real Madrid: any monied club that could flash him the cash. To put his motivations in perspective, ten years ago, he’d have been off to Leeds.

  • wengler

    Understated here is the fact that Man United also pays its players a pretty penny.

    You forgot to note also that Carlos Tevez makes 400,000 a week and they may just pay and bench him indefinitely for the shit he pulled in Munich.

    Also COYS!

    • MAJeff

      I kind of love the fact that Tevez is completely benched. Hell, ship him to a club team in Ho Chi Minh City or something and see how many times he refuses to go on the pitch….

  • Stag Party Palin

    Arsenal is my club (as much as an ex-colonialist can have an English club) but I don’t blame Nasri for following the money. Money buys trophies, money gets more money, and money is the way you keep score. That’s why they call it “professional”. And I am weak, so weak. To root for a professional sports team requires the same cognitive dissonance that the Tea Party grows in Kansas.

    I do have advice for Man U however. See how much you can get for Rooney and use the money to buy some cheerleaders. American cheerleaders from below the Mason-Dixon line. Dress ’em up in those sexy plaid skirts (the kind that schoolgirls wear that look as if they [un]fasten with a giant safety pin) and set ’em loose. It’s been a bad weekend for the Glazers and this might cheer them up. And it would cheer me up to see Rooney go the Elbonian second division.

    • wengler

      Your Gooners have money they just refuse to spend it under Uncle Arsene’s development program. Emirates stadium is a big place after all, and they raise prices on tickets every year.

      • And can you really blame them? With the BPL now demanding more home-grown players, the price of importing a player is substantially higher since you’ve squeezed the field of candidates down to those who can make an immediate impact. Somewhere, you need to develop talent that you can bring along to the club.

        City played a pretty impressive game against a Utd club that appears to be unravelling a bit after a really strong start (8-2 against Arsenal, at the Emirates). Granted both Song and Sagna were unavailable for that game, but Utd took apart Arsenal in ways no man should be forced to watch.

        • as a man u fan, to see the team win 8-2 over arsenal and lose 6-1 to man city is about as big a swing in a few weeks as is imaginable.

          actor212, interestingly, i was saying to my fellow man u fan about 20 minutes in the match yesterday it’s not like i thought tom cleverly was instantly paul scholes, but there’s no question (whether it’s sample size, opposition, or reality) that the attack functioned better when he rather than fletcher was paired with anderson….

          more seriously, it would be nice if rio and vidic could, you know, actually play a few games together, since the defensive record in terms of goals allowed is far superior the last few years when they are both on the field.

        • Josh

          The 8-2 win over Arsenal was at Old Trafford, not the Emirates.

  • MikeN

    As a fourth generation die-hard United fan I ended up watching this with massive indifference.
    I find myself rooting for anyone outside the top 4 or 5.

    Either go for a real European Premier League or put some of those socialist American programmes in place.

    • wengler

      The Champions League is close enough in my mind, and I always go for Wolves and Fulham along with Spurs.

    • Bill Murray

      well the EPL’s American owners are trying to remove the promotion/relegation system.

      • dave brockington

        I was tempted to write about that bit of insanity, but then I am quietly confident that it won’t happen in my lifetime. Yes, a rare moment of optimism from me.

        • Bill Murray

          I pretty much agree it isn’t likely to happen very soon, but they are already half way to the votes they need, and a few of the lower half strugglers would probably not be amiss to guaranteeing their future in the EPL, much like one of the Italian giants (AC Milan or Juventus IIRC) wanted to be guaranteed a spot in the Champions league because they were such a big name team.

  • A less than fully meaningful scoreline. City scored 3 times in the final 3 minutes, and United had gone down a man earlier in the half. But yeah, they’ve got tons of money. Love Balotelli’s stats= averaging almost 0.5 yellow cards and 0.5 goals an appearance. Mercurial does’t even begin to describe it.

    • Bill Murray

      I don’t think it is ever a good sign when a team quits, although Sir Alex may throw enough teacups to get the Red Devils to have a little heart

      • pete

        I didn’t see the debacle, but the way I read the reports (and Fergie’s comments) it’s not so much that United quit as they kept trying to score even with a man down and the game lost, so those last 3 goals confuse the issue (and make the goal difference much worse). In a way, the instinct not to pack the defense is rather admirable even if it blew up badly this time. Also, this may move the youth transition along even faster, which would be good. Sorry, Rio …

        • pete, 6-1 isn’t an accurate reflection of the game as such, but while it’s true that man u was willing to try and score late and not simply leave it at 3-1, it’s also true that basically no one – i mean no one! – from the attacking end of the field got back to try and defend as man city was on a breakaway.

          • Rooney went ballistic at one point over that, if I recall.

        • Bill Murray

          Well on at least four of the goals United played basically no defense and at least two of these were from moves starting fairly deep in the United defensive half, so they were back and just didn’t respond to any City movement off the ball

          • bill murray, that was certainly true earlier in the match, but the last 3 goals, which were the ones i was referencing, all began with man city getting the ball in its own end and breaking right down the middle of the field….

          • That makes sense at 3-1, with less than five minutes in regulation, but as soon as goal 4 was scored, there’s no point in trying to pull off another miracle. You drop back, acknowledge you lost and run the clock and hope no one gets injured.

            • except, actor212, that goal differential is a tie-breaker for the premier league; that’s the reason you don’t want to see one of your two leading competitors pick up 3 goals in the last few minutes.

              in the sports we all know, of course, scoring differential is for stat geeks, not titles, and of course what you said makes sense in that context.

              but not when you could lose the title because you let go of the last few minutes of the match.

              • True, but how often does the EPL title come down to goal differential?

                Relegation, that I can see, because miserable teams are miserable but the top of the tables?

                • howard

                  actor212, strictly speaking you’re right, although there have been several seasons where it was a very closely run thing and could easily have.

                  so that by itself is still sufficient in my mind, particularly when we are talking about a team whose reputation has been built by playing 90-minute games time after time.

                  especially, as someone noted above, on top of some shoddy defending earlier in the match when it still mattered….

                • In fairness to Utd, they were down a man and probably exhausted from trying to get the first goal.

                • Richard Elgar

                  Check out the last game of the 1988/89 season. Liverpool vs. Arsenal.

                • Richard Elgar

                  of course, that was pre-EPL days, but still…

                • dave brockington

                  Exactly what I was thinking, Richard. A classic match. And of course, my “other” team, Celtic . . . in the past ten years the league has come down to goal differential three times. Not this year, sadly . . .

    • joejoejoe

      Balotelli is crazy. He reminds me a bit of baseball player Manny Ramirez.

  • Wonder if Rooney’s starting to think he should have listened to his agent after all…

    • leinad, let’s see: man u won the premier league last season. they lost the finals in the champion’s league to one of the greatest club teams in soccer history.

      this year, he’s surrounded with younger players, unlike, say, chelsea and its rapidly aging nucleus, and the team is built around his multiple skills.

      no, i don’t think he would have been better off somewhere else….

  • Anything that makes Sir Alex cry is a good thing.

  • scott

    Silva is the key to City in my book. He keeps things ticking along, doing it himself, finding the right pass, and Man U has nobody like him. For all of Saffy’s brave talk about how he doesn’t need Wesley Sneijder, I think he needs somebody like him. The absence of Vidic was another problem, and I still can’t figure out why they started Evans at the back who’s well-known for his howlers instead of Jones, who’s looked very solid.

    • howard

      scott, i have been astonished that ferguson has stood by evans up until now – i thought he’d already be gone this season – and i suspect, after that pathetic red card yesterday, that it may be a while before we see evans again….

  • SEK

    I’m just going to register my annoyance at Nasri riding the bench as often as he has: he’s more fun than anyone on the planet to watch for those four minutes a match he decides to do his Messi impersonation, and I’ve basically been deprived of seeing such all season.

    • He wouldn’t be riding the bench at the Emirates.

      • SEK

        My point exactly!

      • scott

        Neither would Cesc (sigh).

        • Some of us still haven’t forgiven him for the backheel in the UCL game against Barca…

      • Richard Elgar

        Sometimes he would have started on the bench. He had a very good first half of the season last year, but after his injury never quite seemed committed enough, and nor consistent enough – which is why he’s not an automatic starter at Man Shitty. I guess that’s what the smell of money does for people like Cashri (a la Cashley a few years ago, nearly crashing his car in disgust at being only offered £55k a week or so on his new contract)

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