Peter Fraser uses Opta data to take an in-depth look at Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, where a stunning City performance tore a Van Persie-less United to shreds
By Peter Fraser - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsPeteF. Last Updated: 24/09/13 4:51pm
Sergio Aguero scored twice against United with two technically excellent volleys
Much will be made of the fact Manchester United were missing Robin van Persie through injury during Sunday's sensational derby humiliation at the hands of Manchester City but that would be an insult to the outstanding performance of the home team at the Etihad Stadium.
From the defensive organisation of fit-again captain Vincent Kompany, to the midfield purpose and goalscoring of Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, along with the finishing of Sergio Aguero - Manuel Pellegrini's City were superb in their manager's derby debut.
United, in contrast, were decimated and have now taken just seven points from their opening five Premier League games. It was always going to be a tough start when also hosting Chelsea and a trip to Liverpool but the pressure is unquestionably on David Moyes after his painful own first taste of the derby.
Here, Peter Fraser uses Opta statistics to pick apart City's crushing 4-1 victory and looks at what went wrong for an annihilated United in the biggest setback so far of the defending champions' post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Man City v Man United starting line-ups
Van Persie was missing from the United squad for the eagerly anticipated derby in what was a huge blow for the visitors at the Etihad. The prolific Dutchman's name was conspicuous by its absence due to a groin injury as the teams were announced, with his place being taken by Danny Welbeck. Van Persie was not even among the substitutes while Ashley Young was also included in the side for Shinji Kagawa.
1 - Today will be the first time Robin van Persie has missed a PL game since March 5 2011; a run of 90 matches. Absent.- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 22, 2013
City made just one change from the side who launched their Champions League campaign with victory over Viktoria Plzen in midweek, with striker Alvaro Negredo replacing Edin Dzeko. That meant captain Kompany kept his place having only returned from injury in the European win last Tuesday.
Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck: The England internationals were stunned by City
Where it was won and lost
City had a clear intent to not let United settle into the game and they were full of intensity from kick-off. They enjoyed a 70.6 per cent dominance of possession in the opening 15 minutes and pushed United deep into their own territory while at the same time focusing their attacks on the left-hand side.
City made a blistering start in the first 15 minutes, dominating possession and focusing on the left
This exact tactic led to Aguero's opening goal, which had manager Pellegrini punching the air in delight on the touchline. Antonio Valencia was presumably selected by United for his work ethic and defensive commitment on the right of United's attacking players. But he switched off in the 16th minute to let Aleksandar Kolarov overlap Nasri and cross for Aguero to supply a sublime, volleyed finish.
City's opening goal included superb overlapping run from Aleksandar Kolarov (13) from Nasri's (8) pass
City continued to enjoy themselves with a majority share of possession and they produced nine shots in the opening quarter of the game, with United failing to manage one. United undoubtedly caused themselves problems throughout their ineffective performance but likewise the purpose and power of City was immense.
"Manchester City have been outstanding in all departments. Matching up man-to-man, they have totally dominated Manchester United. The intricacy of their play and the spirit and desire at the back to win tackles has been lovely to watch at times"
Niall Quinn Quotes of the week
Man of the match Yaya Toure and the rejuvenated Nasri, who was also superb in the midweek win over Plzen, were significant factors in City's excellent first half. Toure touched the ball 43 times, won all of his two duels and played 38 passes, the most of any player on the pitch, at a pass success rate of 86.8%. He also scored City's second goal on the stroke of half-time after a defensive lapse from Marouane Fellaini, who lost his man. Likewise, Nasri touched the ball 46 times, which was the most of any man on either side in the first half.
For United, although they saw an increase in possession in the 10 minutes before half-time - with the possession stats at the break reading only a 54.7% majority for City - there were familiar signs from their season. They had the ball in central areas but Michael Carrick and Fellaini were failing to dictate play. Carrick won possession (10) and had more touches (95) than any other player over the course of the game. But as Sky Sports' Gary Neville identified in co-commentary, there were "too many straight passes". Fellaini was supposed to improve this area after taking Tom Cleverley's place in the team but there was little impact against City.
Carrick (l) and Fellaini (r) were guilty of playing too many straight passes without angles to hurt City
Carrick and Fellaini were failing to play the ball at any angles which would test City's line of defence and this in turn allowed the home side to keep their shape and mean Wayne Rooney, who looked a frustrated figure, had to drop deep in search of the ball. Young was also guilty of a dire performance, with only eight successful passes before half-time.
Sky Sports' Niall Quinn said at the interval: "Manchester City have been outstanding in all departments. Matching up man-to-man, they have totally dominated Manchester United. The intricacy of their play and the spirit and desire at the back to win tackles has been lovely to watch at times. They deservedly lead 2-0."
Yaya Toure: The midfielder was the man of the match and was a powerhouse in the centre of midfield
United were, of course, missing Van Persie but Welbeck was having to work off scraps in place of the influential Dutchman as the lone striker. It is difficult to imagine whether Van Persie would have been able to do any better. Welbeck touched the ball just 15 times in the first half, which was the same as City goalkeeper Joe Hart and that provided a microcosm of the game.
'City must stay calm'
Vincent Kompany insists it is too early to say whether Manchester City's 4-1 win over United is a defining game. For more, click here.
Little changed immediately after half-time, when City made it 3-0 in a goal which was spookily similar to the first, with Valencia guilty of allowing Kolarov to overlap with a decoy run. Nasri had the room to cross for Negredo who in turn centred the ball for Aguero to finish with another volley after running off the back of Fellaini. It could be argued deadline-day signing Fellaini is not yet up to speed with United's defensive tactics unlike City's summer signings, who all arrived early in the window.
If midfield effectiveness had been a boxing contest, the United coaching staff would surely have thrown in the towel given the way their side were being pulled apart. Again United's midfield was non-existent as City made it 4-0 in the 50th minute. Nasri scored the goal but Kompany took the credit after winning the ball on the edge of his box and feeding it to Jesus Navas before running the length of the pitch to create the space in United's box.
Vincent Kompany won the ball on the edge of his own box to help set up City's fourth goal
It was a reflection of Kompany's overall performance. The Belgian may have only just returned from injury but he hardly gave Rooney or Welbeck a sniff of the ball. At the final whistle, Kompany had won five of his six duels, made 12 clearances - four times more than his closest team-mate - and had gained possession on nine occasions.
Moyes responded to going 4-0 down by sending on Cleverley in place of the hugely ineffective Young. The poor performance of Young can also be attributed to the fact he was facing Pablo Zabaleta, who underlined his reputation as the best right-back in the division after a superb 10 tackles overall, which was more than double any other player on the pitch.
But the introduction of Cleverley made little impact. With three in central midfield, United saw a bit more of the ball. However, the key to City's success were the influential performances throughout their team, with Kompany, Toure, Nasri and Aguero, who was typically clinical with two goals from his only two shots in the game, all absolutely superb.
Rooney would at least give United, who have another tough match on Wednesday when Liverpool visit Old Trafford in the Capital One Cup, something to cheer with less than five minutes of normal time remaining when his wonderful, curling free-kick was out of reach of Hart. The goal was Rooney's 11th in a Manchester derby to mean he is now the highest scorer in the fixture's history. But landmarks and consolations will mean little to Moyes as he worries about any potential lasting hangover among his squad from their derby embarrassment.
"We went 4-0 up and Manchester United did not have a really clear chance apart from a beautiful free-kick by Rooney and one corner. We have been playing irregular in other games but it is normal in this moment of the season. This was a high test today and the players had a great answer."
We did not play well - they were better. They started much stronger and much quicker than us. But we will get better - it is a long season to go. We will put this behind us and move on. I thought Manchester City were very good. We were not but City started the game really well.
"What we have seen today is a performance worthy of the Premier League and to be fair I think Manchester City have set the standard for everybody else. I do not think you can even say that United were bad - they just got driven back by Toure, by Kompany. It was just a brilliant performance from City."
Toure was the man of the match after a midfield performance of strength and skill which ranks among his very best. But Kompany gave another reminder of what City have been missing in his injury-enforced absence while Nasri and Zabaleta were also key men. Young will likely want to forget his match having been selected ahead of the popular Kagawa.
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- Souness: City must do more
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- Van Gaal has 'good feeling'
- Pellegrini denies pressure
- Van Gaal: Rooney will play
- Silva misses Manchester derby
- Elano open to England return
- Hart ready for 'special' derby
- Hart: Pellegrini knows best
- What’s happened to Yaya Toure?
- Picking up the pieces
- Rooney: Just not good enough
- Aguero: This was a team win
- Moyes: Not strong enough
- Raising the bar
- Kompany: City must stay calm
- Rampant City rip open United