Smalling sees red as Blues confirm local dominance
FA Premier League
Sunday 02 November 2014, 13.30 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Toure, Milner (Nasri 69), Navas, Jovetic (Dzeko 70), Aguero (Fernandinho 83)
Unused: Caballero, Sagna, Boyata, Sinclair
Goals: Aguero (62)
Booked: Demichelis, Zabaleta, Fernando
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany
After recent poor performances in both the Premier League and Capital One Cup, it was time for City to host their biggest rivals, as Manchester United headed to The Etihad. It was an enthralling game, which featured a red card, three penalty appeals, as well as an incompetent refereeing performance.
It was a vital game for City, who in the last few days had been branded both "arrogant" and "on the brink of a crisis". They responded to those comments in the best way possible, confirming their superiority by dominating their rivals.
United started the game on the front foot, but City stepped up a gear with Milner and Aguero causing the United back line all sorts of problems. United at times were unable to cope with the quick dynamic movement and intricate football.
City's dominance in the game was rewarded when Chris Smalling was sent off for a second bookable offence. The United centre half rashly fouled Milner on the edge of the box, leaving referee Michael Oliver no choice but to award a second yellow card. City asserted control of the game, but were left increasingly frustrated after they were denied two stonewall penalties. Tthe first was a trip by Marouane Fellaini on Aguero, and the second challenge was even more clear cut, as Marcos Rojo brought down Yaya Toure as the Ivorian seemed certain to score. The United defender would have been shown a straight red card had the penalty been given, and Oliver bottled the decision.
City again started the second half on the front foot, and were frustrated once more after Aguero was again brought down by Fellaini in the box,. The Blues, however, weresoon rewarded for their patience and dominance as Aguero finished a lovely sweeping move to put the hosts 1-0 up. Toure's pass split the United defence, and Gael Clichy pulled the ball back perfectly for Aguero to convert.
United responded well, forcing Hart to make a couple of good of saves to deny Robin Van Persie and Di Maria, but City held on and secured a vital win. Their fourth successive derby victory was further assertion that is the Blues who are currently the dominant force in Manchester.