Match analysis: Manchester United V Manchester City (07.04.2018)
Rivalries in football offer a rare insight into the true excitement of the game. Often the football becomes trivial and the fans tribal. Despite Manchester City’s stumble against Liverpool last Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions’ League quarter final, the sky blues are storming towards the premier league championship, and wanting to get the party started, it was Manchester United that Guardiola’s team had to face down in a match that would echo the past, be remembered in history and bring with it controversy.
Paul Pogba - Should He Stay or Should He Go?
The controversy was simple: Paul Pogba, a player whose relationship with manager Jose Mourinho has been strained, was claimed to have been offered by agent Mino Raiola to the rival club. This sparked outrage on social media and one fan tweeted at the French midfielder:
“Seriously if you think you are bigger than @ManUtd then just pack your bags and go.”
With Mourhino being classically Jose about the whole situation, saying he’s 'not worried,' the match’s anticipation built against a backdrop of uncertainty.
As the match got underway, Manchester City were their brilliant selves, however it seemed that Manchester United might put up quite a fight. They began by showing why they were second place and demonstrating that perhaps, first was where they truly belonged. These hopes were seemingly quickly dashed with two first-half goals. The first was from Vincent Company, who got in front of Chris Smalling (almost exactly the same as the goal scored in 2012), and Ilkay Gundogan hitting the back of the net fifteen minutes before half time. It was noted by the commentators at this point that although Manchester United looked completely out of it, chances were coming for city to close the game but Raheem Sterling could not quite finish his chances.
As the first half came to an end, Pogba’s worth was being questioned on social media but the team that came back out of the tunnel was transformed, chasing the game with nothing to lose. As the renewed energy came back to each player in red, Paul Pogba answered his critics with two goals within two minutes of each other. Furthermore, to clench the game and send the fans into a frenzy, Chris Smalling more than made up for his costly mistake in the first half with a perfectly-positioned, right-footed strike past Ederson Moraes.
Making Up for Past Mistakes?
It might be true that Championship teams have more to win and possibly more to lose, however, the display of football in the clashing Manchester match showed that this energy could certainly be found in the Premier League, and as for Paul Pogba’s future, it seems set in a red shirt, for now.