“I think we can take down this banner soon. But we hope we can take it down this year” Roberto Mancini
I expected more pace and intensity from this derby/FA Cup semifinal match. Watching long stretches of it were like getting bludgeoned slowly with a teaspoon (dull and ponderous). The supporters were more exciting at times. The only players who had any spark in the first half were Berbatov (who was unable to convert a glorious match changing chance in the 15th minutes), Park Ji-sung and David Silva. I’m more impressed by Ji-sung every time I see him play. He has a great workrate and a knack for making things happen. I can’t shake the memory of the slinky, contorted header he scored against Arsenal in December. I was absolutely amazed to see Javier Hernandez start this match on the bench. I guess they still think he needs Rooney to be effective. Oh well…
On the flip side, David Silva is a fascinating player to watch. Every time he touched the ball, he seemed to create a dangerous, threatening opportunity for City. His movement is always so frenetically stylish and fluid. Yaya Toure’s surprisingly ace acceleration (never noticed how big and rangy he is until the slow motion replays of the goal) and deft finish finally provided some electricity, allowing City to capitalize on United’s rampant 2nd half defensive bumbling. City shifted into cruise control after that, earning their first FA Cup final berth since 1981.
Losing to their inner-city, title-drought albatross toting rivals had to really sting the Red Devils. I’m just so happy that this loss will finally quiet the ridiculous talk of United winning the treble ala 1999. They deserve credit for beating up on Chelsea in the Champions League, but I still feel that this team is a labyrinth of hype who win with funhouse mirrors and the stuttering inertia of the Arsenals of the world.
I thought that Roberto Mancini’s tactical approach to the match was superior to Sir Alex’s; an impressive piece of managing and motivation in light of City’s miserable performance at Anfield, early last week. I also thought he struck the right tone in his post match remarks.
More soon on Stoke, Serie A and the El Clasico part I.