By Rasheed Abu Bakar
With twenty minutes to go and the score tied at 1-1, Roberto Mancini summoned Sergio Aguero while Alex Ferguson chewed more gum and kept faith in his starting eleven.
Seven minutes into his introduction, Aguero bossed his way through the United defense and slammed home the winner past United’s Player of the Month, David De Gea.
Five Build-To-Order (BTO) flats could have been built in the space that Aguero was given - shocking considering United’s recent defensive displays. Ferguson did bring on Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez eventually but it was too little too late. And just like that, City cut United’s lead to just twelve points with seven games remaining.
Yes, it’s a monumental task for Mancini’s men if they were to win it again this season but United’s recent jaded look is a big worry.
I have unimaginable respect for the boss but his “if you look at our history, we like to do things the hard way” stance is starting to irritate me. The fact that we didn’t trouble Joe Hart even with Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck on the field is worrying.
After slim wins over Reading and Sunderland and the FA Cup loss to Chelsea, I expected United to go all out and seal the League title as soon as possible. Unfortunately, City were by far the better team on the night. They looked very composed moving forward and United’s attackers did little to bother Vincent Kompany and company.
It’s obvious that the loss to Real Madrid has badly damaged the confidence in Ferguson’s squad. There is no doubt we have match winners and world class stars but the mental strength is somewhat missing. Another glaring absence is, Creativity
Ferguson often talks up his Samurai star, Shinji Kagawa in his interviews but the AFC Asian Player of the Year was only given two minutes to help salvage a result. Kagawa is the closest thing we have to a playmaker in the squad. I’ve followed the Japanese quite abit when he was playing in the Bundesliga and can safely say he’s got that magic wand United so desperately need.
Whether Ferguson left Kagawa out because of City’s giant, Yaya Toure, or his lack of confidence in Kagawa for big games, that will remain a mystery I do not wish to know.
We’ll have to move on. Put this game behind us and let Stoke City feel the brunt of our frustrations this Sunday.