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United 3-2 City : Five thoughts

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It was a more watchable game than anticipated and certainly a surprise that the game was as open and fast paced as it was. The anticipation was that the game would be little more than a glorified pre-season finale, but it was certainly more than that and a real taster for the season ahead.

It was inevitable that the winner of the game could lay claim to having laid down a marker (as Wayne Rooney certainly did post-game). There can be no doubting that United were fully deserving of the victory and the game perhaps told us more about them than it did a City side, that showed little difference in terms of either selection or approach from last season.

Given the way City dominated games last season when both taking the lead and when leading at half-time, it was a big surprise that the game was lost, particularly in the manner it was where defensive errors contributed to their downfall. The hope is that yesterday was merely an aberration.

United were undoubtedly the sharper, more incisive side throughout the game and they did look a potent side going forward, where with the central pairing of Rooney and Wellbeck augmented by the width of Nani and Young they (as Zonal Marking points out) looked extremely fluid and incisive going forward. It is no surprise City look to their midfield to control possession and space and this approach enabled them to get the better of City's trio. Would a Nasri or Sneijder-type figure have helped counter this and have taken the game back to United?

What was telling was that United looked a step ahead fitness wise. Was this merely down to the approach (i.e. the pace at which United played at whereas City looked more in pre-season mode) or does it suggest that City are a little behind of where they need to be heading into the season? At the very least, City lacked the wherewithal to go ahead again once United drew level.