There are a number of reasons why the Manchester Derby ended 0-0. Manchester City were given a tough task of getting past a thick Manchester United defense. The Blues worked incredibly hard to get behind the Reds’ but could never find the final touch.
United had very limited chances. They pushed hard on a few counter-attacks but spent 70% of the match working to stop City attacks.
Overall, here are three things we learned:
1. Hunger for the ball
City fought for possession. The entire team hustled to limit United’s movement and win the ball back.
Yaya Touré and the back four were, for the most part, ready for the Reds’ style of attack. City kept a clean sheet by winning direct challenges and moving the ball into open space.
The smoothness with which the Blues regained possession and transitioned back into United’s half was exciting, even if City were not successful in front of goal.
The Sky Blues’ transitions have taken many different forms under Pep Guardiola. They have fast-break, long ball tactics to give attackers 1v1 opportunities. They have two- or three-pass transitions that allow multiple players to make runs.
More intricate circuits of passing and movement off the ball give City yet another mode of developing well-rounded attacks.
Kevin De Bruyne’s instincts, in particular, have become a wonder for the Blues. His ability to play flick or punt balls into the perfect space has helped City transition with massive effectiveness.
3. Talent and Transfers
The talent at City is, in many ways, more than capable of finding a way through tightly packed defenses. Experience doesn’t always serve the purpose.
Personality and passion have been the key for City’s most electric moments this season and we can hope that Gabriel Jesus’ return helps the Blues end on a high note.
Regardless of who plays for the last games of the season, finding a bit of magic to finish strong will be essential.
The club will be searching for the perfect addition to the squad during the transfer window but when next season arrives, the sense of absolute determination to score and win matches outright has to be undeniable.
Penetrating defenses has not been easy for Manchester City but there are many reasons to suspect that another level of achievement will take over at the Etihad in the near future.
The team is fun to watch but frustrating results have taken a toll. With a few positive results in the last five matches of the campaign, a few positive summer transfers, and a summer of training, we could see City going further in every competition next season.