On Monday, at the Etihad Stadium, there were only two dominant midfield players. Worryingly for the visitors, they were helping the home team. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester united coach started the match with 5 against 4 in the midfield position, sacrificing Welbeck for the reliable and combative Park Ji-sung.
At last, the plan did not work; still Manchester United could not match the ability of Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure. Of course, United are some way better to other 18 teams in the Premier League. They would probably end with 89 points in the points table, but that huge total may not win then their 20th league.
Looking ahead, though, Sir Alex will be aware that his team would be stretched till he adds a dominant midfield player. United have talented players for that position. Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick have proved themselves time and time again, while Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones are valuable assets.
For some time, Manchester United has lacked a real fearsome midfielder, they kind of player who can pull a team and come out as a defining influence. Sir Alex can certainly defend his plans as City averaged 3 goals in each home game before this game in which they only scored once from a set piece.
Sir Alex’s frustration was clearly visible. He accused the City coach of trying to influence match officials and went furious with Roberto Mancini during the game. Both the coaches had to be separated during the finger-jabbing face-off in the 76th minute in that highly explosive derby game at Eastlands.