1. Different season, same story. Typical United and we wouldn’t have it any other way. After dominating possession for most of the first half, a lot of teams would have been completely deflated by City’s 2 goals but time and time again, SAF rallies the troops with his half-time power speeches and today was no different. We came out in the second half and played some of the most fluid and effortless football I have seen United play in recent years, it was a joy to behold. If we can take that sort of football into the Premier League, then I have no qualms in the fact that we would be definite favourites for holding the title again this season, especially when taken into consideration that our home form will hopefully continue into this season.
2. England contingency. When the first half kicked off, United had 6 full England internationals on the pitch (Ferdinand, Smalling, Carrick, Welbeck, Rooney and Young) and this is something that I love to see. Nothing is better than a strong English spine in an English team, something Arsenal forgot about many moons ago. When the second half kicked off, the average of our team was just 22 with Cleverley, Evans and Jones coming on. The future for United looks incredibly strong and I would argue that we might even have the best squad in the league now. When you consider that our second string team holds the likes of Park Ji Sung, Fletcher, Fabio and Berbatov, then you quickly realise how well SAF has done this summer.
3. Are City title contenders? City are a dangerous team when the scores are level and even more dangerous when they are ahead but from the first whistle, United dominated and controlled the tempo of the game for about 80% of the game. They are still a threat this season but they need to cut-out the little issues that are stopping them from becoming a gelled team. After watching that performance, I agree with Gary Neville in the fact that Chelsea still remain the main contenders. City are clearly a team far from ready if they want to compete in both domestic and European competitons. The negative substitution of bringing Balotelli off for Barry after the scores were equalised at 2-2 is something that will not win them anything but runners-up medals.
4. De Gea. So, a debut more comparable to Stam in 1998 than Rooney in 2004 but it is something that will be irrelevant in the long run. You could see he was nervous. When I watched him in the U21 European Championships, I don’t think I ever saw him kick the ball long once but today he seemed rushed in possession and didn’t bring a calm to the back that he will need to throughout the season. If there was one thing that he needs to replace from Van Der Sar it is his ability to bring the ball out in a controlled fashion. Although, it has to be said that some of his distribution was fantastic including two pin-point long passes to Young and Jones. The competition with Lindegaard should be a healthy one but I think it might take him half a season to get running at full speed, so patience might be required!
5. Nani. What a performance for him and it couldn’t have happened at a better time with the Premier League kicking off next week. Last year, United depended on the consistency of Nani and Berbatov until the partnership of Hernandez and Rooney took hold and if Nani can continue the sort of form he showed today into the start of the season, then he will be our most dangerous player. I saw a different part to his game today as well, it looks like he has matured significantly; the inter-play, movement and accurate tackling impressed me greatly and if he can calm his temprament and cut-out his play acting, then he could easily rise and become the best player in the Premier League. Few players would of had the passion to sprint at Kompany like Nani did and my hat goes off to such a good work rate, especially so late in the game. Add to the fact that his goal was one of the best United goals I have seen in recent years and it is obvious why he won man of the match.