Necromantic. stertorous. coruscating, and lastly, unbelievably prodigious. If you've ever yearned to witness a match of such unimpeachable fervor and caliber, there wouldn't have been a more congruous one than the Manchester derby. The match had it all; flying tackles, penalty shouts and the thirst to overpower the opponent.
Two superstar laden sides, battling for bragging rights, faced off against each other in an age old rivalry known for the intensity it embodies and boy did it live up to the hype and ferocity. Even though United ended up on the losing side, the unquenchable drive and determination to grab that all important equalizer which they depicted was truly commendable. The game was furious, high-octane with both sides giving it their all.
Manchester City's phylactery, Sergio Agüero, sealed the affair with a swerve of his left foot after being denied two apparent penalties in the first half. Chris Smalling was sent off in the 38th minute after picking up a second yellow for lunging into James Milner; an incident which was instrumental in handing United a miraculous disadvantage and consequently, City the game.
Louis Van Gaal fielded the most expensive eleven in a Premier League game ever at the Etihad against a Manchester City side who themselves were loaded with a plethora of superstars in their team but, how did they all fare individually?
Here are the player ratings
David De Gea: 8/10
The Spaniard racked up another resplendent performance at the Etihad and was solid in between the sticks yet again for the Old Trafford outfit. Fresh from a stellar performance against the league leaders Chelsea, the former Athletico Madrid goalkeeper looked assured and confident at the back and made two mind boggling saves to deny Jesus Navas and Sergio Agüero in quick succession.
Out of the two chances, the one which fell to Navas should've been converted but such was the magnificence of De Gea that Navas couldn't fire City into the lead even from point blank range.
Antonio Valencia: 6/10
Even though the Ecuadorian winger was incorporated into the team as a make shift full back in place of Rafael, his performance during the course of the match suggested otherwise. Rock-solid presence on the right flank, breaking the rhythm of City's play and tackling with strength and sense were the highlights of the former Wigan man's solid display at the Etihad.
He showed massive amount of maturity and trust in his goalkeeper in the first half when he preferred letting Sergio Agüero slip past him in the box instead of putting a foot out and giving away a penalty; an attribute which Rafael so blatantly lacks.
Chris Smalling: 2/10 – Flop of the match.
Clearly the worst performer on the pitch, Smalling was sent off before halftime after he picked up his second yellow card of the match for a stupid lunge on James Milner. However, Smalling's first yellow card was even more gullible. He tried to block the path of Joe Hart while the latter was executing a goal kick and got booked for it by referee Michael Oliver.
The carelessness and idiocy which Smalling depicted was shocking to say the least. People would have expected him to show more character and take on responsibility since he knows the magnitude of the match better than what his partner Rojo did but the former Fulham defender disappointed the United faithful and manager Louis Van Gaal with a horrendous display.
Marcos Rojo: 6/10
The Argentine didn't enjoy the best of afternoon's at the Etihad and his match ended on a rather unfortunate note. Rojo went into a tackle on City center back Demichelis ferociously and came out with a dislocated shoulder. He was replaced by young Patrick McNair who put in a decent performance and kept Agüero and co at bay.
Rojo adopted a no-nonsense approach at the start of the game and looked like a formiddable figure at the back for United. His pace helped him to cope with Agüero and minimize his influence on proceedings. He should've been sent off seconds before half time for a tackle on Yaya Toure which went horribly wrong.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
19 year old Shaw showcased an impressive amount of awareness right at the start of the match and looked formiddable on the left flank, coping with Jesus Navas meritoriously.
The former Southampton left back tackled immaculately and tracked back in an exemplary manner . He made clever runs up and down the left flank and depicted fantastic amount of stamina which has become such an important feature of modern day football.
Daley Blind: 6/10
Dutchman Blind endured a sloppy start to the match, misplacing passes and looking a tad nervous on the ball. He didn't look very comfortable while tackling and earned a yellow card after committing a foul on Yaya Toure. The former Ajax man was instrumental in breaking down City's slick passing movement's in the final third but didn't have a colossal impact on the match.
Blind came handy in defense after Chris Smalling was sent off and assisted his centre backs in a laudable manner.
Marouane Fellaini: 7.5/10
Another game and another noteworthy performance from Marouane Fellaini. The big Belgian was a prominent figure throughout the match, covering every area on the pitch, be it offensively or in defense. His physical presence helped United to cope with City's threatening attacking waves early on in the second half and he used his body well to make a couple of very important blocks from shots which could have given De Gea a tough time.
Fellaini misjudged a great chance to draw United level in the latter stage of the game. Angel Di Maria’s dangerous delivery in the box was not handled well by the former Everton midfielder and it went out of play off his shoulder, much to the relief of Vincent Kompany who had a difficult time containing his compatriot.
Adnan Januzaj: 5/10
Wonderkid Januzaj sustained a forgetful afternoon in rival's territory. He was replaced by Michael Carrick a couple of minutes before halftime in order to compensate for the loss of Smalling in defense. Januzaj didn't make much of a contribution throughout the first half and was controlled well by Gael Clichy on the right flank.
He wasn't allowed to make his trademark menacing runs forward and consequently didn't indulge in any one-to-one battle with the City left back. The Belgian had a great chance to open the scoring for United early on in the game when the ball fell to his favored left foot in the box, but he slashed at it and blew away a precious opportunity.
Angel Di Maria: 6/10
For all the magnificence and impact that Di Maria has exhibited in his short lived time at United, this performance, though better than the one against Chelsea, was not up to the mark. There weren't any selfish efforts this time round although he messed up some of his crosses and didn't have the impact which was expected of him. He did have one opportunity to score in the second half when the ball fell to him after a series of slick and beautiful passes but Hart stretched out and made the save.
Other than that effort, Di Maria's contributions in the match were limited. A series of badly taken corners only worsened the situation and it is about time that the Argentine started performing well against the tougher oppositions too.
Wayne Rooney: 7/10
Captain Rooney returned to the side after serving a 3 match ban and had a significant effect on everything United did on the pitch. He covered every part of the ground stretching from United's penalty box to that of City's. However, Rooney endured a sloppy start to the match misplacing passes a couple of times. As the game progressed, Rooney elevated his performance and became an anchor in the middle of the pitch, dictating the tempo of the game.
He showed a tremendous burst of pace in the second hald wherein he glided past two Manchester City player's but couldn't add the finishing touches to a fantastic move he created. In what turned out to be a disappointing result, United fans can be happy about the return of their talisman.
Robin Van Persie: 5.5/10
On an afternoon where your team has been reduced to 10 men, you wouldn't fancy a striker enjoying his time on the pitch. Van Persie was left isolated in City's half after the sending off of Chris Smalling and didn't have much to do since United's midfielder's were confined to defensive duties.
However, the Dutchman produced a moment of individual brilliance in the second half in which he glided past Zabaleta courtesy of some nimble footwork and unleashed a powerful shot from a tight angle to work the goalkeeper. He was later taken off and replaced by young James Wilson.
Michael Carrick: 6/10
He came on just before half time at the expense of Adnan Januzaj to add more steel to United's reduced backline. He did a commendable job and kept the likes of Jovetic and Agüero at bay.
Patrick McNair: 5/10
The young Irishman came on for Marcos Rojo after the latter suffered a dislocated shoulder and performed fairly. He looked calm and composed and tooo no chances as he cleared the ball at every instant without hesitation.
James Wilson: 4.5/10
Louis Van Gaal continued his policy of incorporating youth into the first team and threw Wilson into the mix at the expense of Van Persie to add more energy and zest to United's attack. The young striker added the missing spice to United's frontline but was unable to out his team on level terms.