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Plays of the Day: Monday magic in Manchester

ESPN staff
April 30, 2012 « Hodgson talks 'positive' ahead of expected appointment | Chartbeat test »

Against the odds
The size of the task facing Manchester City prior to their 1-0 win against United at the Etihad Stadium was lost on nobody. Not since January 1998 had United been beaten in a Monday league fixture, winning 21 and drawing five of their 26 encounters.

We know what you're thinking: How many of those did Chris Smalling play in?

To me to you
Manchester United defended extremely well for 45 minutes of Monday's clash prior to Vincent Kompany's opener, although they could be accused of having a 12th man at times. Not the referee on this occasion, but City's own Pablo Zabaleta, who intervened at the worst possible time to take the ball off Sergio Aguero's toes when the forward was set to lash home from ten yards.

Know your job Pablo!

Keeping good Kompany
Gary Neville described Kompany as having a "glazed" look in his eye throughout most of the first half at Eastlands. The centre-back got booked, argued with the ref, and then almost got booked again. However, nobody matched his endeavour when he broke the deadlock, as City scored their 14th of the season from corners.

Imagine if they still had big Niall Quinn.

Same old Arsenal...
For a moment Samir Nasri forgot he had switched the red of Arsenal for the blue of City on Monday night. With the score at 1-0 and City desperate for the killer goal, the Frenchman had the chance to finish it. Six yards out, he faked to shoot once, and sold his defender. Now hit it. You could hear 40-odd thousand City fans screaming "Hit it" as Nasri then faked to shoot again, this time losing his chance as he tried to walk it in.

Old habits die hard.

Good to talk
We guess it wasn't much of a surprise to see Sir Alex lose his cool as his side's title hopes went south at the Etihad, but the trash talk between he and Roberto Mancini was unsavoury at best. Both men turned their right hand into Kermit the Frog as if to suggest that the other talks too much, with Fergie later moaning: "He was badgering the official the whole game."

Mancini's response? "I don't remember." We believe you Roberto.

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