Michael Cox, writing at Zonal Marking, [highlights the intelligent play of Nasri and dangerous Kolarov runs}(http://www.zonalmarking.net/2013/09/22/man-city-4-1-man-united-nasris-narrowness-and-kolarovs-overlapping-puts-city-in-charge/).
The first impact of this was obvious – in a fast-paced, physical match with two midfield duos against each other, Nasri helped overload the centre and ensured City won the possession battle in the opening stages. Fernandinho and Toure always had an obvious forward pass – Nasri received the ball most frequently from that duo.
Instead, City’s dominance of possession meant Kolarov was attacking Valencia, and surprisingly, Valencia performed extremely poorly defensively. He’s become renowned as a disciplined, committed defensive winger – to the extent that he’s frequently been used at full-back – but he repeatedly switched off and allowed Kolarov to run past him.
Richard Jolly, in the Tactics & Analysis feature at ESPN FC, points out [Yaya Toure’s “man-of-the-match derby display”}(http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/tacticsandanalysis/id/1862/tactics-board-city-find-right-path-to-thrash-united):
Defensively, his performance included a tackle, two clearances and two interceptions. In attack, he had two shots and scored a goal. With the ball, he recorded an 85 percent pass completion rate. He was capable of leading incisive breaks on the right wing and as his heat map shows, it was all the more impressive as he did much of his work in the Manchester United half.
It’s no coincidence that the only league goals City had conceded this season before the 87th minute yesterday had come when skipper Vincent Kompany was sidelined through injury.
The 27 year old returned to action in the Champions League last week and put in a Derby Day master class yesterday with Jamie Carragher describing it as one of the best defensive performances he’s seen.
With a 100% clearance record (12 for 12), Kompany kept a tight ship at the back, and his break up of play led to City’s fourth goal as Samir Nasri volleyed home Jesus Navas’ right wing cross.
Kompany’s influence on his team mates is just as important as his individual performances, with Matija Nastasic in particular looking far more accomplished alongside the Belgian.