Brazilian duo proved the perfect remedy for PellegriniThe Brazilian wall of Fernando and Fernandinho
A little and large Brazilian pairing of Fernando’s provided a water-tight double pivot at the base of Manchester City’s midfield in their 0-0 draw with cross city rivals United.
Fernando and Fernandinho were selected to sit in the midfield and shut out the teenage live-wire Anthony Martial and thwart any hint of Wayne Rooney renaissance.
Between the pair of them, they rendered the United attack almost useless at source as particularly Fernandinho defied odds and stood as tall as Santa Catarina’s Millennium Palace in the midfield engine room.
When the teams were announced and both Pellegrini and Louis Van Gaal deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation you could sense this game may already be set up for the draw.
The game fused two teams too fearful of a loss together as they set up like for like. The Brazilian duo faced up against a mix of mobility and experience at the heart of the action as Van Gaal selected Morgan Schneiderlin alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle.
As both attacks were somewhat paralysed by this midfield overload. The game transformed into a game of mobile-chess as both managers would re-act and counter act with their subs bench becoming increasingly prominent.
This war of attrition could best be embodied with the man of the match award going to City centre back Nicolas Otamendi who stifled an elusive Wayne Rooney for the hour and half he sauntered around.
However, it was the monumental axis of two Brazilian’s that made arguably the biggest impact and simultaneously showed that Pellegrini has learnt the error of his ways.
Quite often in the last two seasons the Chilean coach would insist on playing two in midfield with Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri on other side which left the wings to be exploited by the opposition. These tactics were heavily levelled at him in the Champions League last campaign as City exited at the Last 16 stage yet again.
Nonetheless, this was a game not to be lost and their point has sent the Citizens back to the summit of the Premier League. The two sole defensive minded midfielders allowed Yaya Toure to play in an advanced role - which subsequently foiled Kevin De Bruyne’s game.
But it has shown Manchester City can utilise their substantial but robust squad to full effect and reveal yet another intriguing facet to their play.