Manchester City continued their impressive run of form on Sunday afternoon, as they beat their local rivals Manchester United 3-1 in a fiercely fought derby match.
City took the lead after just eleven minutes, as David Silva slammed home from close range after a trademark flowing move from Pep Guardiola’s side. After United rallied well until half time, their good work was undone early in the second period, as Sergio Agüero managed to beat David de Gea on his near post with a ferocious finish.
The visitors pulled a goal back midway through the first half, as the City keeper clumsily fouled substitute Romelu Lukaku, before Anthony Martial cooly slotted in the penalty. As tensions mounted, substitute İlkay Gündoğan sealed the three points for his side late on with a calm finish from close-range.
Key Talking Point
City continued their relentless surge for a second consecutive league title, but didn’t look quite at their potent best despite the win. Of course, there were a number of gorgeous moves that tore United to shreds, but they noticeably dropped off in the second portion of the first half.
Guardiola’s men will head into the international break in fine spirits, having regained their spot at the top of the Premier League table. With the season 12 games deep, City look more than capable of defending their title, but Guardiola may well have some food for thought as he looks to dominate the game from the first to the final whistle – even in such high profile matches.
While City weren’t quite at their best, they still looked to be a different class to United, and once again highlighted the huge shift in power we’ve seen in Manchester over the past few seasons.
Player Ratings: Emerson (7); Walker (7), Stones (8), Laporte (7), Mendy (6); B. Silva (8), D. Silva (9), Riyad Mahrez (8); Agüero (8), Sterling (8).
Substitutes: Sané (7) Gündoğan (7) Foden (N/A
Star Man: David Silva
David Silva is such a ridiculously consistent performer that it’s hard to think of new superlatives to describe his performances. So to put it simply: The man has the technical skills of Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola combined with an eye for a pass similar to Andrea Pirlo in his pomp.
The Spain international turned on the magic again in the Manchester Derby, and caused the United defence no end of problems with his eye-of-a-needle passing. He also tucked away with goal calmly, and showed the composure necessary to see his side over the finish line.
Here’s how his performance went down on social media:
Worst Player: Benjamin Mendy
An uncharacteristically quiet outing for the France star, Benjamin Mendy never really got out the traps against United. To be fair, he was being marked tightly by Ashley Young, but even when he managed to find some space his crosses were lacklustre, and he didn’t pose the usual attacking threat he provides when tearing down the left wing.
Key Talking Point
It was always going to be a tough task for United to get something out of this match, but the Red Devils’ fans would have headed into the match full of optimism following their dramatic late wins against Bournemouth and Juventus in their last two matches. Mourinho’s men were unable to produce any real chances on goal, and looked lost for ideas when going forward.
For example, Martial continually went for his tried-and-tested method of bending the ball inside the far post, which the City defenders saw coming a mile off. There were some encouraging moments for United, but they simply couldn’t muster the creativity needed to make an impact, and Mourinho must take some of the blame for his insufficient game plan.
Player Ratings: De Gea (6); Young (7), Smalling (6), Lindelöf (7), Shaw (6); Herrera (6), Matić (5), Fellaini (7); Lingard (5), Martial (7), Rashford (6).
Substitutes: Lukaku (7), Mata (6), Sánchez (6)
Star Man: Marouane Fellaini
When there’s a parade to be rained on or a party to be pooped, turning to Marouane Fellaini for some physical and disruptive midfield play is always a wise option. The Belgian ace did what he did best against City, and continually managed to disrupt their flowing moves with a jarring, musical bum note of an intervention.
While the former Everton man ended up on the losing side, his presence in the air at set-pieces and natural eye for positioning meant his side were spared being on the receiving end of a cricket score. Here’s how his performance went down on social media:
Worst Player: Jesse Lingard
The England international has looked sharp since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but he failed to provide any threat to the City defence on Sunday. The midfielder often seemed on a different wavelength to his teammates, and looked a little off the pace as his side desperately searched for an equaliser.
It must be noted that Nemanja Matić was a very close second.
City will look to continue their positive momentum after the international break, when they take on West Ham United at the London Stadium. Their former manager Manuel Pellegrini will be eager to impress against the Premier League champions, and his rejuvenated side will be hopeful for a good result given their steady progress this season.
United will hope to bounce back when they take on Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in their next Premier League encounter. Roy Hodgson’s side are in danger of slipping into the relegation zone after failing to pick up a win in the league since mid-September, and will be the ideal side for United unleash their frustrations on.