City topple United in Manchester Derby to set a Premier League Record
Manchester City made it 14 consecutive Premier League wins after victory over arch-rivals United in the Manchester Derby.
With Kyle Walker booked just three minutes in, it set the tone of an eagerly anticipated and fiercely contested derby.
David Silva put the leaders ahead after a poorly defended set piece let him slot home from six yards out.
United then equalised on the stroke of half-time after a Nicholas Otamendi mistake allowed Marcus Rashford to slot home.
But there was an even worse piece of defending to come. Romelu Lukaku’s dreadful clearance from a Silva freekick handed the ball to Nicolas Otamendi, who couldn’t miss from point-blank range.
United pushed City all the way for the remainder of the game. Their best chance fell to Lukaku after a lovely passing move before Ederson produced a magnificent double save.
But City held on for a crucial victory that sees them eleven points clear at the top as early as December.
Mistakes at the back, toothless in attack
United spent their time soaking up pressure and hitting City on the counterattack. This tactic usually leads to a lot of criticism of manager Jose Mourinho, especially on their home field. However, since their opponents were the most lethal attacking team in the league, it was probably the most sensible approach.
That said, even for such a crucial game, their approach still seemed too conservative. While they consistently picked the right moment to strike their rivals’ defence, they also struggled at picking out the main man up front Lukaku. In fact, United didn’t look like they were trying too hard to attack at 0-0.
The Red Devils finally turned the heat up after going 1-0 down, but their goal was certainly a fortunate one from their perspective.
But the one aspect of their defence that was poor right from the start was their set pieces. David Silva was allowed to wander free of the back four far too easily for the first goal, and Lukaku’s “clearance” which led to their second can only be described as appalling.
The 24-year-old striker has come under fire for failing to deliver in big games this season. On today’s evidence, it’s not hard to see why. Not only did his clearance lead to his team’s downfall, but his chance towards the end of the game, while a good save from Ederson, straight at the keeper. You feel striking the ball at absolutely any other area of the goal
United truly have sold themselves short today. This was their best attempt bar none to close the gap on City and mount a serious title challenge of their own. However, Jose Mourinho’s stubbornness in big matches has cost him yet again as his side now sits 11 points off the top. Given the hundreds upon millions of pounds spent over just two years at the helm, this can hardly be seen as good enough by any standards.
City’s name on the trophy
As was to be expected, Pep Guardiola’s team dominated possession throughout the match. Both their number of successful passes and passing accuracy were vastly superior to United throughout the match. This showed early on as a pinpoint pass from Fernandinho set up Gabriel Jesus, but his strike was too weak to trouble de Gea.
In the first half, their two centre backs, Kompany and Otamendi, had more touches than any other City player. This illustrates that Guardiola’s men were contained to passing out from the back as opposed to their midfield.
This approach ended up highlighting perhaps their only weakness – their inconsistent defence. Delph’s mistake was a poor one, as he miscontrolled a somewhat desperate ball over the top.
But to be critical of their defence will seem picky, especially after such a crucial win as this. Even as the away side, they continued to attack without mercy, and they proved to be too much for United’s back line in the end.
David Silva, in particular, deserves a mention, performing a role similar to how De Bruyne has played throughout the season. The Spaniard dictated play from the centre of the park and was the lynchpin of every dangerous City move.
Gabriel Jesus also had yet another excellent game, further highlighting his potential for the future. While United made things difficult, his pace and trickery allowed him to cause their defence problems of their own.
There has been talk for weeks about City walking the title, possibly even going the season completely unbeaten, and this will do little to quell such talk. It was yet another phenomenal performance by Guardiola’s men, who will surely feel unstoppable after today.
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