United stun City in the Manchester Derby
Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw was the difference between the top two sides in the Manchester Derby.
A Manchester Derby that looks a cert to have no difference on City’s title charge was all about local bragging rights between City and United.
After a game with no spark midweek against Crystal Palace, it only took United 30 secs to set this game alight. An early dart into the box by Anthony Martial drew Gabriel Jesus in to make a clumsy foul. After scoring 17 out of his 18 penalties in a United Shirt, Bruno Fernandes continued his fine record from the spot as he fired home to Ederson’s right.
A nervy start to a match is something you wouldn’t expect from Pep Guardiola’s side, but United continued to pin them back. Cancelo overplaying in his own box provided Luke Shaw with a chance to double United’s lead, but he could only find the gloves of Ederson.
As the first half progressed, City began to grow into the game and force United’s initial high line back towards their box. Gundogan found himself in several good positions in and around the United box but was unable to connect cleanly on any of his chance.
As they searched for an equaliser, City were struggling to break a very stubborn United defence. Zinchenko opted to strike from 30 yards out, which forced Dean Henderson into his first test which he comfortably parried out of danger.
After getting to half time with their lead in tact, United flew out of the traps again in the second half. Their early pressure was rewarded as Luke Shaw picked out the bottom right corner after combining with Marcus Rashford.
With City trying to find any route back into the game, spaces were left for United to counter for the remainder of the second half. Man of the Match Anthony Martial, who was lively all game, recognised the space and after shrugging off two challenges, he picked out James who very nearly made it 3, if it wasn’t for a last ditch block from Dias.
Man City, a team that is known for creating plenty of chances, had to be patient for doors to be unlocked and their best chances fell to Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling. After just being subbed on, Foden found himself on the penalty spot, but after a smart first touch on the half turn, he couldn’t divert his shot on target.
A win that will not hinder City’s title charge has certainly provided United some breathing space in their search for Champions League football next season.
Ederson (5), Cancelo (5), Dias (5), Stones (5), Zinchenko (6), Rodri (5), De Bruyne (4), Gundogan (6), Sterling (5), Jesus (4), Mahrez (5)
Subs: Foden (5), Walker (5)
Henderson (8), Shaw (8), Maguire (7), Lindelof (7), Wan Bissaka (7), Mctominay (7), Fred (8), Fernandes (7), Rashford (7), James (7), Martial (8)
Subs: Greenwood (6), Matic (N/A), Williams (N/A)
Man of the Match - Anthony Martial
United will now prepare for an enthralling encounter with Italian Giants, AC Milan, in the round of 16 of the Europa League.
As for Man City, they will need to dust themselves off for when they welcome Southampton to the Ethiad on Wednesday night.
Written by Thomas Barnes