Manchester proved to be red as the season’s first Manchester derby ended with Manchester United coming out on top of Manchester City, with the Etihad having to witness an excellent game that ended 2-1.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring with a brilliant penalty and minutes after that Anthony Martial doubled United’s lead. City were denied a penalty late in that same half and were able to respond only in the second spell when Nicolas Otamendi headed a goal that couldn’t launch the kind of comeback Pep Guardiola would have been expecting.
1. This City Is Yours?
Manchester City were heavily outclassed during this game as United put up what was arguably one of their finest games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Missing the scoring prowess of Sergio Aguero, City looked to be toothless and the likes of Silva and De Bruyne were unable to penetrate the backline of the Red Devils.
This was also the first time in Premier League history that Pep Guardiola has gone into the second-half having conceded two goals at home. All of this sets a dangerous precedent for the Sky Blues who are the subject of much pressure this campaign.
2. Marcus Rashford – Man In Form
Despite all the criticism that has been hurled at him, Marcus Rashford has emerged with flying colors. His goal at the Etihad was the 10th one this campaign and he has already reached last season’s complete tally with more than half the games yet to be played. As of such, he seems set for career-best numbers at the end of this campaign.
Further still, Rashford has now netted 9 goals in 9 games for club and country and will be looking to add to these numbers. At the same time, he will also be pleased by how much his penalty-taking skills have improved after the fiascos earlier this season.
3. Fred Attacked
In a pathetic display, items were hurled at Fred from the crowd as the Brazilian was getting ready to take United’s first corner of the game in the second-half.
This kind of incident breaks the gentlemanly nature of the game and the City players themselves had to appeal to the crowd to stop hurling projectiles. It will be intriguing to see what kind of action is taken by the authorities.
However, that did not deter Fred from putting in another impressive display and in the recent games, he has been looking more and more like the midfield that United paid a large sum of money for.
4. Another Top Manager Outclassed
Much has been said about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, largely critical in nature. However, after his recent performances, it is fair to say that sacking and replacement talks will be shelved for the time being.
The Norwegian has been slowly amending his flaws and the attacking swagger with which the Red Devils opened this game is indicative of the same and United now sit in the top five with a strong hope of finishing in the top four.
Further still, this season’s antics has gone on to prove that the baby-faced assassin isn’t merely a passionate gaffer who promotes youth talent. His big wins so far this campaign have been against top tacticians in the League, with a double over Frank Lampard, the recent trumping of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho over all people, as well as a clever way to deal with Brendan Rodgers.
Most importantly, his side is the only one to have put a dent in the ascent of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this season. More of the same, please.
5. Title Race Over?
This loss now means that Pep Guardiola’s side are now 14 points adrift of Liverpool for the top spot and potentially six point from Leicester City if the Foxes secure a win in their next game.
Given the swagger with which Liverpool are currently operating and the fact that City have conceded more points at this stage than in the entirety of last season’s title-winning campaign could mean that the title race is definitively over.
United can take pride in knowing that this game could be the one that is cited as the start of City’s downfall as Guardiola and company will not be able to match Sir Alex Ferguson’s impeccable record of winning the Premier League three seasons in a row.
Interestingly, this could also mean that United had a hand in handing Liverpool their coveted Premier League title, which may be a bittersweet moment for the fans.