The 177th Manchester derby ended with City, once called noisy neighbors now firmly established as the new landlords, they are the kings of Manchester and they will take some stopping.
Ahead of this game United had played two matches in which they had come from behind to win and were full of confidence. But that confidence was punctured after news of Paul Pogba being out of the squad was announced. The midfielder was the lynch-pin in United’s comeback win over City in the fixture back in April and he was going to be sorely missed. Step in Maroune Felliani.
The first 10 minutes was not something United fans would want to be reminded of. City bossed it with aplomb and never looked like ceding possession. The stats read 86% possession for City, 107 passes for City as compared to United’s 17. The Red half of Manchester was utterly dire.
It was only a matter of time. United were lethargic and went down to a David Silva goal 11 minutes into the game. For the third consecutive game they would have to come back from behind. And though they had done it against this City side before, it did not look possible from the opening exchanges.
City bossed the game with Lingard, Rashford and particularly Herrera failing to hold on to the ball, they lost possession easily and failed to stamp their authority in the midfield. The only surprise was that United did not go behind by a second goal in the first half and managed to head into the interval down by only a lone goal.
The second half began in a similar fashion as the first, City added a second. A thunderbolt shot from Sergio Aguero after a one two with Mahrez placed us back to where we were back in April when United were two goals behind and staged an unlikely comeback.
Romelu Lukaku came on after being out of the team for the last two games and within seconds of his introduction, Ederson who had been virtually a spectator for large portions of the game made an unnecessary tackle on the Belgian, earning the Red Devils a penalty. Up stepped the in-form Anthony Martial to score, giving United a lifeline.
City for the first time in the game started to feel the pressure. Leroy Sane and Sterling could have ended the game as a contest but their intricate passing cost them. Though they had pulled a goal back United still had no foothold in the game. It was a cagey affair until five minutes from the end when Gundogan put the final nail in United’s coffin, the comeback was off. United paid the ultimate price for coming into the game late. City march on, Unbeaten.
This was a game which further showed the gulf of difference in terms of quality of both teams. Is this the era of Blue Manchester dominance, will United ever be the United of old? Well time will tell but for now, that seems to be the reality. Manchester is Blue!