Manchester United vs Manchester City in pictures
If the celebrations, led by Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola, seemed a touch excessive with players dancing in front of their fans in the corner as Manchester United’s fans filed out, that was the point. Because when the dust settles on this one sided contest, this was neither a surprise or upset in a Manchester derby, it was nothing more than routine.
Two goals for Haaland and one for Phil Foden settled a contest that empahsised the gulf between these sides – one that has increased since last year when Erik ten Hag’s arrival brought such promise. Yes, United might have scored, but it looked all night that if they had City would simply have moved up another gear.
Haaland has now got 11 goals in the Premier League this season – the same number as United who after this sit four places and eight points away from the final Champions League slot. It is an unpalatable but inescapable truth for many round here to swallow that if the challenge to City’s crown arrives in a red shirt it will be from north London or Merseyside not Old Trafford.
For City, who lost here last January, this was a win which kept them third in touch of Spurs two points from the summit. Traditionally stronger as the seasons progresses this is promising for October. United spent most of this match under lock and key in their own half, infrequent attempts to break out smothered all too easily by the guards patrolling City’s backline.
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It was hard to pick out players who performed well, with Christian Eriksen and Andre Onana standing out in a poor display overall. City were not at their fluent best in the first half but when they got two up in the second half they were irresistible. United were swept aside.
United felt aggrieved to go behind just before the half hour – a soft free kick given away by Sofyan Amrabat on Phil Foden and a penalty delivered by VAR when Rasmus Hojlund was judged to have wrestled Rodri to the ground. Referee Paul Tierney had seen nothing untoward but was called to the monitor by the VAR and gave it, Haaland hammering home the penalty.
It was a low bar against which to judge and by such standards almost every match this weekend should have featured a penalty. But what transpired over the next hour or so gradually took it from United’s grasping hands as significant grievance in the grand scheme of things. And with City doubling their lead early in the second half they were able to release the handbrake.
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United were not without their chances and Ten Hag was within his rights to point to a toe-to-toe first half. Hojlund might have could have levelled when Foden cut his own defence in half with a misplaced backpass, the forward harried out of a shot by the backtracking John Stones. Had he gone down when feeling Stones’s challenge he could have had a penalty.
Scott McTominay also brought a fine save from Ederson in first half stoppage time after Rashford had sprung him with a fine first time pass.
City doubled their lead early in the second period, Haaland getting on the end of a delightful overlap from Bernardo on the left and heading home powerfully. Haaland was denied a hat-trick, Onana taking one in the face as he attempted to chip the goalkeeper 20 minutes from the end after a delightful through ball by the player of the match Bernardo.
As City started to flex their muscles a third arrived, Rodri’s shot parried by Onana to Haaland’s feet and the striker selflessly squaring for Foden who slid in between two United defenders and buried the ball. Onana was probably United’s best performer, the difference between a beating and drubbing.
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