Manchester City and Manchester United played out a disappointing 0-0 draw at the Etihad in the Premier League tonight.
Both sides were hoping for the three points to improve their chances of a top-four finish this season, but neither team could break the deadlock in a derby game that didn’t live up to expectations.
United’s Marouane Fellaini was sent off in the last five minutes for a head-butt on Sergio Aguero, that enabled City to push on for a goal in the final stages.
Substitute Gabriel Jesus thought he had snatched a dramatic late winner in injury time and celebrated wildly, only to see his effort had been ruled out for offside.
Aguero probably had the best chance of the tie inside 10 minutes when a Kevin De Bruyne cross found the Argentinian at the near post, but his close-range strike hit the outside of the post.
The game petered out towards the end, with City dominating possession without creating any real clear-cut chances, and both sides seemed happy with the draw
Here are five things we learned from the match.
No team deserved to win
After a bright initial start in which Aguero hit the post, the game was starved of any clear chances, and even though Manchester City had all the ball, they couldn’t find a way to break down United’s resilient defence. The Red Devils had one great opportunity in the first-half when City keeper Claudio Bravo flapped at a cross which landed at the feet of Ander Herrera, with the Spaniard only managing to hit it straight back to the goalie. However, the rest of the chances were limited and went City’s way. Most strikes were long-range efforts and comfortable saves for David De Gea who had a relatively easy night.
Silva big miss for City tonight
David Silva missed the game tonight through an injury sustained against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, and it was evident City are not the same attacking threat as they are with the Spain international. The 31-year-old is still very much the genius that makes Pep Guardiola’s men tick when going forward, and is probably one of the first names on his boss’ team sheet every week. City’s attacking players seemed lost without the former Barcelona man tonight. Aguero looked sharp up-front but he lacked the killer through balls and link-up play with Silva that he thrives upon, with Sterling failing to replicate his quality.
United stretch their unbeaten record
Manchester United have now gone 24 matches unbeaten in the Premier League, with their last defeat coming away at Chelsea in October. The achievement equals a club record and shows how far they have come in the second-half of the season under Jose Mourinho. In November, the Red Devils were 10 points behind their rivals and it looked like the gulf in class between the two sides would be huge. However, United are surely going in the right direction. Having already won the League Cup and making it to the Europa League semi-final, Mourinho seems to have finally found the right formula at Old Trafford.
City need to keep Kompany fit
Vincent Kompany still has a massive role to play at Manchester City, providing he can prove his fitness. His commanding display and assurance in defence was an obvious help for his team-mates tonight and maybe the Citizens would be in a higher position in the league had he not had so many set-backs at the start of the season. Pep Guardiola’s men have struggled with a lack of leadership in defence, and a chance for a partnership with John Stones next campaign could prove to be successful.
Arsenal were the real winners this evening
A draw was not ideal for either team tonight and it means City are still in fourth place on 65 points and United are in fifth place on 64 points. However, perhaps more concerning for both sides is the fact Arsenal are on 60 points and they have a game in hand on their rivals. Arsene Wenger’s men will be optimistic given no team managed to stake respective claims for Champions League qualification, and the race for the top-four could be fascinating as we enter the finals stage of the season.
Manchester City: Bravo 5 (Caballero 5), Zabaleta 6, Kompany 7, Otamendi 6, Kolarov 6, Fernandinho 6, Yaya Toure 6, Sterling 6 (Jesus 6), De Bruyne 7, Sane 6 (Navas 6), Aguero 7.
Subs not used: Sagna, Fernando, Clichy, A. Garcia.
Manchester united: De Gea 7, Darmain 7, Valencia 7, Blind 7, Bailly 7, Herrera 7, Carrick 7, Fellaini 4, Mkhitaryan 7 (Fosu-Menash 4), Martial 6 (Lingard 4), Rashford 6 (Young 4).
Subs not used: Romero, Shaw, Tuanzebe, Rooney.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
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