- Manchester City moves atop the table with the point
- Neither team had a shot on target in the first half
A win would have put either side in a great position, but it seemed like neither wanted it. A dull, tiresome match only saved by an exciting final 10 minutes saw the Manchester derby end scoreless at Old Trafford, moving Manchester City back into the top spot in the Premier League table.
The match began in the expected fashion, with both teams feeling out the other and the feeling of a chess match building. Anthony Martial down the left flank was an expected crux of United’s attack early, while City looked to mirror that with more balance between Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne on the wings.
Both teams held long spells of possession but created little in front of goal in the first half-hour, as the passing looked exquisite but the danger was low. Juan Mata earned himself a yellow card with a foul on Aleksandar Kolarov after losing the ball in the final third.
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The first half ended entirely uneventfully, with both defenses in total lock-down mode. Neither side produced a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, while Manchester United failed to produce even a single shot of any type.
The first real moment of danger came in the 51st minute as Raheem Sterling took down Ander Herrera in the box, but instead of awarding the home side a penalty, referee Mark Clattenburg gave Manchester United a corner. That brought a header from Chris Smalling that sailed just wide of the far post.
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United gained a foothold into the game past the hour mark as City were forced to defend in chunks. As the game ticked towards the final whistle, things finally opened up in the final 10 minutes, and nearly ended in dramatic fashion. With five minutes left, a wonderful little flick over the top by Martial send through substitute Jesse Lingard, and his exquisite touch chipped Joe Hart but was denied by the bar.
City had a chance as well in the 87th minute as a free-kick made its way into the box, and Nicolas Otamendi nearly got on the end of the ball but was closed down by Wayne Rooney at the last moment and couldn’t get the vital touch.
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The first scoreless Manchester derby at Old Trafford since 2004 sees Manchester City moves level with Arsenal on points atop the Premier League table with 22 points, and they slide into the top spot on goal differential. Manchester United stays in fourth but moves level with West Ham on 20 points.