It wasn’t even a contest, really.
Manchester City kept the ball and provided almost all the danger whether their Manchester derby rivals were in a back five or a game-chasing formation, an early Saturday morning cruise through Old Trafford netting a convincing 2-0 win to the visitors.
An Eric Bailly own goal was joined by a Bernardo Silva marker in supplying both of the goals in the first half, and United only troubled Ederson twice while holding the ball 68 percent of the time and holding a 16-5 advantage in shot attempts.
It was a waltz for the hosts, who move two points back of Chelsea before the Premier League-leading Blues host Burnley, while fifth-place United’s 17 points could see them fall behind Arsenal, Wolves, Brighton, and Tottenham or Everton by the start of the international break.
Manchester United vs Manchester City final score, stats
Final score: Man City 2, Manchester United 0
Scorers: Bailly (o.g. 7′), Bernardo (44′)
Shot attempts: Man City, 16-5
Shots on goal: Man City, 5-1
Possession: Manchester City, 68%
Three things we learned from Manchester United vs Manchester City
1. Contrast is stark: The gulf between the comfort and understanding of Man City in possession and Manchester United’s appearance in doing just about anything was Grand Canyon-sized. The first half stats were appalling if you’re a home supporter. Possession was 68% to Man City, with a 10-3 edge in shot attempts, more than double the amount of completed passes, and — stunningly — more interceptions than United despite that disparity in possession.
2. Finish required: Man City led 1-0 on the Bailly own goal when cameras shot to Pep Guardiola enthusiastically and almost frenetically imparting instructions to Phil Foden, as if the manager realized that United’s poor start had given City the opportunity to salt this away rather than leave the door open for Bruno Fernandes or Cristiano Ronaldo to steal something from this. And that felt even more imperative when United’s first real spell of possession led to Luke Shaw’s cross for Ronaldo, smashed on goal but saved by Ederson. The eventual scorer of any second goal would loom large…
3. United plays for 0-0, then 0-1, and loses it before half: What’s happened to Old Trafford? United was here to play for the game being in the balance late and David De Gea nearly allowed them to do so. Sadly, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have to settle for the match being in the balance late in the half when Maguire and Shaw didn’t do anything with a searching cross to the back post and Bernado Silva’s acrobatic poke at it caught De Gea off-balance and hit the keeper before going across the line. Sad.
Man of the Match: Joao Cancelo
For the last two weeks, maybe longer, Cancelo has looked like a completed Trent Alexander-Arnold. He’s an attacking threat who isn’t left for dead in his own end, and his three-assist match against Club Brugge wasn’t even that much better than this one.
Manchester United vs Manchester City recap
City dominated the early stages and went ahead through an Eric Bailly own goal when Joao Cancelo’s cross was diverted in the wrong direction.
United had a chance to make it 1-1 with its first real true spell of possession, Shaw crossing for Ronaldo and the Portuguese slashing a well-hit but central shot that Ederson parried. Mason Greenwood couldn’t reach the rebound.
Foden soon led a foray down the left and his cross to Kevin De Bruyne saw a shot blocked by Shaw amongst a sea of red defenders vacuum-sealed the Belgian, leaving a rebound for Gabriel Jesus that was brilliant saved by a recovering David De Gea.
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But it was 2-0 and felt done and dusted when Cancelo’s swept-in cross was left by Maguire to Shaw, who looked flummoxed and didn’t deal with it, allowing Bernardo to acrobatically slap the ball toward goal, off an unsuspecting De Gea and over the line for 2-0.
What’s sad is that Pep Guardiola wasn’t worried about much other than game management and took his foot off the pedal even earlier than Jurgen Klopp did in the 5-0 humiliation in the same building. It’s starting to feel like clubs don’t have the animosity to step on United, either because Solskjaer’s a nice guy or because it’s just not the same challenge.