Four things we learned from Man City v. Man United

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MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men moving 12 points ahead of United in the process and regaining their spot atop the Premier League table.

[ MORE: Player ratings

Goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva did the damage as Jose Mourinho’s men succumbed to the fluid, almost unstoppable, City attack.

Here’s what we learned from the Manchester Derby.


STERLING LEADS IMPERIOUS CITY

The past few months have underlined just how good Sterling is. After agreeing a new long-term contract at Man City earlier in the week, the 23-year-old put in a superb display which showcased his main areas of improvement. Passing and movement.

For City’s first goal his cross was weighted perfectly to unlock United’s eight-man defense on the edge of their own box, as he outrageously picked out Bernardo Silva with a stealthy swing of his right boot.

In the past Sterling could be guilty of unnecessary dribbles and wayward passes, but there is now so much more purpose to his play. His improvement under Guardiola in the past two years is stark, with only Mohamed Salah involved in more PL goals than Sterling since the start of last season.

With veterans Aguero and Silva on the scoresheet to help deliver the win, City know their attack is in safe hands for the future as Sterling will lead the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez in the future. The scary thing is, he still has plenty of room for improvement as he was guilty of not shooting as he tried to set up his teammates.


SLOW START FOR UNITED ONCE AGAIN

Add the Manchester Derby to the list of games where United have started slowly this season. That list is now almost longer than Mourinho’s arm as slow starts against Newcastle, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Juventus in recent weeks has seem them rally from losing positions.

Mourinho’s men were no doubt hampered by the loss of Pogba through injury (more on that below) but there’s no doubting that their slow starts must be eradicated if they’re going to have any chance of at least finishing in the top four. Over the course of a 10-month season at home and in Europe, United have to start getting on the front foot at the start of games. The reason they currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, is because they continue to put themselves in poor positions early on.

What is causing them to do this again and again?

Mourinho will ponder that over the international break but it is clear that many of United’s players are tentative from the get-go and that is a surefire sign of not being comfortable with how they are playing and who they are playing alongside. United’s players grow into games and seem to grow in belief after the half time break, and they did that against City as more attacking players coming off the bench gave them fresh impetus. However, there are only so many times you can launch a comeback and United looked jaded due to their recent heroics and the wizardry of City’s attackers.


RASH EDERSON

Man City’s Brazilian goalkeeper is superb with his feet and he commands his area with ease. But over the past few weeks he has got it wrong. Big time. On Sunday he raced out of his goal and took down Romelu Lukaku to concede a penalty kick in a carbon copy of the PK he gave away last week against Southampton as he took out Danny Ings.

Ederson was visibly upset with his mistake and although Pep Guardiola tried to get his head up and applaud him from the sidelines, some of City’s technical staff in the stand were far from impressed with “Eddie” for another rash decision to rush off his line. Ederson is a forward-thinking goalkeeper and that is exactly what Guardiola wants in his way of playing. But if Ederson continues to make costly errors, a sense of shakiness could impact City’s defenders. Those are the small things which add up and Ederson’s decision making has to be a little better than it has been in recent weeks.


POGBA, DE BRUYNE BADLY MISSED

Two players who can turn a game on its head in an instance were missing for the Manchester Derby through injury and it was a such a shame. Sure, this encounter was a very good spectacle. But with KDB and Pogba, you always know a moment of magic via an outstanding pass or sensational goal are just around the corner.

The midfield battle was a little too predictable on Sunday, with Fernandinho clogging up the gaps and the two Silva’s buzzing around ahead of him playing short passes. For United, the trio of Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic did their job but they all struggled to get up and support Marcus Rashford in attack the way Pogba does with his rangy, slaloming runs. De Bruyne and Pogba being back fit and available for the next Manchester Derby will give this intriguing, feisty clash yet another layer.

Klopp, Jokanovic on wild Liverpool opener: ‘Absurd situation’

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It wouldn’t be a surprise if Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had differing opinions on the offside call that denied the Cottagers a goal and allowed Liverpool a quick restart goal against the celebrating visitors at Anfield on Sunday.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 2-0 Fulham ]

But Klopp’s reaction to the offside call against Aleksandar Mitrovic wasn’t too strong, and Jokanovic was raging after the match.

The Fulham manager labeled the call “disrespectful” to Fulham and its supporters. From The Liverpool Echo:

“The damage is done,” Jokanovic said. “I don’t want to say Liverpool didn’t deserve to win the game. We did not defend well against the counter-attack but it shouldn’t have happened. It is an absurd situation.”

The margin was very thin, with Mitrovic perhaps a hair off. And Alisson Becker quickly pulled the ball out of the goal and got it moving (or kept it moving, as NBC studio analyst Kyle Martino pointed out that it never stopped).

Thirteen seconds later, Mohamed Salah had it in the back of the Fulham net.

Klopp was nonchalant about the call, ironic given the froth expected should the call have gone against him. Such is football.

“I saw the Fulham goal once,” Klopp said. “Was it offside? Against Arsenal we scored a clearer goal and didn’t get it. We cannot change it. The reaction was brilliant from us.”

It’s the quick restart that should probably be under more scrutiny than the offside call, as there aren’t too many offside restarts played that quickly at any spot on the field (let alone the matter of whether the ball moved).

Liverpool will be atop the Premier League table should Chelsea fail to beat Everton and Manchester City lose to United.

Liverpool eases past Fulham after controversial goal

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  • Mitrovic goal ruled offside, Salah quickly answers [ VIDEO ]
  • Shaqiri makes it 2-0

Liverpool went atop the Premier League table for the moment following a 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah scored 13 seconds after a Fulham goal was ruled offside, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds moved to 30 points.

That’s one point more than Man City, who hosts Manchester United at 11:30 a.m. ET, and three ahead of Chelsea ahead of the Blues 9:15 a.m. ET meeting with Everton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first dozen minutes went as expected, as Liverpool mostly did what it wanted in attack. Xherdan Shaqiri was the closest to finding a finish with a 13th minute drive from the top of the box.

Mohamed Salah forced Sergio Rico into an in-tight save in the 16th, as the opener looked certain to arrive any moment. Rico stopped Salah again in the 22nd.

Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon turned Virgil Van Dijk inside out but blasted a shot inches wide of the far post for the Cottagers best chance of the half. Andre Schurrle was stymied by Alisson Becker before the half-hour mark.

Shaqiri missed with a 35th minute bid for the near post.

Then Fulham went from ahead to behind in a flash. Mitrovic headed a cross behind Alisson, and was quickly ruled offside (The margin was thin). Alisson restarted play, and Salah blazed down the right wing for a goal.

The change in fortunes was dramatic, and took 13 seconds.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Reds got a second goal in the 53rd minute when Shaqiri met a terrific back post cross from Andy Robertson with a composed finish across goal.

Liverpool was very much in control, but failed to add to its goal differential.

WATCH: Fulham has goal ruled offside, quickly concedes

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Script, flipped. And then flipped right back.

Underdog Fulham took a surprise 1-0 lead over Liverpool on Sunday when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a late first half cross past Alisson Becker.

[ STREAM: 1st half replay, Second half live ]

But the offside flag was up, probably incorrectly, and the quick-thinking Liverpool netminder made Fulham pay for its brief celebration.

Mitrovic’s header crossed the line at 40:33, and the whistle went at 40:35.

At 40:46, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah had the ball in the net at the other end of the pitch.

Wow.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 11

Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
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Call it the calm before the storm: Liverpool and Chelsea face winnable matches at home while No. 1 Man City tries to navigate the Manchester Derby.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]

And we’ve got a new bottom team on our rankings with few signs of improvement at Craven Cottage. How long will Fulham stay 20th?


20. Fulham *New season low* — The Cottagers held the opposition to less than two goals for the first time since Sept. 22, but that’s not achievement against the anemic attack of Huddersfield Town. Losing 1-0 is comparable to its 4-2 loss to Cardiff City. Bad, bad games to lose.
Last week: 18
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

19. Huddersfield Town — Monday’s win was very nice, but we’re not going to break out the party horns and streamers because a goal was scored against Fulham. A result against visiting West Ham would have us at least Googling where to find said celebratory items.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

18. Cardiff City — Kudos to the Bluebirds for their classy handling of a difficult occasion in Leicester City’s visit following the death of Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. A visit from Brighton is a different sort of test.
Last week: 16
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

17. Southampton — Had its moments in a 6-1 loss to Man City, really, but has to take advantage when inconsistent Watford comes to town.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

16. Newcastle United — And exhale (but only for a moment). Newcastle finally gets its first win of the season. The Magpies are better than their record suggests, but not by much. Getting a result from high-flying Bournemouth at St. James’ Park this weekend would be a nice respite for supporters heading into an international break.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

Rafa Benitez wants the January transfer window to open early (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

15. Burnley — Three-straight losses to very good attacks, and Leicester City can score, too. Can Burnley stop its four-match winless run?
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

14. Crystal Palace — Losers of five of six in all competitions, with the sixth being a 2-2 draw at Arsenal. These Power Rankings’ patience with the Eagles is tooth floss thin.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 15

13. Wolves — Have lost to Spurs, Brighton, and Watford since beating a Palace team we’ve already described as not quite there.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

12. Watford — Javi Gracia‘s men have a maddening way of disappearing, and they really should’ve found a way to a win at Newcastle. Those are the breaks when you’re on a losing run and, either way, when you give a team its first win of the season, you’re going to drop down our table.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

11. West Ham — Manuel Pellegrini can start to aim higher on the table with a win at Huddersfield Town this weekend.
Last week: 13
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

10. Brighton and Hove Albion — Chris Hughton‘s men will hope the Everton loss was a blip on the radar of a well-run vessel. A visit to Cardiff City should help right the ship.
Last week: 10
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

9. Leicester City — Finding a winner on such a wildly-emotional day at Cardiff City is wonderful, but how will the Foxes be able to perform in their return home from Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral in Thailand? All our best to the LCFC family.
Last week: 11
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

Leicester City’s Demarai Gray celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game and reveals a shirt that reads ‘For Khun Vichai’ (Simon Galloway/PA via AP)

8. Bournemouth — Losing to the cardiac kids of Manchester United is no shame, but a bounce back is necessary.
Last week: 7
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

7. Everton — That’s a fine win over Brighton, and the Toffees are finally where we expected them to be this season. Now can Marco Silva and Co. claim a result at Chelsea?
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

6. Manchester United — It’s not sexy, but it’s working for Jose Mourinho. This first derby of the season is a big, big one for this Red Devils side.
Last week: 6
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

5. Arsenal — No shame in drawing Liverpool.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Spurs — For as unimpressive as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have been from time-to-time, Spurs are three points off second place Chelsea and third place Liverpool. If they can get through the Champions League group stage without dipping too far off the Top Four, anything short of the title is possible.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 8

3. Liverpool — For all the Reds’ struggles with mojo, Mohamed Salah finding his finishing boots is really all they need to challenge for the title. The Egyptian is finding loads of chances but just not putting them away.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

2. Chelsea — They just kinda go about their business, don’t they? Won in Belarus on Thursday despite leaving much of the club at home.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 5

1. Man City — Look out: For as good as City has been, a loss in the derby could easily see them third on the table.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2