Four things we learned from Man City v. Man United

Leave a comment

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’

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment
  • 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

Leave a comment

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.

Newcastle tops Bournemouth behind Rondon brace

Leave a comment
  • Rondon scores twice in 1st half
  • Lerma pulls one back before break
  • Magpies win second-straight

Salomon Rondon scored a pair of goals as Newcastle United won its second-straight match, this one a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Newcastle has won seven of its nine points in its last three matches, the last two wins, as the Magpies rise 14th with nine points.

Bournemouth sits sixth with 20 points. Jefferson Lerma scored the Cherries’ goal.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Bournemouth wasn’t shy to start the match, with Jordon Ibe’s promising chance thwarted by a sliding Federico Fernandez.

But Newcastle opened the scoring when DeAndre Yedlin raced onto the end of a Mohamed Diame cross, cutting back for Rondon to score on the second of two bids on Asmir Begovic.

The Magpies were very much under siege for the next 20 minutes, with goalkeeper Martin Dubravka very busy.

Bournemouth’s Adam Smith pulled up with a non-contact injury in the run-up to a free kick, and needed a stretcher.

But Rondon struck again, rising high to latch onto a Kenedy cross and deliver a trademark goal.

Begovic stopped a point-blank shot from Kenedy just before halftime, and was called into action again when a Ki Sung-yeung free kick was nearly headed in by Fabian Schar.

Lerma headed a close-range effort home to make it 2-1 before the break, and Ayoze Perez almost answered toward the end of 8 minutes of first half stoppage.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Perez cued up a sliding Ritchie effort that spun wide of the far post in the 63rd minute.

Ibe missed a bid to level the score in the 73rd minute.

Newcastle tested Begovic through substitute Christian Atsu in the 81st minute.

Ex-Magpie midfielder Dan Gosling thought he’d scored when Dubravka pawed a hard shot onto his path, but the Bournemouth man was offside.

Rondon came close to completing his hat trick in the 89th, but Begovic kicked it aside.