Where was the 171st Manchester derby won and lost?
Club journalist @markbooth_mcfc investigates, picking out five topics from our 1-0 defeat to Manchester United…
1 Good time for a pause?
City have played 29 games across four competitions since the last international break back in November.
In that time, the team has topped a UEFA Champions League group for the first time ever, qualified for the last eight of the competition and won the Capital One Cup for the second time in three years.
However, we’ve won just one Premier League game in five following our derby day defeat and for that reason, maybe it’s a good time for an international break to take a step back, analyse what’s been going wrong and pick ourselves up off the canvas for the final stretch.
At the end of last season we went on a six-match winning run to secure second – a similar run is required this time around to secure Champions League qualification at the very least.
2 Goal Drought...
It’s now 270 minutes since City scored a goal in any competition – a four and a half hour long scoreless run.
Against United, it wasn’t for lack of trying that the home side were unable to net but the fact that David De Gea was only called into meaningful action once in the 90’, from Navas’s low volley, probably tells its own story.
City racked up 26 shots on Sunday but appeared to grow increasingly desperate as the match wore on, snatching at chances that would normally be buried if we were in our usual flow.
Surely this levy is going to break after this international pause – there’s just too much quality in our attacking positions for it not to.
Perhaps the expected returns of Kevin De Bruyne and Samir Nasri will give us the fresh impetus we need to rediscover our scoring touch, starting at Bournemouth a week on Saturday...
3 Mr Versatile...
City’s best player of 2015/16? Fernandinho must be a strong contender.
The Brazilian had the highest pass accuracy of anyone in sky blue on Sunday and then showed his versatility, slotting into central defence when Wilfried Bony came on to bolster our attack.
It’s the third position he’s played in in as many weeks and he’s proved himself to be equally adept in central midfield, right wing and also in defence.
4 Race against time...
Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling are both set to be out of action for 3-4 weeks according to Manuel Pellegrini, following their injuries in Sunday’s game.
That leaves them both in a race against time to be fit for the UEFA Champions League quarter final against PSG with the first leg taking place three weeks on Wednesday.
More will be known when the players undergo tests this week but the pair have been two of our brightest performers in the competition so far this season, so the City boss will have everything crossed for a sunny prognosis.
5 Mangala makes his mark...
It will be lost in the disappointment of the result but Eliaquim Mangala didn’t put a foot wrong in the derby.
In our pre-match Talking Points, we looked at how the defender being left out of Didier Deschamps’ latest France squad could serve as an extra motivation for Mangala ahead of Euro 2016 and that could benefit City in the remaining weeks of the season.
With Nicolas Otamendi expected to return to action after the international break, the duo will have an opportunity to strike up a partnership in the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany.