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The perfect goal, Bernardo's class and a fine win

DEMOLITION DERBY: City were 3-1 winners in the 177th Manchester derby

DEMOLITION DERBY: City were 3-1 winners in the 177th Manchester derby

Manchester City remain top of the Premier League table thanks to a 3-1 win over Manchester United. Here, Club journalist Rob Pollard takes a look back at the major talking points from the game.

1The perfect goal

City’s third was perhaps the finest team goal ever scored in a Manchester derby. There were 44 passes in the build-up – the last of which was an exquisite ball into the box from Bernardo Silva that left Ilkay Gundogan alone, six yards, out, with just David de Gea to beat.

And the German obliged, taking a touch to control before finishing expertly. It was a sensational exhibition of football. 

It’ll go down as one the goals of the season. City, the finest exponents of possession football, moving United into areas they didn't want to go before striking the killer blow. 

"The reason to pass the ball is to move the opponent," Pep Guardiola said afterwards. "To just pass the ball makes no sense." This was passing with purpose. 

Expect to see this on derby compilation videos from this day forth. 

2Man-of-the-match Bernardo

It was a crowded field, but Bernardo was City's best player on the day, producing a mixture of technical brilliance and exhaustive discipline off the ball. 

He continually closed down the opposition, making a series of timely tackles and interceptions to dispossess and frustrate United, and when he was on the ball, he showed his technique and vision, opening up the visitors time and again. 

His relationship with David Silva, who also excelled, is developing nicely, and with those two in central-midfield together, the loss of Kevin De Bruyne has been less keenly felt than first feared. 

3Aguero the GOAT

Sergio Aguero continued his fine form in Manchester derbies, slamming home City’s second from a difficult angle in emphatic fashion.

This was his ninth goal in the fixture, leaving him just two short of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 11.

But perhaps more remarkably, this was his 21st in his last 18 home matches, a mind-boggling statistic that underlines his ability in the final third.

The greatest striker in the Club’s history, of that there is no doubt. 

WATCH: Guardiola | Title race is still so tight

READ: Gundogan savours extra-special derby victory

4Prolific Silva

It’s seven goals in 15 games across all competitions this term for David Silva, his best return at this stage of any season since joining City.

His creativity and ability to dictate games has never been in question. He’s now added goals to his beautifully crafted game and it’s taking him to a new level.

5Tireless Fernandinho

Is it normal for a player to keep improving at 33?

Fernandinho looks fitter and sharper than ever before, testament to his attitude and professionalism.

This was arguably his best performance for City, 90 minutes of energy, pressing, blocks, tackles and fine forward passes that launched countless attacks. Perfeito.

6Defensive solidity

With a relative dearth of top-class centre-backs in European football, City are in a wonderful position with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the defence. 

It's a partnership that's improving with each passing week. They are both strikingly similar: ball-playing defenders who are quick, strong and aggressive. With Laporte's left-foot bringing beautiful balance, City look more assured at the back than ever before. 

Highlights

Video

City 3 United 1: Extended highlights

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No striker in the Premier League has scored against City in open play this season. Indeed, we've conceded just five league goals, four of which have been from set-pieces. 

7Form team

Five wins in 13 days across three competitions, it’s been a wonderful fortnight for Manchester City.

And as we head into the international break, 12 games of the Premier League season gone, the table makes impressive reading.

Having played three of the top five away from home, and with the emotional drain of a derby out of the way, to be top of the table, two points clear of second-placed Liverpool, is testament to our outstanding form.

8Tight title race

“City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal - they have numbers to be champions,” Guardiola said after Sunday’s win.

“We are just two points clear - it is nothing.”

He’s right. Unlike last season, which saw City finish 19 points clear of our nearest rivals, this one looks likely to go to the wire.

For the first time in English top-flight history, three clubs are unbeaten after 12 matches of the season. Liverpool and Chelsea look superb, Tottenham have made their second-best start to a Premier League season and Arsenal are vastly improved.

It looks likely to be one of the tightest title races in years.

Interviews

Video

Bernardo hails 'El Mago'

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Media Watch

Press lavish City with praise after derby win

DERBY DELIGHT: The press were united in their praise of City this morning

The press are united in their praise of Manchester City this morning after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Manchester United.

All the latest news, views and transfer gossip from across the back pages

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Guardiola: Tactical switch proved decisive

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Gundogan savours extra-special derby victory

END GAME: Ilkay Gundogan celebrates his decisive third goal for City

Ilkay Gundogan hailed Manchester City’s superb 3-1 derby win over United as an extra-special triumph.

Ilkay Gundogian savours sweet revenge as City claim a wonderful 3-1 derby victory over United at the Etihad