Phil Foden scored two stunning shrikes as City recovered from a goal down to beat Manchester United 3-1.

City had fallen behind to a thunderous Marcus Rashford shot on eight minutes - against the run of play - and spent the next 50 minutes or so trying to find a way past a resolute United back-line.

But Foden levelled on 56 minutes with a screamer into the top corner from 20 yards, then scored a delightful second ten minutes from the end of normal time.

Erling Haaland wrapped up victory with a clinical finish following excellent work by Rodrigo to make it 3-1 in added time as the Blues moved within a point of leaders Liverpool.

What happened?

City started like an express train with total domination of the opening minutes.

There was an early shout for a penalty as Casemiro clashed with John Stones, but nothing was given with United just about clinging on.

But as sometimes happens, the team taking a bit of pummelling then go up the other end and score with their first shot on target.

United, looking to play with a fast counter-attack, raced forward as Bruno Fernandes collected Andre Onana’s long pass,  teed up Rashford who hit a thunderous drive in off the underside of the crossbar to give the visitors the lead on eight minutes.

Rashford then looked as though he was again through on goal as he ran onto another  long ball, but Kyle Walker did enough to unsettle the United forward and the danger was cleared. 

City attempted to respond quickly and when Foden raced clear of the United defence on 19 minutes, it looked like an equaliser was certain, but Onana stood tall and pushed his effort wide.

The remainder of the half was a strange affair, with City attacking continually but unable to find a way through a determined United back line.

Many of the crosses into the Reds’ box were easily cleared with the delivery rarely picking out a City head.

And then, by Haaland’s impeccable standards, an astonishing miss right on half-time as the ball was crossed into the box, Foden headed it back across goal and the Norwegian, with an empty net in front of him elected to volley the ball and in doing so put his shot over the bar.

As the half-time whistle went, City fans were left wondering whether the ball would ever go into the United net in this game.

Surely, if the game continued as it was, a shot ratio of 18-2 in City’s favour would eventually yield one, possibly two goals?

It was one way traffic again after the restart, with attack after attack repelled by the United rearguard.

It felt like a deflected shot, slice of luck or screamer was going to be needed to get the scores level – and after 56 minutes, finally, it was a Foden special that finally beat Onana.

The England star drove towards the United box, shifted to his left foot, and arrowed a rising shot into the top left-hand corner of the net to send the Etihad wild.

It wasn’t going to be one of those days after all!

It was thoroughly deserved and set up a thrilling last third to the game.

City turned the screw even more, with United almost camped permanently  in their own box.

It felt like just a matter of time before the Blues scored again.

Chances came and went, but there was an inevitability about proceedings with the Blues’ pressure relentless and when Foden collected Alvarez’s clever reverse pass in the box, he ghosted past one challenge and then placed a low shot past Onana to again send the Etihad wild.

2-1 - City ahead at last.

With the Etihad a cacophony of noise, the Blues controlled the minutes that remained comfortably and when the high press on United’s defence seeing Rodrigo win possession from Amrabat, then the Spaniard fed the ball into Haaland’s path and the Norwegian slid the ball home to make it 3-1 and end the game as a contest.

It hadn’t been easy, but it was a result that City completely deserved over 90 minutes.

TEAMS

CITY:  Ederson, Walker (C), Dias, Stones, Aké, RodrigoDe BruyneBernardo, Haaland, Doku (Alvarez 59), Foden (Bobb 90+7)

Subs: Stefan Ortega, Kovačić, Gómez, Gvardiol, Akanji, Nunes, Lewis

MAN UNITED:  Onana, Dalot, Lindelof, Evans (Kambwala 69) Varane, Casemiro, Mainoo (Armabat 82), McTominay, Fernandes (C), Garnacho (Forson 82), Rashford (Antony 75)

Subs: Bayindir,  Eriksen, Amad, Collyer, Ogunneye

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Player of the Match: foden

Another superb display of industry, skill and all-out effort from a City player at the very top of his game.

He was determined this contest was not going to end in defeat for the Blues and his two goals were of the very highest calibre.

A matchwinner in every sense of the word, but a special mention too for skipper Kyle Walker who was outstanding from start to finish.

Walker’s pace, anticipation and power is irreplaceable - he’s surely the best right-back in the world right now?

PEP REACTION

The boss was effusive in his praise of Phil Foden after the 3-1 win over Manchester United, claiming the City playmaker was already reaching legendary status.

“Winning games is when you become a world class player. Everyone play good but you have to win games, and he wins games. What can I say?’ said the boss.

“He loves football. He lives to play. There are people who like to play. He loves to play football.

“He will already be a legendary player because in a short age, the games played, the minutes, the goals scored, the titles won and he is from the home and that is why the connection with the fans is unbelievable.

“He is the player of the season, with all the respect for incredible players but no-one has been so decisive for us as him this season.”

Great start to a tough Month

A 3-1 win against United is the ideal start to what could be a month of destiny for City.

The derby win is just the beginning of an incredibly tough run of fixtures, with Champions League and FA Cup games added to a run of top-of-the-table Premier League clashes.

The Blues go to Anfield next Sunday to face Liverpool and later in the month, host Arsenal and then Aston Villa shortly after at the start of April.

There are twists and turns aplenty still to come – and unexpected results will affect all the title challengers.

Foden a world class talent

If there was ever any doubt about the talent Phil Foden has, the last few months have banished them for good.

That will be no surprise to City fans, who idolise the 23-year-old.

Foden has been improving year on year and his stats are getting better and better - but he has moved to another level over this season and been in the form of his life for the past two or three months.

Goals of all kinds, assists and the ability to unlock the most crowded of defences, it is a privilege to watch him develop into one of the best players in the world.

Premier League
1 Liverpool FC Liverpool Liverpool 27 19 6 2 64 25 39 63 LWWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 27 19 5 3 62 27 35 62 WDWWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 27 19 4 4 68 23 45 61 WWWWW
Last updated: 6 March 2024

What it means...

City move to within one point of leaders Liverpool ahead of next weekend’s summit meeting at Anfield. 

Arsenal play on Monday evening away to Sheffield United.

It’s a title race that is enthralling the nation - neutrals, that is!

What’s next?

City are back at the Etihad again on Wednesday evening for our Champions League Round of 16 second leg against FC Copenhagen.

The Blues lead 3-1 on aggregate and the game kicks off at 20:00 (UK).

Then it’s off to Anfield to face Liverpool next Sunday, 10 March with a 15.45 (UK) kick-off for a game that is bound to have an impact on the Premier League title race.

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