City produced a flawless performance in the 186th Manchester Derby, comfortably beating United 2-0 at Old Trafford to move up to second in the Premier League table for the time being at least.

Eric Bailly’s own goal gave City an early lead and Bernardo Silva’s backpost tap-in, which brought a 26-pass move to a conclusion, doubled our advantage just before half time.

The second half was a masterclass in possession football as City toyed with United to see the game out comfortably and earn a vital three points. 

What happened 

City started superbly and deservedly took the lead on eight minutes when Joao Cancelo’s dangerous cross was turned into the roof of his own net by Eric Bailly.

That sparked a period of near-total control from City, with Pep Guardiola’s side dominating the ball while United struggled to put together sustained passing moves.

United crafted their first chance after 25 minutes of play when Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley was saved superbly by Ederson.

But normal service soon resumed. Our lead was almost doubled moments later when sharp counter ended with Gabriel Jesus producing a powerful effort from close range, but David De Gea made an outstanding reaction stop to keep United in the game.

It was a timely reminder of City’s ability to pick sides apart when space is left in behind.

De Gea was again the hero when he saved instinctively to stop Victor Lindelof putting Phil Foden’s cross into his own net for what would have been a second United own goal, before the United ‘keeper turned De Bruyne’s poked effort around the post.

City were playing with a real swagger and bit for the brilliance of the Spanish goalkeeper would have been out of sight with only a third of the game played.

Just before the break, City’s dominance was rewarded with a second after a wonderful sequence of passes.

Again, it was Cancelo’s ball that opened United up, with his right-footed delivery to the backpost tapped home from close range by Bernardo Silva - the perfect end to a fine 26-pass move that saw us in possession of the ball for one minute 38 seconds.

It was Bernardo’s third goal at Old Trafford for City.


With Jesus and Foden pinning back Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, allowing our full-backs freedom to exploit, United made a tactical change at half-time, with Bailly making way for Jadon Sancho.

But it failed to spark United into life.

For much of the second period, City were almost toying with United, moving the ball around quickly and efficiently while the home side chased shadows.

Foden flashed an effort off the post when he looked certain to score as City once again cut through United’s defence, and John Stones failed to hit the target with his first-time effort on the turn.

Jesus was denied what looked a clear penalty in the closing stages when he was clipped by Alex Telles, but the referee waved play on. 

The scoreline perhaps doesn’t do City’s dominance justice, but this was a brilliant performance and a vital three points.



XI: De Gea, Lindelof, Bailly (Sancho 46’), Maguire, Ronaldo, Greenwood (Rashford 67’), Fred (Van De Beek 80’), Fernandes, Shaw (Telles 73’), Wan-Bissaka, McTominay 

Subs: Henderson, Telles, Dalot, Lingard, Matic, Van De Beek, Martial, Rashford, Sancho


XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Jesus, Foden

Subs: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling, Grealish, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Palmer


Flexible City

Second-guessing Manchester City’s tactics is always difficult. Pep Guardiola often springs surprises and is always looking for subtle adjustments that will give his side an advantage.

But it’s perhaps the flexibility of City’s forward players that make us so hard to combat. At times during this match, United looked utterly perplexed and unable to stop us.

Bernardo Silva started as the False 9 here, but Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden can all play in that position.

Indeed, of the six players who operated ahead of City’s backline at Old Trafford, only Rodri’s role is fixed. The rest can switch with ease, moving between left, right and central areas.

It’s a nightmare for opposition defences.

Man of the Match: Rodri 

A near-perfect display from City’s midfield anchor. 

In Pep Guardiola sides, there a few more important positions. The protector of the back four must be disciplined, mobile and technically proficient. 

Rodri is all of those things and the best part for City fans is he continues to improve. 

Constantly in the right place at the right time. A brilliant temperament. Metronomic passing. 


Pep reaction 

“We spoke about the fact they are a transition team. We had to put the ball in the fridge - a lot of passes and at the last moments arrive.

“Except ten mins in the second half, the rest was really good.”

Foden reaction 

“I think we had the game of our lives today, everything went right. We dominated from start to finish which is really good.

“The possession and picking the right times to hurt them...really pleased.”


City enjoyed 69 percent of the possession, a stat that underlines our dominance. 

What it means 

City move up to second and open up a six-point gap on United in fifth.

We now have 23 points from 11 Premier League games thus far. 

Liverpool, who sit third, one point behind City, play their game in hand tomorrow away at West Ham, who are currently fourth.

Leaders Chelsea moved three points clear of City with a draw at home to Burnley. 

It’s looking increasingly likely to be one of the most fiercely contested Premier League seasons in recent memory.

What’s next

International football now takes centre stage, as we take a two-week break from club action, before three tough home games in the space of eight frantic days.

First up we face Everton at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday 21 November. That game kicks off at 14:00.

Three days later, it’s back to the Champions League as our Group A campaign continues at home to Paris Saint-Germain. That one gets under way at 20:00.

And then on Sunday 28 November, we host West Ham United, with kick off at 14:00.

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