Hello everyone! Freddie Humphry-Wakefield here to keep you updated with all the action as Premier League champions, and league leaders Manchester City host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium for the 187th Manchester Derby. City vs United. Pep Guardiola vs Ralf Rangnick. Red vs Blue. It’s a big one, there’s no doubt about that.
Both sides will be going into this fixture in the top five places, with City top of the table with 66 points from 27 matches, they also have only conceded 17 goals in the Premier League so far this season, as you’d expect, the fewest of any team in the league. The Red Devils are currrently sat fifth with 47 points from 27 games, and also possess the second lowest goals scored (44) and most goals conceded (34) of the sides in the top five. Makes you wonder how they’ve managed to get there in the first place!
Manchester City have three wins, one draw, and one loss in their last five Premier League fixtures, scoring 10 and conceding four. The last home fixture in the Premier League they had was that one loss, where Harry Kane scored a 95th minute winner for Tottenham in a 3-2 defeat for The Citizens just three weeks ago. However, that was only one of two home losses this season for City, the other being a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace back in October. If City win this evening, they will go six points clear of Liverpool in second, but will have played an extra game than their title rivals.
In relation to their fortune at home against United in this fixture, Guardiola’s side haven’t won at home against their Manchester rivals since November 2018, where they ran out 3-1 winners. City would go on to win the league that season with a total of 98 points.
Now onto Manchester United. Rangnick’s side have two wins and three draws in their last five Premier League fixtures, scoring eight and conceding four. United have lost away from home twice this season (4-1 vs Watford and 4-2 vs Leicester) and considering they haven’t lost at The Etihad for four years, they should look at this game with high levels of confidence, as their stats away from home in the league this season would suggest a potential away win. If United walk away with all three points, they will move back up to fourth, and two points clear of Arsenal, after The Gunners earlier 3-2 win away at Watford with three more games played (28), and will be three points off third placed Chelsea, but Thomas Tuchel’s side will have two games in hand.
In the last 31 meetings between these sides, City have won 14, there has been a draw on four occassions, and United have won 13. Considering the contrast of success between the two sides in the last decade, it’s incredible to think they have very similar win rates in this fierce fixture.
When these two sides met eachother earlier this season, City walked away with a comfortable 2-0 win at Old Trafford, thanks to an own goal from Eric Bailly in the seventh minute, and a 45th minute goal from Bernardo Silva. That game saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United manager and Donny Van de Beek, now on loan at Everton, on the bench. No suprise there. Guardiola’s side dominated, having 16 shots to Manchester United’s five. Will we see a similar scoreline today?
Manchester City are without Portuguese international Ruben Dias, who will be unavailable for a minimum of four weeks after injuring his hamstring in the FA Cup tie with Peterborough United on Tuesday. Nathan Ake, Zack Steffen and Cole Palmer are the only other injury concerns that face Guardiola in terms of his squad selection.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United have Scottish midfielder Scott McTominay back in training after missing the last two matches (0-0 vs Watford, 1-1 vs Atletico Madrid) due to illness. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani has overcome a recent groin problem, and is llikely to be part of the matchday squad.Embed from Getty Images
There’s now only one more hour until the Etihad Stadium hosts the 187th Manchester Derby! That can only mean one thing, you’ve seen the sub-heading, it’s time to bring you the starting lineups for Guardiola’s Citizens and Rangnick’s Red Devils, who will we see start this humongous game? Let’s take a look and find out!
Here’s a first look at the lineup for Machester City:
Three changes made by Guardiola from the side that won 1-0 away at Everton in their last Premier League fixture, as Kyle Walker comes in for Dias, Riyad Mahrez comes in for Ilkay Gunodgan and Jack Grealish starts over City’s top scorer this season, Raheem Sterling.
Now onto Manchester United’s starting eleven:
Also three changes made by Rangnick from the side that drew 0-0 with Watford in their last game. Harry Maguire comes in for Raphael Varane due to the latter testing positive for covid, McTominay returns in the place of Nemanja Matic, and Jadon Sancho starts over Cristiano Ronaldo, who has a hip flexor injury. That means either Bruno Fernandes or Anthony Elanga will take up the false nine role. Could that prove to be a costly loss for United today? Or will their players be up to the test? Brazilian midfielder Fred also makes his 150th appearance for the club.
The players are now walking out here at The Etihad! We’re just seconds away from kick off! Will it be another win for United in the derby at The Etihad? Or can City get their first win at home in the derby for four years?
MIN 1 – Michael Oliver blows the whistle, Manchester United kick-off, and we’re under way at the Etihad Stadium.
MIN 2 – It looks as if it’s Fernandes playing in that false nine role, he’ll be competing with Phil Foden in the battle of the false nine’s. Or whatever war-inspired name you can think of.
THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG DID IT?! The Belgian ghosts into the box to drill a low strike past David De Gea. City build down the left-hand side as Grealish plays through Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese international finds half-a-yard of space and fires a low ball into the middle for De Bruyne to pounce on and bury into the bottom-left corner. What a way to score your 50th Premier League goal!
MIN 8 – Good chance there for United. Fernandes threads a beautiful pass to find Fred, who takes a step past Walker to bear down on goal. Ederson rushes out and is able to smother Fred’s effort before Grealish clears the danger.
MIN 10 – One chance for either side at both ends so far. Only one of them taken. Plenty of tackles, fouls and lots of noise. Yep, this is most certainly a derby game.
MIN 12 – Paul Pogba tries to weave his way through the City back line, but he loses it on the edge of the box before fouling Joao Cancelo.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 18 – De Bruyne almost has his second. He collects the ball on the edge of the box and charges into the left channel. He fires a low effort at goal, but De Gea makes the save. Foden tries to score on the follow-up, but the referee believes that he fouls Maguire in the process.
MIN 20 – Manchester City have won all 20 Premier League fixtures when they’ve gone 1-0 up this season. Nine of the previous 10 Manchester derbies have been won by the side who scored first. Not good news for the visitors.
IT JUST HAD TO BE! WHAT A GREAT GOAL BY SANCHO ON HIS RETURN TO THE ETIHAD! United are back in the game as Sancho bends a strike past Ederson with the aid of the post. Pogba feeds the run of Sancho in City’s half, he uses the run of Fernandes to his left to create space on the inside and curls his attempt into the bottom-right corner.
MIN 25 – Silva powers a cross into the box that Foden flicks towards goal. It loops dangerously towards goal, but De Gea watches it clip off the top of the crossbar and over for a goal-kick.
IT’S GOALS GALORE HERE AT THE ETIHAD! DE BRUYNE GETS HIS SECOND OF THE EVENING! Foden starts the move with a brilliant touch and turn past Victor Lindelof. He sees his effort saved by De Gea, while Maguire denies Silva on the rebound. After Alex Telles fails to clear the danger, De Bruyne gathers the loose ball and plants his attempt into the top-left corner. United were only level for six minutes.
MIN 34 – De Bruyne is the first Manchester City player to score a brace in this fixture in the Premier League since Sergio Aguero in April 2015. The score in that game? 4-2 to Manchester United. It will take some effort for United to match that result based off how they’ve played so far.
MIN 36 – There is a break in play as there has been a medical emergency in the crowd identified by Manchester City fans. Stewards have acted quickly and have taken a stretcher to the individual to help them out of the ground.
MIN 38 – We’re now back underway here at the Etihad Stadium with a drop-ball from the referee. Hopefully the fan is alright.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 40 – De Bruyne has been directly involved in 88 goals in his 100 Premier League home appearances for City and Chelsea combined (37 goals, 51 assists). Pretty decent, but could it he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?
MIN 41 – Close from Foden. Pogba gives the ball away on the edge of the City box, and within five seconds City transition well, as De Bruyne threads it through to Foden, but his effort whistles past the post.
MIN 42 – Great chance wasted by Sancho. United get in down the right and work the ball into the box, Fernandes cuts it across to Sancho, who looks to curl his effort into the far corner but shanks it high and wide. Should be his second.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 45 – Good save from De Gea to prevent Mahrez from making it 3-1. The Algerian hits a low shot after being set up by De Bruyne and cutting inside. It almost goes past De Gea, who sticks out his right hand just in time.
MIN 45 + 1 – There will be three minutes of added time. I don’t think anyone wants this to end!
And take a deep breath! What a great 45 minutes of football that was. De Bruyne opening the scoring with his 50th Premier League goal, before Sancho equalised on his return to the blue side of Manchester, but De Bruyne doubled his tally just six minutes later to put City back in the lead.
Since the goals, City have been dominant, and if it wasn’t for De Gea, United would be behind by many more. He’s easily been United’s best player this game, a very common occurrence as of late for the Spaniard.
Pep Guardiola will be happy with his side’s performance, although he will be looking for them to be tighter at the back in the second half as United have had opportunities after Sancho’s strike. Ralf Rangnick will be urging his side to search for a clinical edge to get back into the contest for a second time.
The teams are now back out and we’re ready to start the second half! Can City hold on? Or even add to their tally? Or will it be United to turn it around and get a point, or maybe even all three? We’re now about to find out!
MIN 46 – The whistle blows, Manchester City kick off, and we’re back under way at the Etihad Stadium.
MIN 47 – De Bruyne looks to start the half off quickly for City as he gathers possession and goes forward. The attack fizzles out and United regroup.
MIN 49 – Been all Manchester City so far. United haven’t been out of their half yet.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 50 – Foden bullies Aaron Wan-Bissaka off the ball, before hitting a low shot wide of the right post.
MIN 52 – United finally get the ball out of their half and almost get Elanga on the charge. Pogba’s pass finds the young Swedish attacker, but he fails to get on the end of it as Cancelo proves stronger.
MIN 57 – Grealish is brought down by Wan-Bissaka on the left-hand side and City win a free-kick. De Bruyne sends a low ball to the edge of the box for Mahrez to strike, but he angles his effort over the bar. United are clinging on here.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 59 – Elanga collects Pogba’s pass and breaks into the box, but Cancelo gets back to make a vital challenge to clear the ball over his own bar.
MIN 64 – We have the first booking of this derby. Maguire is shown a yellow card for bringing down De Bruyne with a cynical foul.
MIN 65 – Rangnick makes a double change for United to try and switch things up. Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard come on, Elanga and Pogba make way.
WHAT A FINE FINISH FROM MAHREZ OFF THE SET PIECE FOR HIS 20TH OF THE SEASON IN ALL COMPETITIONS! CITY LEAD BY TWO NOW! De Bruyne turns provider for the Algerian as he floats his cross from the left-hand side over everyone in the box, and it falls to the right-hand side of the box. It’s absolutely perfect for Mahrez to meet on the half volley and fire into the far corner after it took a deflection off the knee of Maguire.
MIN 70 – Mahrez’s goal today has taken him to 100 goal involvements for Manchester City (59 goals and 41 assists). Is he the most underrated player in the Premier League? Potenially so…
MIN 73 – Grealish and De Bruyne combine in the final third to tee up Mahrez on the right-hand side. He goes for a shot on his right foot to the near post, but De Gea beats the ball away.
MIN 80 – First change for Pep Guardiola’s side. After a sublime showing, De Bruyne makes way for Ilkay Gundogan, who makes his 150th Premier League appearance.
MIN 81 – Kyle Walker chips a cross to the near post, where Cancelo hits an acrobatic volley, but De Gea dives to his left to palm it away from the goal.
MIN 83 – It has been 35 minutes since Manchester United last attempted a shot in this game. Simply not good enough.
MIN 87 – It’s just too easy for City at the moment. They’re knocking the ball around the pitch to chants of “olé” from the home fans.Embed from Getty Images
MIN 90 – There will be two minutes of added time.
MIN 90 + 1 – Mahrez has the ball in the back of the net again, but he’s flagged offside. However, VAR is having a look…
VAR AWARDS THE GOAL! MAHREZ IS ONSIDE AND HAS HIS SECOND OF THE EVENING! Mahrez puts the icing on the cake for City as Telles plays him onside. Gundogan threads a pass through for the run of the winger, and he surges behind the United defence before smashing a left-footed effort past De Gea.
And there we have it! Mancester City absolutely outclassed Manchester United thanks to a brace from both De Bruyne and Mahrez and get their first Manchester Derby win at The Etihad in four years. A truly dominant display from the champions, which puts them six points clear of Liverpool, and on 69 points from 28 games. However, Liverpool can keep the pressure on as they now have a game in hand.
Guardiola’s men now look ahead to their second leg tie with Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League, before being hosted by Crystal Palace in their next Premier League fixture on the 14th of March.
As for United, it just never got going, despite Sancho firing them level. Just six minutes later, they were behind again and barely had a kick. They’ve lost both derby games against City this season, and because of Arsenal’s earlier 3-2 win against Watford, they slip into fifth by one point. But, Arsenal have 3 games in hand on United. Is it safe to say their hopes of the top four and Champions League football next season is over?
Rangnick’s men now have to brush themselves down and go again at Old Trafford next Saturday when they host Tottenham.
I’ve been Freddie Humphry-Wakefield, and I’ll see you next time! Have a great evening! Well, try to enjoy it if you’re a Manchester United fan, at least you scored!