Yesterday’s 2-1 victory was City’s 14th league win in a row, and United’s first defeat at Old Trafford in 41 games since losing to the same opponents (and the same scoreline) in September previous year.
Manchester United just couldn’t get the ball off City near the corner flag in those painful last few minutes.
Apart from Tottenham Hotspur (who they play on the weekend), City have beaten every single one of their direct rivals and most of the rest as well to have opened up such a massive lead despite it not even being halfway into the season.
All at the home of their biggest rival, too. City was the victor then, too.
Instead, Guardiola left the Catalan giants for Bayern Munich, where he won three Bundesliga titles, one Fifa Club World Cup, a Uefa Super Cup and two German Cups during his glittering spell, before joining Citty. “In December it’s impossible to be champions but it’s good for us”, he said. “But it’s important for our confidence to feel that we can compete on big stages with huge personality”. There were two teams with a lot of quality.
And Guardiola said: “From the moment Manchester City approached, I decided that if I was to go to the Premier League, I would go to them because I know Txiki”.
United boss Mourinho felt Pep Guardiola’s side rode their luck at Old Trafford, with Ander Herrera booked for diving after a tackle by Otamendi that the hosts claimed was worthy of a penalty. We know they’re very good in ball possession, very good at bringing their full-backs inside and they also had an extra man with the striker dropping back. We want to play and we did it. “I’d like to see us dominate for another 10 years”, he says. “I’ve just visualised myself among the lads so many times doing it and if the physical aspect of it is OK you come back and realise you have made improvements”.
It meant City was getting quite easily to the edge of United’s box before encountering a wall of red jerseys. He failed to clear in the lead up to both of City’s goals – the second a particularly messy swipe with his right foot – suggesting that he is not the reliable defensive barrier Didier Drogba once was for Mourinho at set pieces.
The Belgium worldwide has found the net regularly since joining Manchester United from Everton, but still faces doubt over whether he can produce the goods in big games.
Poor defending at the other end allowed United to get level before the break.
Silva whipped a free-kick into the box and Lukaku, who had a derby to forget, drove an attempted clearance into the back of team mate Chris Smalling.
“Mourinho demanded City players show “more respect” as music blared out of their dressing room following their 2-1 victory”.
It was a sometimes scruffy and less than virtuoso performance from the side who sit 11 points clear at the top, though that must not obscure the fact that a United side displaying minimal ambition did not come close to squeezing the life out of their challengers.