Manchester City move top of table again with derby win as United incur the wrath of Roy Keane

Jason Burt
A dejected Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea - Offside

Manchester City once again moved a single, slender but hugely significant point ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League title race as they exposed the vast gulf between them and Manchester United. City have one hand on a trophy that simply seems a million miles from their near neighbours and they celebrated noisily.

Maybe Burnley on Sunday will provide a sterner test, maybe Leicester City a week on Monday might spring a surprise or Brighton, possibly still fighting for their lives on the final day, but with three games to go it feels like City are on the verge of being crowned champions.

This was their fixture in hand over Liverpool, this was supposed to be the big test, the one they had to overcome and, ultimately, it proved a bad night for the Reds; the Reds of Merseyside - but also of Manchester. When the second goal went in, it felt like the howls of frustration could be heard 30 miles away at Anfield.

The score-line was different from the 6-1 thrashing handed out to United by City at Old Trafford in 2011 but this felt equally, if not more, humiliating. City won the title then but United claimed it back the following campaign. But no-one will expect them to do that next year.

United had trained at their old training ground, The Cliff, during the day and in the second-half here they fell off a cliff as City stepped it up, and especially once they brought on Leroy Sane, and the home side had no response with the growing sense of bewilderment from their supporters. Most had left by the final whistle.

Contrast that to the thicket of City’s jubilant fans who gleefully ran through their repertoire of songs. “And now you are going to believe us, the wheels are falling off,” they sang and there were Oles for Ole as their team played keep ball and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stood impotent on the touchline.

The United manager sent on his own substitutes – big-name, big-money signings in Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial – but they did nothing. Nothing at all. And so United slumped to a seventh defeat in nine games in all competitions with Sunday’s fixture at home to Chelsea probably deciding whether they have any chance at all of finishing in the top four.

City have far bigger prizes to capture and in gaining their 11th straight league win – that is an extraordinary run – they also claimed a victory here for the sixth time in their last eight visits which is also some record.

They scored two second-half goals which means they have reached a total of 157 in all competitions and no team has ever reached that tally in the history of English football. They were aided by United errors and not least from goalkeeper David De Gea who is having a torrid time and appears distracted.

Roy Keane was kind enough to point out a few weaknesses  Credit: Reuters

The biggest indictment for United is that they put so much into the first-half just to stay in contention that they were spent early in the second period when City raised the tempo. They had pressed, they had played with intensity but they could not maintain it or, maybe, some players did not want to. They ran marginally more than City in the first-half and, remarkably, collectively 5km less in the second-half. That told its own story.

Pep Guardiola’s side were simply too good, too quick, too skilful, too clever and the manager corralled them all together at the end to applaud their raucous fans as Solskjaer made a solitary journey around the pitch to acknowledge the United waifs and strays.

To win we have to be ourselves, Guardiola said, and in the second-half City were that even if, before that, they looked nervous and were, briefly, knocked out of their stride by the pace and threat of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. In the television studios former United captain Roy Keane, working as a pundit, had spoken about there being too many United players who are “bluffers” but it was a buffer that Solskjaer constructed: five across the back and, as part of it, a surprising first start for Matteo Darmian since Jose Mourinho’s last game, the debacle away to Liverpool in mid-December.

There were desperately few chances – Ederson did well to deny Rashford, Lingard volleyed wide while, for City, Sterling had two sights of goal but did not connect powerfully enough before De Gea beat out a Bernardo Silva shot.

Significantly Guardiola delivered a half-time message that made the difference: risk losing by trying to win. City certainly reacted but it was when they lost Fernandinho to injury, with Sane coming on, that they cut loose.

In theory it meant Bernardo dropping back. Whatever his position, he scored. Collecting the ball from Ilkay Gundogan he pushed it inside, across Luke Shaw who fatally backed off and shot early to deceive De Gea and beat him inside his near post. Could the goalkeeper have done better? It seemed so.

Leroy Sane of Manchester City celebrates with teammates David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling Credit: Getty Images

City poured forward again with Sane allowing a Bernardo cut back to run to Sergio Aguero whose first-time shot clipped the outside of the post. Just as it appeared United were being over-run they maybe should have scored as Kyle Walker inadvertently cleared straight to Rashford who crossed. Lingard was slow to react as Vincent Kompany failed to intervene and missed the ball completely.

It felt like a big moment. Instead City struck and there were more question marks over United players as Fred, who was woeful, again surrendered possession with a loose pass for Kompany to send Sterling running. He swept the ball left to Sane who shot but surely De Gea should have done better than allowing it to ricochet off his leg and into the net.

It felt a tough watch for Liverpool, who may cruelly finish on 97 points and not finish on top, as it confirmed City are on course to become the first club to retain the title since United did in 2009. It also confirmed that sixth-placed United are 25 points – and a world away – from them.

 

11:02PM

Right that'll do it

Goodnight everyone. Don't let Roy Keane get ya.

10:54PM

Roy Keane

"Sorry for him? No. He is in a great job. Manager of Man United. He is a brilliant guy. They have to back him, give him the chance to turn these problems around."

Won 14 in first 17. 

Now seven defeats in last nine.

Roy: "Shaw is not up to it. Young is not a full back.  And they need two centre halves. Get your back five sorted, or else. I would be shocked if they are anywhere near the top."

Sky Droid: "Top? As in one or two."

Roy (face suddenly hard and furious, the old ham): "One. Top is usually one."

10:53PM

Ole Gunnar

"We got a reaction. We were beaten by a better team. We had a go. We had efforts. Work rate was there but we were not good enough.

"There is a difference in quality. They set the standard. Living in Manchester we cannot be happy with that. The challenge is to close the gap and then overtake them.

"Everyone was running. Of course they are disappointed.

"Pep has got a hungry team they want to win it back. They have aggression. Sometimes there will be fouls."

OGS

"David made some terrific saves as well. He is working very hard to improve. We have to stick together and make sure we don't do anything stupid."

10:40PM

More Roy

"I get the impressing that United are slacking off in all areas. Scouting, medical...  It is just not happening for them. And the have spent huge transfer fees."

"Who is making the decisions in the background?

"They need 2 centre halves and 2 full backs so that is four for starters."

10:39PM

He would love it

10:37PM

Joe Hart on Pep

"From the moment he arrived he made it clear that he did not want me in his team. But he is very honest. And he picks talent and he tells them to go out there and win games."

10:27PM

Roy Keane pulls his punch

"They don't have enough leaders and characters. We had a strong dressing room. People talking about the modern dressing room, the modern players, but they need leading, they need leaders."

Bit disappointing. Thought he might kick off about Rashford wearing a hat.

10:26PM

Gary Neville gets first go

"Fair dos to Rashford for coming out and speaking, sending a message to his teammates that they will have to pick themselves up. The club are in a low moment."

10:25PM

Already excited to hear

what Roy Keane will have to say about this titfer.

Some hat

"We never call each other out. But we have to be real to each other. We never single anyone out, never ever."

Roy, Graeme: have at it.

10:22PM

Roy Keane

turns his attention to Darmian. Sorry, Darmian.

10:11PM

Vincent and Leroy

Credit: Sky

Sane: "first half we did not get in rhythm but second half we had it. We have a really strong team, everyone is working really hard. Those like me on the bench have to be patient and work hard."

10:07PM

Gary Neville

"I think that is as good as United have got. I don't think that any of those players could have done more. They could have not made mistakes but I think that is the best they have got."

"Pep's teams, they just run you down. Your legs go. They just drain you.

"I have some sympathy, compassion for them."

10:06PM

Roy Keane

"I think City had an easy night. Fred won't track back, he is cheating."

"Luke Shaw. Whatever happened to stopping shot and getting close to people? Disappointed with Shaw there."

"Look Gary! They are selling themselves short."

"If that is players giving their all then United are in even worse trouble than I thought."

9:57PM

Here comes 

Jason's match report.

9:54PM

Full time: United 0 City 2

United were well in this in the first half but once City got the first, they seemed to relax. United still had their moments though. Defeat but no disgrace, on the night. In the broader scheme of things, well. that's another story.

9:53PM

This will be

United's 7th loss in 9. Next match: Chelsea.

9:53PM

90+ mins: United 0 City 2      

Four minutes added, but a lot of these United fans are not going to see them. And they will just have missed Pogba hoofing a pass straight out. OT is emptying FAST.

9:48PM

89 mins: United 0 City 2     

Danil is on. Gundogan, who has been in the wars in this match, gets a rest and probably a bit of arnica cream.

9:45PM

85 mins: United 0 City 2    

Pogba has a shot from distance, it takes a deflection and inadvertently turns into a great through ball, sort of grubber kick style. Ederson once again races off the line. He has been flawless. De Ge has been... not flawless.

9:43PM

83 mins: United 0 City 2   

OGS throws the dice with a double sub of Alexis and Martial. Matteo Darmian and Jesse Lingard off.

9:39PM

80 mins: United 0 City 2  

United are not playing badly, and are creating. Their fans have gone very quiet. Luke Shaw bundles Sterling to the floor down by the United corner flag. So naive.

9:39PM

77 mins: United 0 City 2 

Rashford, who does not deserve to be on the losing side, goes past Walker and Kompany - who looks a poor imitation of what he once was - and sets up Lukaku. Doesn't trouble the keeper.

9:36PM

75 mins: United 0 City 2

Lukaku is on and is giving City something new to think about. Pulls wide out to the right and crosses. Ederson parries it but Lingard cannot get his feet sorted in time.

9:33PM

73 mins: United 0 City 2

I feel that 0-2 is the least satisfying result. In order I wanted to see:

Massive brawl, four sent off

City pump United by 6 

United jammy win

 

 

all other eventualities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City get unconvincing win over spirited but unlucky hosts.

9:29PM

70mins: United 0 City 2

Silva has flying kicked Pereira in the chest. G Nev is all "out of character, very lucky not to be off".

9:26PM

GOAL! United 0 City 2 (Sane 65)

That's it! Leroy Sane has been a livewire since he came on.  Sterling breaks down the right, what a sight that kid is in full flow. Aguero tears down the centre, pulling the defenders with him, and Sane it is who picks it up in the inside left channel. He drives towards the goal and lets rip. Goalie error David de Gea! He's got a hand to that but jelly wrists has let it through at the near post. Oh boy.

Credit: Sky

What is up with David de Gea?

Goal rings a bell for Michael.

9:21PM

61 mins: United 0 City 1  

Good spell from United. Pogba receives it on the edge of the City box, Silva clips him and PP hits the deck for the freekick.

Pogba himself takes the freekick Credit: Sky

But Pogba hits the freekick straight into the wall.

9:17PM

56 mins: United 0 City 1 

It is all happening! United now. Great move from their front two - but they really are a front two. Rashford crosses, and Kyle Walker hacks the ball up in the air, poor technique and even worse decision making. Lingard tries to slide it in but is put off, perhaps, by the bizarre spectacle of Vincent K attempting, and totally failing, an overhead clearance kick.

9:15PM

55 mins: United 0 City 1

City, like a serious team or player should, sense that this is the moment. The drive forward, an intricate move, and Aguero drills a shot that shaves the post.

9:14PM

GOAL! Man Utd 0 Man City 1 (B Silva 54) 

Ooooh yes. Yes Manchester City. Bernardo Silva in the inside right channel. United back off. Luke Shaw backpeddling, Bernardo hits a hard low shot at the first post and that is a goal. De Gea could have done better? But I think Bernardo very cleverly uses Shaw as a shield. 

9:11PM

52 mins: United 0 City 0    

Here is young Leroy down the left. Sterling shifts sides. Lovely pass from D Silva, here is the onrushing Leroy... crosses! Ooh just hacked clear.

9:10PM

50 mins: United 0 City 0   

Leroy Sane comes on for Fernandinho. That should give City a bit more vim, no?

9:07PM

48 mins: United 0 City 0  

Pogba does brilliantly to get into the area but there are just too many men back. Fernandinho stops him with a block tackle and gets the full force of Pogba's six foot three frame through his knee. Ouch. Fernandinho is injured, and he is coming off.

9:07PM

47 mins: United 0 City 0 

Blootered high into the area. Cleared. Hit back in. Cleared. City definitely feeling the nerves.

9:06PM

46 mins: United 0 City 0

United win an early corner.

9:05PM

Kick off

What have City got? And how are Liverpool feeling about it all.

9:01PM

Enjoyed the first half

Good to see a close contest. I would also have accepted Man Utd 0 Man City 4 (Sterling 4, 21; Aguero 37, Smalling OG 44) as an answer.

8:50PM

Half time: United 0 City 0

Well, Guardiola needs to earn his corn, because his side have been a shadow of themselves. United's strategy: back five, keep it tight, hit balls in between City's creaky centre backs for Rash and Lingard to chase is working pretty well.

8:47PM

45 mins: United 0 City 0                  

Lingard has clattered Gundogan. Play carries on.

United sportingly kick it out after a few seconds, to the annoyance of their fans.

8:44PM

44 mins: United 0 City 0                 

City's best chance! David Silva the architect, little ball into the box, Aguero holds it, Sterling surges in and takes it, cannot find space for the shot... eventually does and hits the target with a weak effort. Could he have laid it off to Gundogan? He certainly didn't seem over-eager to shoot. Well anyway. That was a real warning for United.

8:42PM

41 mins: United 0 City 0                

Kompany looks nervy. Hacks clear, mis-hits. Now Bernardo nods off and is dispossessed. Freekick into the box, Ederson has to come a long way to gather.

8:40PM

Wolves at it again!

3-0 now. Arsenal getting a proper pasting in the Black Country.

8:39PM

38 mins: United 0 City 0               

A deflating freekick though. Just hoofed out. City have been a bit rubbs to be honest.

8:39PM

37 mins: United 0 City 0              

Aguero with a mazy run, ended by Fred. Not sure why that isn't a booking. Pity, perhaps.

8:34PM

34 mins: United 0 City 0             

Spell of pressure here. United pinned back. Two or three minutes in a row of City playing it around on the edge of the box, looking for the ball in. United remaining solid to be fair.

8:32PM

32 mins: United 0 City 0            

Sterling down the left. Gets outside. Cross is deflected for a corner. Ashley Young is limping.

8:31PM

30 mins: United 0 City 0           

Half an hour gone, and United are well in this. They've had the better... I wouldn't exactly say 'chances', but they have had better goal situations. The two of Lingard and, especially, Rashford have frightened the City back line with their pace. And two of the City back four are on yellows.

8:27PM

28 mins: United 0 City 0          

Young with a wicked ball in and it takes some great defending from Fernandinho to clear.

8:27PM

26 mins: United 0 City 0         

Zinchenko with two fouls in as many seconds. First on Young, then on... someone else, camera wasn't too helpful. Rashford? Anyway, the City player is booked.

8:26PM

25 mins: United 0 City 0        

Augero down the flank, a physical battle with Smalling and he has won it by a clear margin. Crosses. Headed clear.

8:25PM

24 mins: United 0 City 0       

Kompany gives Zinchenko a hospital pass, and Pereira has kicked him, foot high. Yellow. A few of the players jostle, the first bit of agg the game has seen so far.

8:23PM

22 mins: United 0 City 0      

Halfway through the half, and Rashford has just hit a long shot that dips wickedly. Just over. Rashford the best player on the pitch so far.

8:22PM

Of interest in the top four situation

Wolves are leading 2-0 against the Arsenal.

8:21PM

20 mins: United 0 City 0     

City going up through the gears... quick and skillful move here... on the edge of the box. laid back to Silva and he crushes a shot through a mass of bodies. He got every bit of that, De Gea parries it and it rebounds so far that United can start a great counter attack. 

Ball is played through by Lingard, Rashford onto it... and Ederson has to be lightning quick off his line to rush out and save at feet.

Through ball

8:16PM

16 mins: United 0 City 0    

Two decent moments from Pogba. First he shoots not far wide. Now he picks out Lingard with a superb long ball. Lingard, stretching, volleys over.

8:14PM

14 mins: United 0 City 0   

Sterling has it on the left, but United have numbers back and there is nowhere to go. All the way back to the keeper.

Sterling gets it back. Down the left, cuts inside. Shoots. Smalling sticks out a leg and that had 'deflected own goal' written all over it. De Gea adjusts in time.

8:13PM

13 mins: United 0 City 0  

City dominate possession.

8:13PM

12 mins: United 0 City 0 

Paul Pogba picks it up and tries to chip a ball over the top - which seems to be United's go-to move.... but overhits it.

8:10PM

9 mins: United 0 City 0

Rashford with a neat, nimble lay-off... and Kompany has shoulder-barged him to the floor for a clear yellow. He accepts it without complaint.

8:07PM

6 mins: United 0 City 0   

City just slowly ratcheting it up. A sustained spell in the United third. A freekick. Headed half clear. Back in. Overcooked.

8:05PM

4 mins: United 0 City 0  

Looong ball over the top from MUFC. Rashford pins back his ears and chases it. Fouled by Kompany. Not given! Poor from Andre 3000.

8:03PM

2 mins: United 0 City 0 

First spell of the ball for City, and United are curled up in a ball in a flat back five, then three midfielders set. Two forwards more or less left to get on with it upfield.

8:02PM

1 mins: United 0 City 0

Decent enough start from the hosts, a bright move down the left but the pass overhit.

8:00PM

Not so babyfaced now

OGS

 And he is about to watch City kick off.

7:59PM

Manchester United

in red, black shorts. City in their correct blue shirt and white shorts. The Rhyme of the Andre Marriner is the man in black.

Man Utd: de Gea, Darmian, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw,  Andreas Pereira, Fred, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford. Subs: Sanchez,  Mata, Lukaku, Martial, Dalot, Romero, Matic. 

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko,  Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.  Subs: Danilo, Sane, Mahrez, Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, Foden,  Muric. 

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands) 

Victor Lindelof, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling Credit: Getty

7:51PM

From live theatre

we turn to football. 

The players are on the pitch warming up. Kick off in ten minutes. 

7:48PM

Raheem Sterling

"When the match day comes that is the most important day of your life, but you need to get away from football as well. And this is what you love football for, growing up."

7:39PM

Gary Neville

"I think he is world class but I don't think he wants to be here. We know the influence his agent has on him. He is playing like he has had his head turned by another club.

"He has influence."

7:38PM

Roy Keane on Pogba

"I do not believe a word he says. I don't think he does either. He talks about body language? I see him throwing his arms up in the air.

"I heard they were even throwing their hair gel at each other it got that bad."

"I don't see pride in his performances. A great player makes his teammates better and he does not do that."

7:36PM

Paul Pogba

"What we did on the pitch was not respectful. The body language is not good enough for this shirt. We have to go back to the basic: really simple but really hard. You have to stay in your position, work for your teammate. You have to give your best for your time."

7:35PM

Not a very nice night

Rain falls over Old Trafford ahead of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City Credit: Getty

7:32PM

Yet another reason to rag on Joe Hart

He's booted Shaun Goater out of his seat!

Hart on - Goater off (-29) Credit: Sky Sports

7:30PM

Vincent Kompany

"It is a derby and within that context nothing else matters. We both need to win."

7:29PM

Pep Guardiola

"the players should be so focused. Every derby is special. Experience counts.. The selection, I always think a lot but the other guy will try as well. We have to be ourselves. They will start strong for their people, because after 4-0 you need to."

7:27PM

I wonder if the presence 

of his former captain Roy Keane has cowed Gary Neville a little? He's hardly said a dicky bird. Come for the Gary Neville tantrum, stay for the Souey and Keano evisceration.

Oh, Manchester: so much to answer for Credit: PA

7:23PM

Theatre of Dreams

more of a circus big top in recent times

7:21PM

This is utter nonsense

7:20PM

Neville

"Mourinho, hardened manager of 20 years, he can take it. But I sat next to Ole in the dressing room for 11 years. I have a lot of feeling towards him."

7:19PM

Keano

"I don't believe this stuff about there will be a great reaction. These are the same players that threw Mourinho under the bus. There are too many bluffers at that club."

7:16PM

Gary Neville

intrepid reporter.

OGS and Neville

he's done an interview with Ole. Let nobody say that Britain's large sporting institutions will not submit themselves to scrutiny.

"For me this is the best fixture we could have," says Solskjaer.

7:14PM

The split striker phenomenon

Excellent piece here about a hot tactical trend.

What did Tottenham's glorious 4-3 Champions League defeat at Manchester City, Man Utd's FA Cup wins at Arsenal and Chelsea, and Arsenal's league victories over Spurs, Chelsea and United all have in common? 

In each instance, the winning team either started with or switched to a system using 'split strikers': a nominal front pair who break into wide spaces rather than standing on the toes of opposing centre-backs. 

7:11PM

Ole under pressure

"How many games has he been involved for now?" asks Souness about Solskjaer. "20? And he is still scratching around for his best team."

I had a tenner on Pochettino to be the Man United manager at the start of next season. Nearly ripped up the slip the other day but, you know, another few 4-0s and who knows. Solskjaer's no doubt baby faced bum is in the bacon slicer.

7:09PM

Wonder if they got a receipt for that banner?

20 Legend Credit: Getty

7:07PM

Roy Keane

"Big question mark over these players, and over Ole now. He will be hoping for a reaction, whether he believes he will get one or not is another matter."

7:06PM

Teams

Man Utd: de Gea, Darmian, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw,  Andreas Pereira, Fred, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford. Subs: Sanchez,  Mata, Lukaku, Martial, Dalot, Romero, Matic. 

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko,  Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.  Subs: Danilo, Sane, Mahrez, Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, Foden,  Muric. 

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands) 

7:05PM

Man United team

Five changes of personnel, and a change of formation as well: it looks like a back five.

7:04PM

A cast of thousands

for Sky tonight.

Sky

7:03PM

A slam poet type called David Scott

has done a poem called 'Neighbours' with his band Argh Kid

Argh Kid

"What's that old proverb? 'Love thy neighbour'. Well there won't be much chance of that over the next 90 minutes," says Argh Kid. Could have been a Dave Jones line, that.

7:00PM

United legend 

in his later playing days.

6:58PM

Team news should 

be here any second.

6:48PM

Spring chucks

6:45PM

The culture at Manchester United

6:43PM

One City player might

have something to prove tonight, not that he has anything to prove for my money.

Virgil van Dijk 'beats Raheem Sterling' to Players' Player of the Year award

6:38PM

Good evening football fans

And welcome to our live blog coverage of the Manchester derby, the football fixture in which, as you may suspect, Manchester United face Manchester City. The match will start at 8pm and we will have the Manchester United teams news and I dare say the Manchester City team news as well, as soon as possible. It has been tipping it down in Manchester this afternoon, which is good news for the underdogs, bit of a leveller and all that. When I first began writing about football online, the year was 1999 and Manchester United were the Champions of Europe and of England. Manchester City had been relegated to the third tier of English football in the summer of 1998. I went to the play-off game where they beat mighty Gillingham on penalties, all those City fans doing a 180 on Wembley Way to get back in, having left in disgust. It was the era of the Massive Club, Massive Joe Royle, and City were a byword for bathos and capitulation.

Ferguson ruled English football with an iron rod and it seemed that United would never be toppled from their perch.

And here we are 20 years later, and Manchester United are 6/1 to win. Sixes! That is the biggest price they have ever been for a home Premier League fixture.

Do they have a prayer? Possibly, possibly not. Here is how they might go about this seemingly herculean task, brilliantly explained by JJ Bull in his tactical preview.

How Manchester United will respond to Everton humbling, and City's tactical plan to counter them

And here is a story about how they might go about picking themselves up at Old Trafford: get that nice Darren Fletcher in to do a job.