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Three things we learned from Man United - Man City’s Manchester derby

Manchester Derby

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City and Harry Maguire of Manchester United battle for the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 12, 2020 in Manchester, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Manchester City FC via Getty Ima

Manchester United - Manchester City: The 183rd Manchester Derby was a dud as Manchester United and Man City combined for four shots on target over 90 minutes at Old Trafford on Saturday.

[ MORE: JPW’s Man Utd - Man City player ratings ]

The point is United’s 20th on the season, one more than City and good for seventh place. Fourth-place Leicester City has 21 points.

[ MORE: Guardiola reaction | Solskjaer reaction ]

Perhaps the sloppiness was down to both teams playing midweek in the UEFA Champions League or maybe it was just about a derby being a derby, but neither team found the goal over 90 minutes.


Three things we learned from Manchester United - Manchester City

1. City’s off day: Man City had its chances but did not look like the team which had been scoring goals and keeping opponents from tempting theirs in recent weeks. Sergio Aguero’s stomach issues allowed a derby start for Gabriel Jesus and the Brazilian couldn’t do much with it. City finished with 54 percent of the ball but only nine of the 20 attempts at Old Trafford. Forgettable.

2. United let Ole down (and City’s defense sound): Given the above, which certainly has its roots in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s planning and willingness to start Paul Pogba despite plenty of tumult, United’s failure to score is down to the players. United rarely challenged John Stones, Ruben Dias, and Ederson on a day Marcus Rashford managed just 23 touches over 90 minutes. Also, it’s officially official that City’s back line has been righted.

3. Pogba, Fred star for hosts: Pogba was good when he had the ball and grew into the game in his own end after a slow start when City had possession. Fred was a menace despite wearing the effects of an early injury the rest of the way. The third member of the midfield, Scott McTominay, was fine but disappointed with a couple of chances to break through for the Red Devils.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

Man of the Match: Fred

Rodri, Fred, Pogba, John Stones, and David De Gea are up for the honor as is Harry Maguire. Both Rodri and Maguire missed chances to score, so we’ll slot Fred as our MOTM.

Manchester United - Manchester City recap

United pressed City’s back line and held possession for most of the first 10 minutes, Paul Pogba taking the lid off City’s back line as Bruno Fernandes won a corner.

Victor Lindelof flicked Luke Shaw’s corner to the back post by Scott McTominay opted for the outside of his right leg in place of his left peg and missed the ball entirely.

City claimed control in the final third and a lightning 1-2 between Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne led to Sterling’s shot into traffic blocked by United.

Fernandes had a dangerous free kick deflected out for corner before City’s claimed the next two chances as it remained 0-0 after 27 minutes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Pogba saw a shot deflect off the post in the 30th minute and Harry Maguire headed Shaw’s third corner over the bar.

City sprung a terrific counter attack as Gabriel Jesus drove the left and fed De Bruyne. The Belgian set up Riyad Mahrez for a shot De Gea parried and De Bruyne smacked over the goal.

Marcus Rashford won an iffy penalty off of Kyle Walker but that foul wouldn’t even be reviewed by VAR as the United forward was offside in the build-up.

Follow @NicholasMendola