Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City
10th September, 2016
Old Trafford – English Premier League
The highly anticipated clash between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola finally came to fruition this afternoon as Guardiola saw his side triumph in spectacular fashion, ultimately winning the game 2-1 after controlling a large majority of the match and looking on top throughout. Kevin de Bruyne impressed greatly- scoring the opening goal, aswell as providing the assist for his teammate, Kelechi Iheanacho, who found himself replacing the suspended Sergio Aguero. Manchester United’s only positive came from their star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored after a disastrous fumble from debutant Claudio Bravo.
In a game that saw Manchester United humbled at home, many of the headlines will be centered around how well Manchester City looked against their rivals. City, who weren’t perfect, but still controlled the game from the off, looked in good form and showed the world that they are real contenders for the Premier League title and maybe even the Champions League trophy come the end of the season. The only negative for City however, will stem from the shaky debut performance of their new Chilean goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo. The shot stopper spilled a deep ball that floated into his penalty area, allowing Ibrahimovic to volley home, thus making the game a little more suspenseful than Guardiola will have desired. Bravo, despite this, dealt with everything else that was thrown at him with relative ease, even with the Old Trafford faithful and players alike making life difficult for the former Barcelona stopper.
The first half saw City dictate play and dominate the derby- Paul Pogba, the record breaking signing, was largely anonymous in the center of the pitch, aswell as the attacking quartet that United had employed. Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Wayne Rooney primarily, will have all felt they could have contributed more when they reflect on the game later this evening. It seemed as if United we’re content in sitting back, keeping a clean sheet and hitting City on the counter, but it only lasted for 15 minutes, as Kevin de Bruyne grabbed an opening goal after some beautiful play, gliding past the helpless Daley Blind and slotting home to the right of David de Gea, before splitting open the United defence once again and providing an assist for Kelechi Iheanacho, who proved he’s more than capable of being Sergio Aguero’s understudy, pouncing on a strike that hit the inside of the post.
As already mentioned, Ibrahimovic managed to grab one back for United after a disastrous error from Bravo, but it wasn’t enough. City weathered everything that United threw at them and the game finished with the blue side of Manchester the happier.
At the end of the game, the City players that remained on the pitch formed a huddle and showed their solidarity- they celebrated and then acknowledged their traveling fans. It was a hard fought contest this afternoon, but you can’t help but feel it’s only the start of this fierce Mourinho and Guardiola rivalry as the season wages on.