Manchester City saw their long winning run come to an end as Manchester United ran out 2-0 winners at the Etihad.
Both sides came into the game on the back of impressive runs of form, Manchester City having won a record-breaking 21 successive matches in all competitions, while Manchester United were unbeaten in their last 21 away matches before their short trip across the City.
This game got off to a frantic start, with Manchester United going straight onto the front-foot, and a clumsy challenge from Gabriel Jesus on Anthony Martial saw referee Anthony Taylor pointing to the spot after just 34 seconds. Bruno Fernandes strode up and did what he has so often done best, stepping up and despatching from the resulting spot-kick to give the Red Devils an early lead – the first time City had fallen behind in a game since November.
City looked surprised by Manchester United’s early positivity, though the league leaders finally settled into the game and began to exert the kind of dominance that we have become so accustomed to in recent months.
Dean Henderson – given a chance amid the continued absence of David de Gea – was relatively untroubled in the first half, though he did see a low Riyad Mahrez effort go narrowly wide, while Man City midfielder Rodri saw an effort clip the bar in the opening stages of the second period.
In the 50th minute, Henderson would spring an attack as he bowled the ball out to Luke Shaw who drove up-field before laying it into Marcus Rashford. The England international advanced into the box, cut onto his right, but instead of having a go himself, he laid it back off to Shaw who had continued his run, the left-back in space and able to take a touch before firing into the bottom corner to leave Ederson flat-footed.
City did start to turn the screw as the game drew towards its conclusion, substitute Phil Foden seeing an effort go wide, while the Red Devils were forced into some resolute defending to keep the league leaders at bay and maintain their clean sheet.
2 – Today is the first time that both Liverpool and Manchester City have lost a home @premierleague game on the same day since March 3rd, 2007, when Liverpool lost to Man Utd under Rafael Benítez and Man City to Wigan under Stuart Pearce. Rest. pic.twitter.com/9JHXWyAP0u
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 7, 2021
Speaking afterwards, Pep Guardiola congratulated United for their victory, but conceded his side weren’t ‘clinical’ enough in front of goal, just six of their 23 attempts being on target.
“It was a fantastic game,” he told Sky Sports. “United make incredibly high pressing and they are so fast on the counter. We played good. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be clinical up front so we congratulate United.
“We will be the news because we lost. But the news is 21 victories in a row. There are still 30 points to play and we have to start to win again.
“That’s football. Sometimes it happens. We played much better than the game against West Ham which we won.
“It’s always the same. We win a game and then move onto the next one. It’s the same here. We lose this so we go to the next one. It’s a lesson. Even at 0-2 we played really well.”
The result still leaves City 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games to play, with Guardiola’s side facing Southampton at the Etihad in midweek.
See also – Five of the best Manchester Derbies