Manchester Derby Provided Little Excitement in a Stalemate

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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling

Probably the most anticipated game of the weekend, the Manchester derby, took a place at Old Trafford. United and City entirely disappointed in a scoreless draw. It was one of the worst city derbies ever. The 170th duel between two bitter rivals provided no excitement, no goals and no scoring chances. Not until the 82nd minute when we saw the first shot on target. It’s pretty clear what the game was.

The first half of the big derby was the poorest this season in the Premier League. The ball was a little more in the possession of players in red; both teams were lacking passion and after the first 45 minutes neither team made a single shot on target! It was a bit bloody, though. After a head collision with Vincent Kompany, Wayne Rooney had to go off for medical treatment. Yaya Toure had a half-chance after De Bruyne’s corner and sent the ball narrowly wide. Only Martial showed some passion, creativity and lucidity.

Neither the second half had much to offer from the start. The game was played in the middle, but teams failed to connect more than three or four accurate passes before losing a ball. The first exciting situation, if you can call it, was after 62 minutes when Mata got the ball into space. The visitors’ keeper Joe Hart was quick off the line and picked up the ball. Van Gaal’s players finally managed to create something in the 84th minute, Martial superbly noted the substitute, Jesse Lingard. He sent the ball behind the City’s defense, found a 22-year-old midfielder who escaped Kolarov’s attention, but Lingard’s attempt to lob ended up on the crossbar.

It was an energy injection to United’s footballers, who then took the whole initiative in the final several minutes. Four minutes after the crossbar, United had another scoring opportunity. After the cross, Fellaini was able to head the ball down in the six-yard box, Smalling was on the receiving end, and Joe Hart stopped his shot. The scoreboard remained 0:0.

Over 75,000 people at Old Trafford saw very little from a two most expensive starting lineups in Premier League’s history. Speaking of which, Raheem Sterling was substituted in the 53rd minute after the forgettable performance. Wilfried Bony missed the first touch and willingness. The only bright spot in the Derby was Nicolas Otamendi. The Argentinian was the man of the match and deserved that with an impressive and flawless showing. He successfully closed all the doors for the home team’s forwards and took most of the credits for a clean sheet.

Wayne Rooney struggled to connect with Martial in final third; Yaya Toure couldn’t create a spark for the visitors. Aguero’s and Silva’s absence was evident in City’s game, and they are the game-winning players. De Bruyne won the game against Sevilla, but today was unnoticeable. Pellegrini even replaced Toure for Demichelis and at that moment he just wanted to escape with a goalless draw.

After this game, City has kept the leading position with 22 points while United is now fourth with two points behind.

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