Thursday 26 April 2018

5 things we learned from the Manchester derby

Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had a difficult debut
Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had a difficult debut

Jose Mourinho's Manchester United lost out to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Saturday in the 172nd derby clash between the two clubs.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from City's 2-1 victory.

1. Guardiola's City look like major title contenders - even without Sergio Aguero

The loss of Aguero to suspension for this match looked to be a huge blow for City, but they coped more than admirably at Old Trafford. Particularly in the first half, the Blues produced more of the slick football that their new manager has introduced as they maintained their 100 per cent start to the season and brought United's winning streak to an end.

2. Guardiola might regret replacing Joe Hart with Claudio Bravo

There was plenty of interest in how Bravo would fare here on his City debut after Guardiola's much-debated decision to bring him in for Hart - and the former Barcelona goalkeeper had a poor day to say the least. He is supposedly excellent with his feet, but there was little sign of that here. He made numerous mistakes, both on that front and in other ways, with one moment seeing him flap at a free-kick, allowing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score. He was also perhaps fortunate not to give away a penalty. City fans, certainly, will be looking for a more convincing showing from the Chilean in future.

3. Marcus Rashford looks more than ever like he should be in the United starting line-up

The teenage forward is yet to make the first XI under Mourinho, but the clamour for that to change - boosted by his match-winning cameo against Hull and subsequent hat-trick for England Under-21s - will only have strengthened after this performance. Introduced at half-time, he made an immediate impact and, while ultimately unable to salvage anything for his team, delivered another lively display overall.

4. Henrikh Mkhitaryan may need time yet to get to grips with English football

Rashford came on for Mkhitaryan, who comprehensively failed to make the most of the opportunity he had been presented in the shape of his first United start. The Armenian summer signing is unquestionably a gifted player, but was unable to show that on the big stage here and his performance would suggest it will still be a while before he really starts making a positive mark for his new club.

5. Tensions between Guardiola and Mourinho appear to be easing?

There had been plenty of focus on the relationship between the two managers in the build-up to this, their first head-to-head contest in English football. But both men had tried to play down their personal rivalry at their pre-match press conferences - and that was in line with what followed on Saturday, as they engaged in warm-looking embraces both immediately before the game and after the final whistle.

Press Association

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