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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020


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Here we go. We’re nearly set for one of the biggest matches of the Premier League season, with kick-off at 8pm.

United are chasing a Champions League spot and desperately need a win to keep their top-four hopes on track.

Meanwhile, anything other than a win would take City’s title charge out of their hands.

It almost goes without saying that the two teams have had contrasting form of late.

United have lost six of their last eight matches in all competitions, while City have won their last 10 Premier League fixtures on the trot.

Confirmation of tonight’s teams, with United making five changes from the defeat to Everton.

Strong stuff from Roy Keane on Sky Sports.

He accuses the United players of “throwing Mourinho under the bus” and suggests “a leopard never changes its spots”.

Who do you think will win?

Poll Results:

Man City (460)
Draw (300)
Man United (281)

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League - Old Trafford Manchester United fans race to the ground in the heavy rain. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

More interesting comments from Keane. “I heard it got so heated in the United dressing room they threw their hair gel at each other.”

After a Pogba interview, Keane says: “I wouldn’t believe a word he’s saying.”

My colleague Gavin Cooney has a full piece on Keane’s comments here.

Another interesting quote: “You’re supposed to be up for every game. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing for Man United or Altrincham. You’ve got to be up for every game of football. So I don’t fall for this carry-on that there will be a brilliant reaction from these players.” 

We’re under way…


Luke Shaw bursts forward from left-back but his pass is too heavy for Rashford.

Some positivity at least from United early on.


It’s been quite stop-start and scrappy so far.


A couple of passes have gone astray from both sides, which is perhaps an indication of the level of tension on this extremely high-stakes occasion.


Kompany gets booked early on for bumping Marcus Rashford, as the striker attempts to play a one-two.

The England international has caused the City defence plenty of problems with his pace in these opening stages.


Kyle Walker’s attempted pass goes straight out of play.

City have looked really nervy in the first 15 minutes.


Sterling finds space on the edge of the area. His shot takes a deflection off Smalling, which diverts it comfortably into De Gea’s arms.

Down the other end, Fred’s audacious effort from 30 yards out goes wide, before Lingard meets Pogba sublime long pass, escaping the attentions of Laporte before his first-time volley goes a few inches to the wrong side of the post.


Big moment in the game. Bernardo Silva’s powerful strike is parried by De Gea.

United then break. Lingard plays through Rashford, but Ederson does well to get to the ball just before the striker and make a timely interception with his hands.


It’s been a pretty good performance from United so far, or at least much better than they were against Everton on Sunday.

As I type, Rashford is afforded plenty of space and his shot from about 40 yards out is dipping but ends up going just over. The England international has looked really sharp so far.


Aguero escapes the attention of Smalling on the left. The Argentine striker’s cross is deflected into the path of Bernardo Silva, whose bicycle kick goes wide.

Meanwhile, Zinchenko has just been booked for an ill-timed challenge on Rashford.

This game is turning into a real battle and it feels like there could well be a red card at some stage.


United are two-on-two for a moment as they break, but Rashford’s touch is too heavy and the chance is gone.

City look very vulnerable on the counter-attack just like they did against Spurs.


City have had a very good spell of controlled possession in recent minutes.

The visitors are still struggling to carve out clear-cut chances, however.


United have defended well so far, though they’re getting pinned back further and further as the game develops.

After that opening flurry from the hosts, it feels as if the difference in class between the two sides is becoming more apparent now.


Decent chance for City!

Some vintage close control inside the area sees Sterling escape the attentions of two defenders, though his tame shot is comfortably saved by De Gea.


A heavy touch from Pogba sees City prevent United from launching a counter-attack.

Moments later, Aguero drags a shot well wide from the edge of the area when he would have been better playing in Silva.


Gundogan is down following a poor challenge from Lingard.

There’s no free kick but United put the ball out of play so the German midfielder can receive treatment, much to the crowd’s frustration.



So half-time and it’s been frustrating from a City perspective.

The visitors have dominated possession and territory, and have had a couple of half chances, but without De Bruyne, appear to be lacking that creative spark required to cut open United’s stubborn backline.

The Red Devils, meanwhile, have looked threatening with their sporadic counter-attacks. Marcus Rashford, in particular, has been causing Vincent Kompany problems with his pace and the experienced defender is on a booking following a cynical challenge on the England youngster.

With 45 minutes remaining, this game is very much in the balance.


Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League - Old Trafford Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan (left), manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola look on. Source: Mike Egerton


The second half has begun…


The two Silvas and Sterling link up almost immediately, as City attack with menace.

David Silva’s cross into the box is ultimately cut out and cleared by United.


Pogba plays a one-two with Rashford on the edge of the area, but Fernandinho is well positioned to snuff out the danger.

However, the Brazilian midfielder has picked up an injury in making that challenge and has to go off as a result, with Leroy Sane replacing him.

It looks like Bernando Silva will go back into midfield and play alongside Gundogan as City alter the make-up of their midfield/attack.


Silva receives the ball on the edge of the area, shifts the ball away from Shaw before his shot beats De Gea at the near post.

After a quiet first half, he’s suddenly come alive, though United’s goalkeeper arguably could have done better.

As I type, City threaten a second, as Aguero’s curled effort from the edge of the area hits the outside of the post.


United nearly equalise.

Kyle Walker makes a panicked attempt at a clearance, before Rashford’s cross narrowly eludes Lingard, who had a tap in if he made contact.


Pogba hits a free kick straight into the wall in a promising position, after Bernardo Silva had committed a rash foul on the France international on the edge of the area.

United have responded reasonably well to the goal.


Fred gives the ball away. Sterling then skips past him before finding Sane in acres of space.

The German international then fires a shot from the edge of the area that De Gea can only help into the net.

The goalkeeper really should have saved that and it’s hard to see United recovering from here.

That substitution has had a really positive impact on City.



David Silva is very lucky to get away with what is essentially a kung-fu kick on Andreas Pereira.

If the referee properly saw that incident, it surely would have been a red card for the Spaniard.

Moments later, the United midfielder is replaced by Romelu Lukaku, as United search desperately for a goal.


Lukaku nearly makes an immediate impact.

Ederson can only parry the striker’s shot, but Lingard can’t convert the rebound on target from close range.


Rashford plays the ball across the box, but Lukaku scuffs his shot from the edge of the area horribly.

City are still looking far from comfortable as the game approaches its conclusion.


United are in a promising position, but Fred plays a pass to no one to bring the attack to an unfortunate end.

The midfielder has had a poor game.


United make a double change.

Lingard and Darmian are off, while Martial and Sanchez are on.


Less than five minutes of normal time remain.

Looks like City are going to successfully see this game out.



Double change for City.

Gabriel Jesus and Danilo are on in place of Aguero and Gundogan.


There will be four minutes of stoppage time…


Old Trafford is rapidly emptying.

“The gulf in class is big,” says Gary Neville, who gives David Silva the man-of-the-match award for getting on the ball and “composing” the team during that shaky first-half spell for the visitors.


So that’s that. City claim a deserved victory and are now just three games away from Premier League glory.

United produced an improved display from the Everton mauling, but they were still ultimately outclassed by a better team.

The hosts started brightly and caused their rivals problems early on, but faded as the game wore on and could only muster one shot on target in 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, following a nervy start, City made their superiority count in the end. Bernardo Silva going back into midfield following Fernandinho’s injury was a key moment, with Guardiola’s side made better by this change.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to come and you can read our match report here.

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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