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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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Man United 0-0 Man City

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

This feels like a very important game for both sides. Neither has made a convincing start to the season, as they sit in seventh and ninth position respectively.

A win would put United level with Chelsea in third, and it would be much needed.

The Champions League exit at the hands of RB Leipzig during the week has put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under renewed pressure.

A bad loss against their bitter rivals would certainly strengthen the arguments of critics who believe the Norwegian coach is not the right man to lead the Red Devils.

Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, could also do with a win. Three points would take them to within three points of leaders Spurs, though a loss could potentially see them trail Jose Mourinho’s side by nine come the end of the weekend.

Confirmation of today’s teams…

Who do you think will win today?


Poll Results:

Man City (521)
Man United (317)
Draw (190)



We’re underway…

Bruno Fernandes has just been subjected to a late challenge by Fernandinho.

United have had plenty of possession and made a positive start to this game.

It’s been quite a cagey start to this game.

There’s been plenty of passing across the pitch from both sides, with neither looking especially threatening so far.

Chance for United!

Lindelof gets his head on a corner to flick it across goal. McTominay is sliding in at the far post, but can’t make contact with the ball.

A long ball by Lindelof finds Bruno Fernandes, but the attacking midfielder, whose clever run takes him beyond the City backline, can’t properly connect with the ball on the volley.

United have made the slightly better start, but it’s been very tight in these early stages, with chances at a premium.

Good link-up play between De Bruyne and Sterling down the left.

The English international then gets past Wan-Bissaka, before his goal-bound shot is blocked.

Mahrez plays a lofted through ball to pick out Jesus.

The Brazilian gets behind the United defence, but his first-time finish goes over the bar.

City have become increasingly dominant in recent minutes.

Moments later, Mahrez plays in a dangerous free kick, but Stones can’t properly connect with his header.

Some nervy moments at the back for City.

Ederson gives the ball away when playing out from the back, before Pogba’s shot is deflected over.

From the ensuing corner, Harry Maguire’s header goes just over.

Big chance for City!

De Bruyne plays a lovely through pass to Mahrez, as City counter-attack with speed.

De Gea gets down well to save the Algerian’s shot, before De Bruyne curls the rebound over the bar.

Fernandes’ corner is header over by Lindelof.

That’s not the first time a United player has had a free header from a corner.

City have looked vulnerable when defending set pieces.

So half-time and 0-0 is probably a fair reflection of how this game has panned out.

Both teams have approached the game cautiously and it’s been pretty even.

There have been a couple of decent chances, most notably when Mahrez was one-on-one with De Gea, but couldn’t finish.

For the most part though, there’s been a lack of goalmouth action, and it hasn’t lived up to the hype, entertainment-wise, so far.

The second half has begun…

Fernandes plays a cross to Rashford who takes a touch before a poor challenge from Walker takes him down.

The referee points to the spot, before reviewing the decision on VAR, and realising Rashford was offside when he received the pass.

Pogba plays a through ball to Rashford.

The United striker escapes the attention of Walker, but can’t find the target with his shot from a tight angle.

manchester-united-v-manchester-city-premier-league-old-trafford Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (centre) is challenged by Manchester City's Kyle Walker (right). Source: PA

It’s continued to be a very cagey game since the break.

The tempo is slow, passes are frequently misplaced and neither side have been near their best — perhaps a consequence of the hectic, exhausting recent fixture schedule.

City make a change as they attempt to liven up this game.

Mahrez is replaced by Ferran Torres.

Interestingly, since United were defeated 6-1 by Spurs, they have played Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City.

In those three games (so far), they have scored 0 and conceded one.

So it does seem they are consciously approaching these types of games with a great deal of caution.

United make a change.

Mason Greenwood, who’s been quiet partially owing to a lack of service, is replaced by Martial.

City are finishing this game the far stronger-looking of the two sides.

They are camped in United’s half, with the Red Devils perhaps feeling the toll taken by their midweek exploits.

That said, the visitors are still struggling to create clear-cut chances.

manchester-united-v-manchester-city-premier-league-old-trafford Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson during the Premier League match at Old Trafford. Source: PA

There’s a brief flurry of excitement, as it looks like something might happen.

However, De Bruyne’s free kick from a promising position goes straight into the wall.

Sterling goes down in the box with Maguire nearby.

However, the ref ignores the player’s protests and replays show there was no contact.

According to Sky, both sides have had nine shots at goal, with one each on target.

That stat highlights how ineffectual the attack play has been today.

Martial finds Fernandes on the edge of the area.

However, the Portuguese midfielder’s shot is tame and straight at Ederson.

An audacious attempt by Bruno Fernandes from distance goes well wide.

Looks like we’re headed for a scoreless draw, as two minutes of stoppage time is confirmed.

manchester-united-v-manchester-city-premier-league-old-trafford Manchester United's Harry Maguire (left) and Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (left) battle for the ball. Source: PA

So that’s that. You’ll be hard pressed to come across a less entertaining game this season.

That said, it’s hardly surprising when you consider United’s recent record against the big sides.

The only time they scored against ‘big six’ opposition this season was in the 6-1 thrashing against Tottenham near the start of the campaign.

Since then, when up against Chelsea, City and Arsenal, they’ve played like a team who fear getting beaten 6-1 if they open up and suffering from a lack of confidence after their midweek Champions League exit.

That said, City were hardly much better.

They didn’t look like a Guardiola team, as their play was characterised by a slow tempo and sloppy passing.

Perhaps this match is a reflection of the weariness players are feeling on account of the Premier League’s demanding schedule, but on this evidence, neither of these sides look like title contenders.

That’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our report here and we’ll have more reaction to follow.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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