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Nearly ready to go at Old Trafford…

First up the home team:

Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Young, Rooney, Welbeck.

Quite an attacking line-up from the visitors:

Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Silva, Balotelli, Aguero.

The teams are in the tunnel…

In other interesting news, Arsene Wenger has decided to rest Robin van Persie as he hinted he might. Lots of disappointed Fantasy Football fans methinks…

United to kick off.

Referee today is Mark Clattenburg. Hopefully we won’t be talking about him too much.

City get some early possession until Aguero decides to try a fancy flick. Needless to say, the home fans love it when it doesn’t quite come off.

Nani causing some early problems for United but it’s Young that earns a free-kick from the referee after a raid down the left. You feel Richards is going to have a busy day. Set piece comes to naught.

Too much pace on a Rooney cross for Anderson. He can’t do anything but help guide the ball out for a goal kick.

City deal with an Anderson cross, but conceding a throw. All United at the moment but the final ball hasn’t been good enough yet.

Everton are a goal up on Fulham thanks to a Royston Drenthe goal.

Stats show that United have had 70% of the possession to date. Can’t argue with that seeing as City have barely touched the ball since Aguero’s early attack.

Just as we say it – Silva dances around four United players in the box. Yaya Toure gets the chance to shoot but his effort is deflected out for a corner. Decent retort from City after soaking up so much pressure.

A lot of ball being aimed at Young in the early stages. James Milner and Richards have their hands full with the winger.

A poor pass from Fletcher ends another United attack. Lively enough start, even if there’s been a notable lack of the derby tackles we’ve been used to.

GOAL – Balotelli. A cool finish from the Italian after some neat play between Silva and Milner. Against the general run of play it has to be said.

He doesn’t seem to be the happiest man, despite just scoring in the Manchester derby and is then booked for his trouble. Presumably, for showing a t-shirt under his shirt.

The BBC have it down as “unsporting behaviour”. Fireworks to really light off now!

Replays confirm that Balotelli’s shirt had the words “Why always me?” underneath. Anyone else think he’s an absolute champ?!

Elsewhere, Gervinho has put Arsenal 1-0 ahead against Stoke. For all you Fantasy Footballer – it was Ramsey with the assist.

After creating all the early pressure, United haven’t really put much together since Balotelli broke the deadlock. The crowd wants to see more from the champions, and quickly.

Anderson has a shot from distance but Hart was well positioned to gather comfortably.

Balotelli pretty much falls over himself and earns a free-kick in a decent position – at Evra’s expense. Silva’s set piece has far too much pace, however, and the ball is out for a goal kick before most of the players in the box have even moved.

Arsenal fans look away – Peter Crouch has equalised for Stoke

Rooney’s turn for a shot from distance. Same result though – straight into Hart’s hands.

The red half of Manchester are up in arms after Fletcher is tackled by Richards and play continues. City tear down the pitch only for Anderson to be penalised for a badly-timed tackle on Silva. The free-kick is planted straight into the United wall though.

Chance for United. Rooney keeps the ball in play from a wonderful cross field pass. Evans completely mistimes his attempt though and the danger is cleared.

A yellow card for Kompany after he fouls Wellback with the latter trying to break clear.

Rooney is starting to come deeper and deeper now in an effort to get things moving for United.

Two United players fall over in the City box. Nothing in it though and play continues.

One minute of added time.

  • United started the better of the two teams and dominated early play, but it was City – through Balotelli – that made the break through, against the run of play at the time.
  • City have looked more accomplished on the ball since the goal
  • United have yet to create more than a handful of half chances
  • Young, after a bright start, faded towards the interval and even Rooney was forced to come deep in search of the ball with Anderson and Fletcher struggling to contain Milner and Gareth Barry.

Arsenal are 1-1 with Stoke at HT. Everton still 1-0 up on Fulham.

United have got to be better in the final third after the break. They also need to start countering the threat of Silva and Milner. Fans saw relatively little of Rooney in the first half – more from him too please.

RED CARD for Jonny Evans! The defender pulls Balotelli as he goes through on goal. Disaster for the home side.

The foul was JUST outside the box but Balotelli fires the free-kick straight into the United wall. Richards can do nothing with the rebound though, and further danger cleared for United.

Anderson and Richards tangle in the United box but Clattenburg waves away cries for a spot kick.

On two occasions in quick succession Welbeck finds himself in an advanced position for United but without any support.

A chance for Young. Milner blocks his first attempt on goal following a Fletcher cross. Perhaps United’s best opportunity, created from absolutely nowhere.

End-to-end at the moment. A Milner cross flashes just beyond the out stretched boot of Aguero and then Young causes problems at the other end and earns his team a corner.

GOAL – Balotelli. Milner and Silva combine for the former to swing in a cross. All their waiting team-mate has to do is stab the ball home beyond De Gea. Incredible.

If Balotelli is the man to take the plaudits after this game, the contribution of Milner and Silva has been as crucial and shouldn’t be overlooked. The champions looked stunned at the moment.

City supporters are enjoying this. There’s movement on the United bench though. Expect changes shortly.

Richards has been an incredible attacking threat for City in this second half.

Phil Jones and Hernandez are on for Anderson and Nani.

Patrick Evra has been booked for a tackle on Barry. The Frenchman’s studs were fairly visible – frustration perhaps?

GOAL – Aguero. Milner and Balotelli involved again. This time it’s Richards who provides the final cross into the box though and Aguero who gets City’s third of the afternoon.

Edin Dzeko is on for rocket man Balotelli. A fine afternoon’s work for the Italian and his replacement almost scores with his first attempt on goal.

Dzeko and Jones clash, leaving the United player clutching his ankle and his rival with a yellow card.

Substitute Robin van Persie, meanwhile, has put Arsenal 2-1 ahead against Stoke.

De Gea saves from Dzeko as the big man is put clear in the United box. Decent work from the goalkeeper.

Smalling is booked for a challenge on Dzeko. Twelve minutes left in this encounter.

GOAL – Fletcher. A incredible strike from the midfielder has seen United pull a goal back. We’re into the last ten minutes and Old Trafford has suddenly come alive.

Fulham are back on level terms with Everton – Bryan Ruiz with the goal.

Welbeck is the latest United player in the referee’s notebook – for a challenge on Richards. A total of four yellow and one red now so far today.

Van Persie strikes again to make it 3-1 Arsenal (against Stoke).

Richards is the next man to be shown yellow. He’s caught out of position for once and drags his opponent to the floor.

Sky give Richards their Man of the Match. A close call with James Milner we imagine as the latter has been brilliant this afternoon. Balotelli did all that he was asked as well. Plenty for Mancini to be smiling about this evening being honest.

Yaya Toure sends a long-range effort wizzing past De Gea’s post. The whistle can’t come soon enough for some United supporters it seems. No one likes losing a derby, especially at home to your fiercest rivals.

GOAL – Dzeko. The substitute knocks the ball home after being fed by Lescott. A terrible day for United.

GOAL – Silva. It gets even worse for United within a minute as Silva breaks forward and slots the ball home for the goal his hard work has deserved.

Dzeko almost makes it six, but blasts over from close range. Mancini is delighted on the sidelines.

GOAL – Dzeko. Oh dear, oh dear. Dzeko makes it 6-1 after a superb pass from Silva sends him clear with only Ferdinand and Smalling left chasing him down. The striker makes no mistake and, incredibly, could have had a hat-trick in the final minutes.

Phew. There have been no further goals elsewhere. Gonna need a moment to have a think about what just happened…

There’s injury time drama at Craven Cottage too – goals from Saha and Rodwell have seen Everton win 3-1 and claim all three points.

Results: Arsenal 3-1 Stoke, Fulham 1-3 Everton and Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City.

We’ll have details from all other games apart from the Manchester derby in our Premier League round-up. In the meantime, it’s time to reflect on United’s heaviest home defeat since 1955.

  • Utd started the brighter of the two teams with Ashley Young prominent in the early exchanges
  • City’s first goal came against the run of play, but was well taken and a sign of things to come
  • United, simply, didn’t test Hart at all besides a handful of shots from distance and Fletcher’s superb strike
  • James Milner and David Silva were key to almost everything good that City did
  • United were on the back foot so much in the second half that Micah Richards was one of City’s biggest attacking threats, and was their Man of the Match
  • City CAN win the Premier League title and they can win it THIS season.

There was talk ahead of kick-off that United were vulnerable at the back. That was proven today. City are now five clear at the top of the table with Wolves next on their fixture list.

That’s it from our live coverage of the Manchester derby. A superb encounter, and a little early to be writing of Fergie’s Manchester United just yet.


Gavin Cooney
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