The result sees the Citizens open up an 11-point lead at the top of the table and in this Manager Microscope, we dissect the tactics that led to the result.
Shots – 8
Shots on target – 5
Pass success – 69%
Aerial duel Success – 42%
Dribbles won – 15
Tackles – 22
Possession – 35%
Shots – 14
Shots on target – 7
Pass success – 82%
Aerial Duel Success – 58%
Dribbles won – 19
Tackles – 18
Possession – 65%
After a 3-4-3 system earned United all three points away to Arsenal, Mourinho was expected to approach this encounter in the same manner. Rather surprisingly, he opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with plenty of attacking talent on the pitch with Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all starting.
The suspended Paul Pogba was replaced by Ander Herrera who slotted in alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield. Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling started in central defence despite Phil Jones returning to the squad while Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young were the two full-backs.
While City retained the same system they employed against West Ham, Gabriel Jesus replaced Sergio Aguero in the front three flanked by Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane. Fernandinho anchored the midfield also occupied by Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva.
Fabian Delph started in midfield against the Hammers but was moved to left-back with Kyle Walker manning the right side of the defence. Nicolas Otamendi kept his place at centre-back but was partnered by Vincent Kompany instead of Eliaquim Mangala on this occasion.
TACTICAL TURNING POINTS
Reaction to conceding first
United predictably sat behind and focused on containing City from the onset rather than taking the initiative at home. However, that needed to change after the visitors took the lead from a corner kick.
The hosts finally began to throw numbers forward. A crucial switch though was Martial and Rashford swapping flanks with the Frenchman playing on the left, where he is so dangerous from with his ability to cut inside and weave past defenders.
That immediately began to cause problems in the City back-line but they were undone by defensive errors from both Otamendi and Delph as Rashford kept his head to slot away the equaliser.
Foot off the gas
Once they were back level, United appeared to take their foot off the pedal a bit. They did offer a threat on the counter but didn’t start the second half with the same energy with which they ended the first and they were made to pay for dropping off again.
Set-pieces were meant to be United’s choice of weapon but ironically, City took the lead again from another corner after Lukaku’s botched clearance fell kindly for Otamendi to rifle in.
Trailing 2-1 with little more than 20 minutes on the clock, United switched gears again but rather than exerting pressure on the visitors, the game descended into a scrappy affair with neither side able to control possession and carve out openings. Herrera did draw a challenge from Otamendi inside the area but was booked for simulation instead.
Lingard was replaced by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 76th minute as United went to two up front while Juan Mata’s introduction in place of Herrera six minutes later saw them operate in a 4-1-1-4 with only Matic anchoring the midfield.
City resorted to frustrating United at that point but had a few nervy moments prime among them being Ederson’s double save. A delightful ball from Mata picked out Martial on the left side of the penalty area whose first-time cross was met by Lukaku. However, the Belgian only managed to strike Ederson in the face from close range before the keeper recovered to deny Mata from the rebound as well.
Quest For Control
Part of the reason why United went off the boil a bit at the start of the second half was the introduction of Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho’s move to centre-back. The German exercised more control in possession and posed more of a creative threat.
Having taken the lead, Guardiola decided against bringing on Aguero who was in the process of warming up. Instead, he opted for Mangala to replace Jesus. Silva then operated as a false nine while the Frenchman offered more height in the defence, presumably in anticipation of an aerial assault from United in the closing stages.
Fernandinho meanwhile stepped back into midfield to shield the defence alongside Gundogan who was also on the look out for the killer pass on the counter.
Silva attempted to keep possession when presented with it feed the pacey duo of Sane and Sterling on either side of him.
Running Down The Clock
City pulled off perhaps their first attempt at time-wasting under Guardiola and did so to great effect. The Blues are normally on the receiving end of that particular facet of the dark arts and may have expected it from United at some point but ended up adopting it themselves and seeing out the win.
In the last ten minutes, City were uninterested in extending their lead, heading for the corner flag instead of United’s goal. For once, it was Guardiola’s men hastily clearing the ball, dragging their feet every time it went out of play and indulging in a moment or two on the deck after a challeng.
Of course, they were within their rights to do just that, especially given the enormous impact of the three points on the title race.
Perhaps he shouldn’t have shown City as much respect as he did in the first half. When push came to shove and United were forced to attack, they gave as good as they got. He wasn’t ambitious enough to seek the lead.
However, there was nothing wrong with his tactics for the approach he employed. He’ll be gutted to have conceded two goals from set-pieces, particularly the second one which had the element of an individual error as well.
Had a penalty call gone their way or Ederson failed to make a miraculous double save, United could’ve sneaked a draw and a point Mourinho’s tactics were worthy off.
This was his toughest battle yet this season and credit to the Spaniard for coming through it on top. He couldn’t break United’s resolve in the manner in which he is accustomed and did get the rub of the green to an extent from set-pieces but there’s no question that his side were superior.
They won the midfield battle and impressively, Guardiola took a few measures he normally wouldn’t, to see out the win. He recognised that his side were not going to run away with the result and would have to battle to keep United out. They did just that.
The Mourinho Vs Pep Guardiola comparism is too flawed, sentiments aside Mourinho is the better coach all round, Pep always ends up with better players— Enekem 💎 (@EnekemGreg) December 10, 2017
So, Conte came to England and won the title in his first season. Now it looks like Guardiola will do it in his second season. Mourinho with more EPL experience than both of them combined is still doing “project” 🤔🤔🤔— Wọlé II (@Kingwole) December 10, 2017
Can we agree now that Pep Guardiola is better than José Mourinho?— Osas Cruz (@OsasCruz) December 10, 2017
Pep Guardiola’s record vs José Mourinho so far in his career -
This wasn’t even a game of praising players..it was a game of two managers and Guardiola proved he’s better........again— maraDOna🐐 (@OlaTheOG) December 10, 2017
Stats from whoscored.com
The much-anticipated 175th Manchester derby was comfortably the biggest game of the Premier League season, such was the need for Jose Mourinho‘s Reds to claw back their swashbuckling rivals.
But the gap between table-topping City and second-placed United grew to 11 points on Sunday as City triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford, where Otamendi volleyed home a second-half winner after Marcus Rashford had cancelled out David Silva’s opener.
The untimely end to United’s club record-equalling 40-match unbeaten home run strengthens their rivals’ grip on the title after just 16 matches – of which they have won the last 14 in a row.
That is a new top-flight record run within the same season and an outcome that looked likely after Silva gave City a deserved first-half lead, with the playmaker capitalising on a corner that had deflected off Romelu Lukaku.
United fortuitously went into the break level after Rashford capitalised on a Fabian Delph mistake, but the blue half of the city were not to be denied as Lukaku’s hashed clearance allowed Otamendi to volley home early in the second half.
Ander Herrera was booked for diving in the box and Ederson Moraes produced an outstanding double save as the hosts tried to snatch a draw, but City move onto 46 points as a result of a victory that leaves Mourinho’s men reeling.
MANCHESTER IS 🔵 pic.twitter.com/4trQZQJgOW
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 10, 2017
Provided by Press Association Sport
The visitors took the lead through David Silva, but Marcus Rashford’s equaliser kept it level at half-time, before Nicolas Otamendi’s decisive goal in the second half led Pep Guardiola‘s side to a win.
Here we rate the players from both teams.
David De Gea: Largely untested despite City’s dominance, aside from one good save from Leroy Sane. 6
Antonio Valencia: Got little opportunity to attack but worked hard in defence. 6
Chris Smalling: Produced some good last-ditch tackles, most notably on Raheem Sterling twice. 7
Marcos Rojo: Misplaced some passes and appeared to struggle after a nasty clash of heads with David Silva. 5
Ashley Young: Pegged back in his own half as City controlled the game. 6
Ander Herrera: Tried to keep a tight watch on Kevin De Bruyne but City managed to stifle his impact. 6
Nemanja Matic: Less effective than usual as he struggled to break down City possession. 6
Marcus Rashford: Had little opportunity to get into the game but his opportunistic finish was one of clinical brilliance. 7
Jesse Lingard: Effectively shut out of the game by Fernandinho in the first half but was livelier in the second period after the Brazilian moved to centre-back. 6
Anthony Martial: Threatened occasionally but found openings few and far between. 6
Romelu Lukaku: Failed to hold the ball up, hardly got a sniff in front of goal and his bad luck when defending set-pieces proved costly. 4
Victor Lindelof (for Rojo, 46): Brought more steel to hard-worked defence. 6
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (for Lingard, 75): Came on in the hope of strengthening United up front but had little joy. 5
Juan Mata (for Herrera, 82): Almost snatched a late equaliser but was brilliantly denied by Ederson. 6