Manchester City set a Premier League record on Sunday, recording their 14th consecutive win with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United. City’s win, in what was a thrilling edition of the Manchester Derby, sees them remain unbeaten after 16 matches in the league, extending their lead over second place United to 11 points.
David Silva, who finished as man of the match, opened the scoring for City near the end of the first half, only for United to equalize in first half stoppage time through Marcus Rashford. Nicolás Otamendi won the derby for Manchester City in the 64th minute after a poor clearance in defense from United’s target man Romelu Lukaku. Sergio Agüero was left on the bench for the fixture, as Gabriel Jesus started in attack.
During City’s impressive unbeaten run, they have scored 45 goals, bringing their total to a league best 48. Dropping only 2 points from their opening 16 games, Pep Guardiola’s side are enjoying the best start in league history. Some pundits, like Premier League legend and all time top scorer Alan Shearer, are claiming the title race is already over. With 22 games left, there is always the possibility for a contender to cut the hefty margin that City have established, but the leaders need to drop points for that to happen. With the form they have displayed in recent games, it is hard to see this City squad, which is so packed full of depth, slow down any time soon.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
Following the final whistle of what was an intense and hard battled match, including 26 total fouls, drama ensued in the Old Trafford tunnels and locker rooms. When Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho felt that the visiting players’ celebrations were excessive and disrespectful, he forced his way into the visitor’s locker room, swearing at the Manchester City players. In the City camp, Mourinho was confronted by Ederson, and was struck by a thrown water bottle from an unknown source. When news of the flying bottle reached the home locker room, a group of angry United players entered the tunnel, only to be met by an equally energetic mob of City players. What ensued has been described as a rugby like scrum, featuring around 30 members of each club.
— Yahoo Sport UK (@YahooSportUK) December 11, 2017
Jose Mourinho, in his post match press conference, blamed referee John Oliver for his side’s loss after Ander Herrera was denied a penalty and booked for simulation. Mourinho has been known to stir up drama in the past, and make excuses when his side is defeated, as City boss Guardiola noted post match.
“Last season it was the same – we won here and it was the referee. Today as well,” Pep said.
Mourinho has struggled against Guardiola’s sides in the past, more than any other manager he has faced. While the gap at the top of table may be growing, there is a sense of excitement and passion in the Manchester Derby again, rivalry between managers and players. With veterans like Rooney and Hart out of the Manchester picture, it is exciting to see a new class of players, Pogba and Lukaku for United, Sane and Jesus for City, bring some of the most exciting talent to the Manchester Derby. Even if the league is far decided when the two sides meet again on April 7th, United’s trip to The Etihad will surely be one of the must-watch matches of this season.