Pep Guardiola once again showed Jose Mourinho who’s the boss as Manchester City ran out 3-1 winners at the Etihad Stadium over arch rivals United.
This was the 17th time these two masterful tacticians had come face-to face. History shows that Guardiola has the edge over the Portuguese with eight victories to Mourinho’s three. There had been an average of 2.6 goals scored in those 17 matches, indicating most have been tightly competitive.
Guardiola’s teams have scored 26 times in total when facing Mourinho’s teams, who have scored just 16. The Catalan also holds the record for the biggest win over Mourinho when Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 5-0 at the Camp Nou in November 2010.
City’s win over United shows that there is a gulf of class between the two sides, and that Guardiola has wisely spent his money in terms of buying players which fit into his style of play.
As far as the Red Devil’s are concerned, it seems as if Mourinho doesn’t have that much confidence in his team to consistently win games.
Whether this is to do with the tales of him falling out with some of his players is not clear, but at the moment United are in eighth place and well off the pace in the race for the Premier League title.
The main issues for United are in defence. Mourinho’s men have let in 21 goals in their first 12 games of this season, which is even worse than 2016-17 where they conceded a total of 14 in their opening dozen matches.
This is a cause for concern to United fan as Mourinho has always liked his teams to be solid in defence first and foremost.
‘Pogba continues to not live up to the expectations fully warranted by his £89m transfer fee’
What was even more alarming in the latest derby game was the fact that none of the players were actually doubling up against the likes of Sergio Aguero, who can punish you if given space in and around the penalty box to turn and shoot.
But the key factor on Sunday was that United’s defenders were unable to cope with the pace and strength of City’s midfield, which had a significant impact on the game’s outcome.
What was also disappointing about this defeat from a United perspective is that it came after that memorable 2-1 Champions League victory over Juventus in Turin, where the Red Devils made a remarkable comeback by scoring two goals in three minutes to steal the points away from Massimiliano Allegri’s side.
You would have thought that win would have given them a boost going into Sunday’s derby, but it wasn’t to be, and this sums up the inconsistency of United under Mourinho’s leadership in the last three years.
Coming back to City, it has been a solid start to the defence of their title. The champions are unbeaten in their first 12 games, with 10 victories and 2 draws. Can anyone stop them?
The signing of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City has so far proved to be a masterstroke by Guardiola as it gives him the luxury of rotating his players if necessary.
Contrast City’s midfield to that of United’s as Paul Pogba continues to not live up to the expectations fully warranted by his £89m transfer fee.
His seemingly fraught relationship with Mourinho is clearly not helping matters, but we yet to see the best of one of France’s World Cup-winning heroes in a United jersey.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season, the Sky Blues have had the upper hand in terms of Premier League success.
Manuel Pellegrini took them to the title in 2013-14, and Guardiola claimed the biggest prize in English football for the first time last season.
By contrast, the Red Devils finished in seventh place under Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, who was sacked in the latter half of the season, with club legend Ryan Giggs taking over from the Scot.
‘City look to be passing their way to another title this season, whilst Premier League glory threatens to pass United by once again’
Under Louis van Gaal, United won the FA Cup in 2016, beating Crystal Palace in the final, but the Dutchman was dispensed with soon afterwards.
Chief executive Ed Woodward then turned to the ‘Special One’ hoping that his success all around Europe, including at Chelsea, could be replicated at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately for both men, his arrival coincided with Guardiola’s reign beginning at the Etihad, and the Spaniard continues to have the upper hand over his old rival.
City were 2-0 up through goals from David Silva and Aguero on Sunday before Anthony Martial pulled one back from the spot after 58 minutes.
However, any thoughts of a United comeback were extinguished four minutes from time as Ilkay Gündogan scored City’s third, capping a build-up involving no less than 44 passes.
City look to be passing their way to another title this season, whilst Premier League glory threatens to pass United by once again.
Photo by Liam McCallion via Flickr Creative Commons under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)