Last weekend was a memorable one for sports fans after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, especially football spectators, since some of the most famous football powerhouses in European leagues were going up against each other in their league and cup endeavours, including Manchester United versus Manchester City and Arsenal versus Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League as well as Real Madrid versus Barcelona in the Supercopa de España. The Manchester derby kick-started the busy weekend for heavyweight football fixtures via its early kick-off time, with United eventually taking all three points from the league match.
Citizens Drew First Blood
The match was the 189th edition of the Manchester derby, which was played at the home turf of Manchester United, Old Trafford. Coming into the game, both teams were in exceptional form, with the Red Devils on an eight-game winning streak while the Citizens had been unbeaten for five games before losing their last match, a 2-0 Carabao Cup quarterfinal defeat against Southampton away.
City’s head coach Pep Guardiola said that he had crazy plans for the game and it was his side which opened the score line for the team from the Blue Half of Manchester, courtesy of his substitute, Jack Grealish’s goal. Both teams had their fair share of chances in the first 45 minutes, but it was not until the hour mark that we finally saw a breakthrough in the game. Grealish headed home the opener three minutes after he was brought onto the game, via a close-range delivery from Kevin de Bruyne. It was the England international’s second Premier League goal of the season, and the first since the Qatar World Cup.
United Fought Back and Scored Two in Quick Successions
Manchester United’s head coach knew the team cannot afford to let go of their exceptional run in league and cup competitions that easily and replaced Christian Eriksen with Argentina’s Alejandro Garnacho. The young winger immediately altered the dynamics of the game and contributed an assist late in the game. But all these came after a controversial equaliser from the home side.
Casemiro from the Red Devils, sent a through ball towards the centre of the penalty box, and his teammate, Rashford was off-side all the time but was not influencing the attacking play or touching the ball at all. His smart run allowed Manchester United’s captain Bruno Fernandes to strike a shot just outside the box to level the score for the Red Devils. The goal was initially ruled offside but referee Stuart Attwell overruled the decision and allowed the goal to stand, agitating City’s players and fans as a result.
Three minutes and forty six seconds later, United saw the chance of a counter-attack and Fred quickly sent the ball forward to Bruno, before the latter unleashed the out-wide Garnacho. His first cross was repelled by Manchester City’s defensive backline, but it could not stop his second delivery from finding the open Marcus Rashford. The England forward scored his eight goal in seven matches since the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar ended and became just the first Manchester United player to score in nine consecutive games at Old Trafford since Dennis Viollet last did it in 1959. Rashford’s 16th goal of the season proved the ultimate difference between both sides and the three points collected made United shorten the gap between it and City in the Premier League to a single point.
View this post on Instagram
Nine Consecutive Wins for the Red Side of Manchester
The victory against City was United’s 78th triumph in 189 Manchester derbies played, and also meant Erik ten Hag’s man is now enjoying a nine-game winning streak in all competitions, the longest since Sir Alex Ferguson was still the manager of the 20-time Premier League champion. The jubilant Dutchman hailed his side’s performance over the night, stating that “I’m really happy with the performance of the team. The spirit of the team is so huge, the belief is there that the game is 90 minutes, and we can fight back. The belief is back, and we’re in a good direction. You have to work out of possession [against teams like City]. They have qualities in split-moments to score goals. We saw that today. One mistake and they scored.”
Did you know that France had four to five players unfit for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final?