Manchester City 2-1 win over Manchester United and open up an 11-point lead over their fierce rival in the Premier League,14 points in front of champions Chelsea and 16 ahead of fourth-placed Liverpool. Their 46 points would have secured them a top-eight finish last season. And that is over 38 games, not 16. It will take some collapse to blow it.
However, Mourinho has called City’s goals “disgraceful”. He speaks English well enough to know that is not an applicable description.
Mourinho conceded afterwards, before quickly adding, “Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck, and the gods of football are behind them.”
Lukaku has attracted a lot of criticism online – he contributed to both City goals, and failed to find the net himself after seeing his late, close-range effort bring a brilliant save out of Ederson – but the truth is that he had no service; barely anything to work with whatsoever.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench late on, played alongside Lukaku, and had even less of an impact. It proves the point; United created very little and had even less control over the game.
Both of Lukaku’s mistakes came in United’s penalty area while he was defending set pieces, with David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi taking advantage to score with close-range finishes in the 43rd and 54th minutes.
Paul Pogba’s absence was felt – few could argue against that – but that fact will be lost in Mourinho’s various other complaints. Yet Mourinho cannot be allowed to talk his way out of this one.
Marcus Rashford equalised for United between City’s goals, from another defensive mistake, in the meeting of the league’s top two teams at Old Trafford
City’s 14th straight victory in the league, something that has never been achieved before in England’s top flight in a single season. Arsenal won 14 straight games in 2002, but across two seasons
Given Mourinho’s pre-match warning that City were a team of divers, how ironic it was that Herrera was the only player booked for simulation. Mourinho even said he felt “sorry” for referee Michael Oliver, but enough Jose, enough. United were well beaten and he was bested – once more – by Guardiola.
The city Boss said, “We were better,” he said. And they were; all over the pitch. There was even another irony in that having been so fretful over United’s threat from set-pieces, City should score both their goals by that means. Plus there were two horrible interventions by Romelu Lukaku, with the United striker providing inadvertent ‘assists’ to City before he had even touched the ball inside the opposition area.