Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: Thursday, 27 April 2017
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Manchester United drew 0-0 at neighbours Manchester City in a derby that had more incident than the scoreline suggests.
As Pep Guardiola’s side expectedly controlled possession, the visitors attempted to use the pace on the counter-attack but seemed content to sit in for the draw.
Marouane Fellaini was shown a straight red card with 10 minutes remaining as Gabriel Jesus thought he’d won it for the hosts in stoppage time but his header was correctly ruled out for offside.
Kevin De Bruyne’s first time cross from the right was met by Sergio Aguero who struck the foot of the post before the former saw a shot held.
A mishap from Claudio Bravo saw the ball drop to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the goalkeeper made amends to thwart the Armenian’s strike.
David De Gea’s acrobatic save denied his former Atletico Madrid teammate Aguero, holding the ball in the process, before the striker fired over after a neat turn afforded him room to shoot.
Roaming forward, Aleksandar Kolarov’s drive was turned behind before his speculative effort from range from the resulting corner failed to trouble.
Good play from the hosts left Raheem Sterling with space, but he lacked composure and his attempt fell over the bar.
As half-time approached, Ander Herrera somehow headed wide from Marcus Rashford’s deep free-kick delivery.
After the interval, Sterling’s mazy run led to a tame shot being held as De Gea did likewise from Aguero’s shot.
Herrera saw his effort blocked as he cooled his head after a first half spat with Fernandinho before De Bruyne struck the side netting via a deflection.
Sloppy United defending ended with Aguero slicing over, Nicolas Otamendi headed over from a corner albeit with a flick off Eric Bailly’s head and Sterling tested De Gea from range to no avail.
Then came the red card with Fellaini seeing yellow for a foul on Aguero only to bring the same man down moments later, which he may have escaped a second yellow for, but his head butt at Aguero’s retaliation meant Martin Atkinson had no choice but to award a straight red.
Substitute Gabriel Jesus did have the ball in the back of the net only for the flag to thwart the young Brazilian, as United shut up shop and held onto the draw.
Seeing very little of the ball, a mountain of injuries and the late dismissal ruling out any chance of a smash-and-grab, a point away at City may not be the worst result.
The remaining fixtures and calendar pile-up due to the Europa League could see this result as a negative, however, but the gap from the top four remains one point with five matches to play.
Up next, Swansea City visit Old Trafford on Sunday at Midday, where victory for Jose Mourinho’s side would lift them above Liverpool before they play on Monday.
All to play for as the season reaches its climax, United’s unbeaten league run stands at 24 as they aim to reach next season’s Champions League.
United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini; Mkhitaryan (Fosu-Mensah 86), Rashford (Young 90+3), Martial (Lingard 80).
Subs not used: Romero, Shaw, Tuanzebe, Rooney.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
City: Bravo (Caballero 79); Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure; Sane (Navas 79), De Bruyne, Sterling (Gabriel Jesus 86); Aguero.
Subs not used: Sagna, Clichy, Fernando, Garcia.
Manager: Pep Guardiola