Following a scintillating first half from the champions elect, United roared back to put title celebrations on hold for another week.
Manchester City commenced the first half on the front foot as a cross from David Silva to the left of the penalty area was thwarted by Ashley Young who sniffed out the potential danger.
The champions were relentless in attack and continued to create opportunities with a fine cross from Danilo who attempted to find Silva who was waiting in the penalty area but was foiled by Ander Herrera who was at hand to prevent the Citizens from taking a huge lead.
Within 25 minutes, Manchester City took a potential title-winning lead through a header from captain Vincent Kompany. An in-swing corner by Leroy Sane found the Belgian who headed home to break the deadlock.
The party was getting started with City fans being jubilant in the stands when Pep Guardiola’s side extended the lead through Ilkay Gundogan. A one-two between Gundogan and Raheem Sterling was finished off with an audacious pirouette from the German who netted past a hapless David De Gea. Gundogan sent Nemanja Matic back to Chelsea there!
The 2012 and 2014 winners refused to sit back after doubling the lead as they yearned for more goals to put the game out of sight! Sterling had a couple of chances to put the game to bed, but somehow spurned both efforts as Jose Mourinho’s men were lucky to be only 2-0 down!
Sterling spurned yet another opportunity (though his effort was poorly taken) following a neat short cross form Sane.
A header at close range from Gundogan (assisted by Fernandinho) was the last chance of the half. As things stood, that result would see Manchester City crowned as champions, but were they home and hosed?
There were chances at both ends as Mourinho’s side attempted to find way back into the game, and Guardiola’s champions-elect went in search of the goal which would put the game beyond doubt.
That wasn’t to be however, as Manchester City were made to pay for failing to put away their chances when United got a goal back through Paul Pogba. A silky piece of skill from Alexis Sanchez found Pogba via a chested assist from Herrera to reduce the deficit.
The red half were cheering once again as the light blue half were left shell-shocked when Pogba scored again to level the game. A cross from Sanchez found Pogba who netted a bullet header from the penalty area to even the game!
With honours even, the race was on to find the winner. An opportunity from Jesse Lingard drifted wide, and a free kick from Gundogan sailed over.
The turnaround was complete with 21 minutes to go when Chris Smalling ran free to gift his side the lead for the first time. Yet another assist from Sanchez found the centre-back to strike home and put the opponents’ title celebrations on hold. How no one was watching him, is unbelievable! Manchester City are champions-ish, yet defending like a mid-table side!
Manchester City had to be gallant from here on in, and were doing just that when Kevin De Bruyne fed through a short ball through Sergio Aguero who darted into the box but was cynically fouled by Ashley Young in the area. Young was lucky to remain on the pitch there!
Heading into injury time, Aguero latched onto a cross from Sane who headed at goal, but was brilliantly scuppered by De Gea!
Another chance for an equaliser went begging when an initial effort from Nicolas Otamendi failed to find the target from close range, with Sterling failing to score from the rebound!
Manchester United snatch three priceless points from their local rivals to delay the title party.
Thoughts on the game
Manchester City ultimately got punished for failing to put away their chances. There were moments in the first half where the scoreline could’ve been 5-0 or 6-0! They should’ve had the game dead and buried, but fair dues to Manchester United for digging deep.
The challenge on Aguero by Young warranted a penalty, and how Young remained on the pitch, I will never know! What are your thoughts on that incident? Let us know @OfficialTFF
For Manchester City, their next league action is when they travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur next weekend (Saturday – 7:45pm).
As for Manchester United, they face a side staring down the barrel of relegation in the form of West Brom at home as the chase for second place continues. (Sunday – 4pm).