By Ollie Cranham-Young
- Game ends in stalemate as both teams appear happy with a point
- Lingard came closest to breaking the deadlock
The 170th Manchester Derby was intense, physical and highly competitive, yet extremely frustrating as both teams failed to make a breakthrough as it finished goalless, despite some excellent chances from both sides.
United youth product Jesse Lingard came closest throughout the 90 minutes, with an exquisite shot towards the end of the game that unfortunately hit the bar, to United fan’s dismay.
In recent years, the fixture has provided fans with some excellent and magical moments including seven goals in the last two meetings between the sides alone. The goalless draw leaves City at the helm, albeit on goal difference which pushes them slightly ahead of North Londoners Arsenal, and United currently sit in 4th place behind West Ham but despite this are still only two points behind the league leaders.
Juan Mata started the Derby in exchange for Warrington-born youngster Lingard, who performed excellently in the 1-1 draw away to CSKA Moscow previously this week.
Mata had an unsuccessful appeal for a penalty early on as Fernadinho controversially struck the ball with his hand and immediately after ex-Liverpool man Raheem Sterling had a shot that was deflected wide of David De Gea’s far post.
United captain Wayne Rooney temporarily left the field as he needed stitches following a collision with the opposition skipper Vincent Kompany. This was a prime example of how physical the game was during the opening 45 minutes, which was a half filled with intense tackles and questionable refereeing decisions.
The best chance of the half fell to Yaya Toure, when he headed just wide after a fantastic corner kick from new boy Kevin De Bruyne just as we were approaching the interval.
The second half promised much more excitement and United were strangely attacking towards the East Stand instead of the Stretford End, which is a rare occurrence for United, due to the, losing the coin toss prior to kick-off.
Louis Van Gaal’s men had the first clear chance of the remaining 45 minutes when Ander Herrera had a shot deflected wide on 49 minutes: many in the ground thought that it had beaten England number one Joe Hart. Soon after United had another penalty appeal as Raheem Sterling clumsily brought down Ander Herrera.
Frustratingly, Chris Smalling then nodded just wide of the far post as Joe Hart just stood and watched as his team ever so nearly fell behind.
Substitutes Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini entered the scene midway through the second half, hoping to eject a sense of urgency into the game as Juan Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger went in the other direction.
Academy graduate Jesse Lingard came the closest out of everyone, when he latched onto the end of a perfect pass from Frenchman Anthony Martial as he acrobatically fired the ball past a helpless Joe Hart, only to be denied by the crossbar. Seconds later, Smalling forced Hart to make an excellent save as he produced a low shot which proved to be the last chance of an exciting and entertaining game.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia (Darmian 81), Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Schweinsteiger (Fellaini 74), Schneiderlin, Mata (Lingard 66), Herrera, Martial, Rooney Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Blind, Carrick, Memphis