- Daniel Gallagher-Parker
Review and Player Ratings from derby demolition – Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United
Updated: Mar 7, 2022
A first-half brace from Kevin De Bruyne and a fabulous second-half brace from Riyad Mahrez saw Manchester City breeze past their noisy neighbours, Manchester United, 4-1, in what was a completely dominant display from the Premier League champions and leaders, on Sunday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
The Blues headed into the 50th Manchester derby in the Premier League without their star centre half, Ruben Dias. The Portuguese was replaced by John Stones; before the start of the game, City were yet to concede a goal in the league this season while the Englishman was on the pitch.
Jack Grealish came into the starting XI in the league for the first time since facing Southampton six weeks ago. This is the summer signing's first Manchester derby of his career.
It took the Citizens only five minutes to get themselves into the lead. Lovely play between Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish resulted in the former cutting it back from the byline to De Bruyne about 8-yards out. City's captain on the day made no mistake in slotting it home with his weak foot to score his 50th Premier League goal of his career.
That goal marked the 300th different game City have scored in while under the control of Guardiola. He becomes only the second manager in the club's history to reach that feat, behind Les McDowall (486).
Just a few minutes later, Fred found himself inside the City 18-yard box, but Ederson did what he does best and swept away the danger, with Grealish tidying up and winning a foul to relieve any pressure.
Referee, Michael Oliver, was very eager to blow his whistle in the first 20-minutes. There was a tough decision to be made as it appeared Harry Maguire pulled Phil Foden to the ground, but the referee waved away any appeals from the home side and instead gave a foul against City's #47.
Sancho marked his return to the Etihad Stadium with a goal just after the 20-minute mark to equalise for Manchester United.
Paul Pogba played the winger into an acre of space, by which point Kyle Walker and Rodri couldn't get back in time to prevent the Englishman from cutting in and placing it into the bottom right corner.
The Blues were getting all of their first-half joy down the left-hand side of the pitch through Grealish, Silva, Foden, and Joao Cancelo – and they were once again rewarded.
More great play from Grealish and Foden required a great save from David De Gea, but after a scrap for the ball in the six-yard box, it fell to De Bruyne, who doubled his tally for the day and put City back in the lead by smashing it into the top left corner.
City's #17 has been involved in 88 goals (37 goals, 51 assists) in his 100 home Premier League appearances for both the Citizens and Chelsea.
United were enjoying a spell of possession until Pogba played a poor pass that sent De Bruyne and the Foden on the counter-attack. The Belgian played a perfectly weighted pass behind the United defence but Foden's strike wasn't as good as the pass, and the scoreline stayed at 2-1.
Mahrez began to get more involved in the game towards the latter stages of the first 45 minutes and he came so close to adding a third to City's scoreline – if not for De Gea getting down low to his right.
The Blue side of Manchester started the second half the same as they ended the first. City's high pressure was causing United problems, but De Bruyne and Foden couldn't make the most of the chances they both had.
City maintained their pressure throughout and didn't allow United to get a foothold in the game, but they were struggling to create any serious chances themselves, with the closest effort coming from a De Bruyne free-kick - it was straight at United's #1, though.
Mahrez, who hadn't really had the chance to show his quality for the first hour or so, most definitely showed it all when he scored City's third. De Bruyne, once again involved, floated a corner to the edge of the box where the Algerian hit a beautiful first-time volley, to give his side a bit of breathing space.
That goal was Mahrez's first Manchester derby goal but also his 20th goal of the season as he continues to improve on his best goalscoring season ever.
After the third goal went in, Guardiola's side absolutely oozed confidence and toyed with their neighbours. They kept the ball for that long, the fans who started cheering every pass that was made, didn't have the energy to carry it on. Mahrez nearly doubled his tally from that passage of play but De Gea punched it clear for a corner.
Cancelo nearly scored the goal of a lifetime as Walker was given as much time as he wanted to pick his fellow full-back out. The Portuguese attempted a sidewards bicycle kick from the edge of the box and looked like it was curling into the far right corner until United's shot-stopper parried it away.
To top off a near-perfect City display, Mahrez rifled one into De Gea's face and the back of the net. After a lengthy VAR check for offside, the goal was awarded which made the celebrations from the home fans that much sweeter.
The winger's brace brought him to 101 goal involvements for City, with a very good balance of 60 goals and 41 assists.
Ederson - 7
Walker - 7
Stones - 7.5
Laporte - 7.5
Cancelo - 9
Rodri - 7
De Bruyne - 10
Bernardo Silva - 9
Mahrez - 9.5
Foden - 8.5
Grealish - 9
What's next for Manchester City?
Guardiola's side aim to cement their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League as they host Sporting CP in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie, with a healthy 5-0 aggregate lead. The game takes place on Wednesday 9th March, kicking off at 20:00 (GMT), live on BT Sport.
Written by: @DanGP17_
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