Man United in title race after controversial win over City

manchester — Marcus Rashford Scored in the seventh game in a row Manchester United Overturned a 1-0 deficit to defeat the champions Manchester City 2-1, but it was a controversial turnaround in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

After the first half of the game, Jack GrealishCo’s opener looked to have set City on course for a Premier League win against United.

but Bruno Fernandes‘ The equalizing goal – with Rashford clearly offside on his side – leveled the scores and four minutes later Rashford’s winner sealed a big win for the home side. But this dust does not stay for a while.

go to: Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quote | Key figures | Upcoming fixtures

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United in title race after controversial win over City

Man United are now in the Premier League title race, with a goal against City to move to within six points of Arsenal – who they play a week at the Emirates on Sunday.

In one of the most dramatic Manchester derbies of recent times, United failed to capitalize on a number of first-half chances that cost them after Grealish put City ahead on 60 minutes from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.

But Fernandes’ controversial equalizer in the 78th minute put United back in the game and angered the City ranks. With Rashford clearly offside when the ball was played through the middle, the United forward charged but Fernandez dropped the ball to score from 20 yards and the offside flag was raised. But referee Stuart Atwell dismissed his assistant as Rashford appeared to have interfered in play on his team’s side, not actually touching the ball.

Four minutes later, Rashford added insult to injury as he took his post-World Cup tally to eight goals in seven games and scored the winner from close range.

It was an incredible finish and, after holding out to win the game, United now move to within a point of Champions City, while Erik ten Haag’s side know that a win at the Emirates next week will put them firmly in the title race. United are the only team to beat Arsenal this season, winning 3-2 at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign.

United bounced back impressively under Ten Hag after losing 6-3 to City in October and the performance was a sign of their incredible progress under the former Ajax boss.

In turn, City’s defeat highlighted the concerns of Pep Guardiola’s team. It was their second successive defeat after Southampton’s shock Carabao Cup defeat at Midfield and they now face a battle to avoid dropping below United in the league for the first time since 2013.

2. Guardiola needs to fix away-day bluntness

Manchester City have an incredible array of attacking talent, but Guardiola will be concerned about their lack of sophistication away from home. It cost them points in this game.

Grealish’s header against United was just City’s sixth goal in their last eight games in all competitions and half of those came in the 3-1 win at Leeds last month.

One theory at play about City’s comparative bluntness away from home is that teams have worked out that most of the threat comes from Erling Haaland, so the aim is to stop the Norway international and cut off his supply line. And that approach has worked. Haaland scored twice against Leeds at Elland Road, but those goals were his first away from home since September.

The former Borussia Dortmund forward was quiet enough to be anonymous against United. And although United were always wary of the threat he posed, they knew City would not attack in the wave-after-wave fashion they had under Guardiola.

Success only came when Kevin De Bruyne scored in the penalty area to give the Grealies the lead in the 60th minute.

If City are to catch Arsenal at the top of the table, they will need to step up and score more goals away from home as they are in danger of losing touch at the top.

3. Marshall running out of chances at United

Anthony Martial lasted just 45 minutes of this game and it’s fair to say that the United forward won’t look back when he remembers this derby.

The 27-year-old started as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation and often contributed little other than being left offside and infuriating the home supporters when he failed to press past City goalkeeper Ederson as the Brazil international called time. Space to clear the ball.

Martial has been one of United’s best survivors since arriving from Monaco in August 2015, but many suggest he is still living in the memory of his stunning debut goal against Liverpool a month later.

Since then, he has been a disappointing performer, consistently failing to live up to his potential and both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried and failed to offload him during their spells as United manager.

Martial is now in his eighth season at Old Trafford, but his performance against City underscored his belief that his day is now over under Erik ten Haag.

The loan signing of Watford Weghurst will put Martial under pressure for a place in the team, while in the longer term, United are already planning to sign a world-class centre-forward in the summer. But with three league goals so far this season, it’s clear that Martial doesn’t fit the bill at United and his poor performance against City proved it.

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Best and worst performers

best: Tyrell Malaysia — The United left-back showed determination throughout the game and he rose to the challenge of marking well Riyad Mahrez.

best: Bruno Fernandes — The United captain showed real leadership qualities and inspired a fightback with the opening goal. How long will he get the full-time captaincy?

best: Kevin De Bruyne – A cagey game needs moments of quality and De Bruyne helped Grealish head in the opener for City with a superb run and pinpoint cross.

the worst: Anthony Marshall — was off the pace, offside or both. Not enough for a team in the top four.

the worst: Phil Foden — The City forward scored a hat-trick against United at the Etihad earlier this season, but he barely touched the ball at Old Trafford.

the worst: Erling Haaland — No goals and no impact from the City striker. Now three games without a goal, his worst run of the season.

Highlights and notable moments

Grealish, who came off the bench in the 56th minute, scored in the 59th minute.

Man United scored a controversial equaliser.

Three minutes after that, Rashford scored and won.

After the match: What the players/managers said

Manchester United boss Erik ten Haag on BT Sport about Bruno Fernandes’ controversial goal: “I can see it from the other side. The rules, it’s a confusing moment for the opposition’s back line. The rules say Marcus didn’t touch the ball and he wasn’t interfering. Bruno came from behind – – but I can see it from the other side.”

Rashford on his recovery from injury: “Players have to be resilient. You kick in the game. It happens and it hurts but you have to keep going. You have to do it to get the right result and performance. Face the painful moment and the game goes on. Up. In top football you have to get the right result. You have to suffer and sacrifice. The faith is back and we are on the right track. You have to work out of possession. [against teams like City]. They have the qualities of scoring in split moments. We saw that today. One mistake and they scored.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on BBC Match of the Day: “Marcus Rashford is offside, Bruno Fernandes is not. Rashford distracted our keeper and center defenders. It is what it is. We know where we play. Referees are difficult in these stadiums.”

In the game: “Congratulations to United. People will understand how good Manchester City are. It was a fantastic game. We controlled the transition well in the second half against Rashford and their quick players. We had the right attitude to do it. We were close and we. We scored the goal. Admittedly, we have to improve, be more consistent, the difference between the first and second goals is very close. In general, I have no regrets. I don’t care if we don’t win the Carabao Cup or the Premier League. No point. It’s been consistent with the many, many years we’ve been here. There are a lot of points to play for and we have to play there. Every game we have to perform. We always play in games like this and in others we struggle a little bit.”

Key Statistics (provided by ESPN Statistics and Information Research)

– This was the 189th edition of the Manchester derby in all competitions: Manchester United now lead the series 78-58-53 (WLD).

– Grealish scored his second career goal in a Premier League game against Manchester United. His first was on December 1, 2019, when he played for Aston Villa.

– Kevin De Bruyne registered his 10th assist in the Premier League this season. He joins Lionel Messi and Neymar (PSG) as the only players in Europe’s top five leagues to have more than 10 assists this season (league play only).

– Marcus Rashford equaled Manchester United’s club record for consecutive home goals scored by Denis Violette, who achieved the feat from August to December 1959.

– Manchester United scored two goals in the 75th minute. They now hold the record for most goals scored in the 76th and 90th minutes in the Premier League.

Next up

Man United: An away trip to Crystal Palace comes on January 18, before they travel to league leaders Arsenal on January 22.

Man City: With Tottenham Hotspur (January 19) and Wolves (January 22) in the Premier League, followed by three consecutive home games against Arsenal in the FA Cup on January 27.

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