This was a game in which records were set to be broken whatever the outcome may be. United were looking to create a new club stat of 41 home matches unbeaten in all competitions – a sequence which ironically began after a 2-1 defeat against City in last season’s first derby. Meanwhile, Manchester city came into this game unbeaten away from home all season and were looking to break the record for successive Premier League wins in a single season.
David Silva scored a goal shortly before half-time from a corner, before Marcus Rashford equalized just four minutes later, taking advantage of Fabian Delph’s mistake in first-half injury time. Nicolas Otamendi scored a lifeline for City nine minutes into the second half as he poked home after the ball fell fortunately to him after a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick was only cleared into his path. The heroic shot stopper, Ederson denied Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata with a stunning double save late on as City hung on.
United boss Jose Mourinho made two substitutions from the previous Premier League game against Arsenal with Ander Herrera and Rashford coming in for Victor Lindelof and the suspended Paul Pogba. However, the attacking line-up featured a total of six departures from the midweek win over CSKA Moscow.
The entire viewers had so much interest in what was the biggest, most anticipated match of the season thus far. The crowd recognised that and it was an electric atmosphere inside the Theatre of Dreams. City had the majority of the early play with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus both having tame efforts at goal which David De Gea twice grasped gratefully.
The visitors continued to dominate possession without really troubling the Reds’ rearguard, while United looked for the counter-attacking ball over the top.
Leroy Sane then tested De Gea after bringing Delph’s cross down at the back post, but the Spaniard expertly tipped over from close range. From the resulting corner, Nicolas Otamendi’s downward header was latched upon by Silva and he poked the ball past De Gea from five yards when free inside the box.
That goal seemed to wake Mourinho’s men up and Anthony Martial tested Ederson from 25 yards, before Old Trafford erupted thanks to Rashford’s quick leveller. Marcos Rojo’s crossfield long ball was misjudged by City left-back Delph and United’s 20-year-old Mancunian, who scored the winner on his derby debut two seasons back, calmly tucked the ball past Ederson.
The Reds looked to pick up from the equaliser in the second half as Martial and Rashford combined, but the latter’s cross was diverted away by Otamendi before Jesse Lingard could pounce.
It was another setpiece which ultimately caught the Reds out. From De Bruyne’s free-kick into the box, Lukaku’s clearance rebounded off the back of Chris Smalling and Otamendi had the easiest of tasks to divert the ball past De Gea in similar fashion to Silva’s opener.
The Reds looked to hit back and Lingard played in Lukaku, but the big Belgian blazed over from a narrow angle, and Rashford did likewise with a free-kick.
Rashford again received the ball from an error by Delph, but this time Ederson denied him, saving down low before the Brazilian somehow denied Lukaku and then substitute Mata from close range in quick succession as the Reds tried desperately to find that elusive equalizer. Blues substitute Bernardo Silva nearly wrapped things up late on, but although De Gea saved with his feet, City still got all three points in the game.
United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Smalling, Rojo (Lindelof 45), Young; Matic, Herrera (Mata 82); Rashford, Lingard (Ibrahimovic 76), Martial; Lukaku.
Bookings: Rojo, Rashford, Herrera, Young.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany (c) (Gundogan 45), Otamendi, Delph; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva; Sterling, Jesus (Mangala 59), Sane (Bernardo Silva 88).
Bookings: Walker, Silva.