Manchester United v Manchester City: Premier League – live | Premier League
45+1 min There will be four minutes of added time. United celebrate by getting forward…
45 min And another City corner. Also headed by Rashford. He is now playing as the third centre-back.
44 min Yet another City corner, headed away again – by Rashford of all people.
44 min The last 45 passes in the final third have been played by someone in a blue shirt.
42 min Flashpoint! Foden and Amrabat end up nose to nose after the one fouls the other. and Amrabat feels there are some afters. Both go into the book.
40 min Maguire heads the corner away. A moment later, Fernandes fouls Grealish as they go for a header on City’s left wing.
38 min Grealish goes on a wiggly run and takes a shot, blocked by Amrabat. This will be City’s sixth corner.
38 min Save! Alvarez takes the free kick and Onana bats it away from the top bin.
36 min Grealish causing trouble again as Evans fouls him three feet outside the box. “I’ve been there,” says Gary Neville.
35 min One of City’s secrets is that a player who barely gets mentioned because he seldom shoots may well be running the show. Bernardo Silva is doing that today.
34 min In the last 66 league games when they’ve taken the lead, City have lost one. This does not look like being the second.
33 min Grealish plays a gorgeous little ball, a nutmeg through somebody’s legs, and United are relieved to escape with a goal kick.
31 min Hojlund gets a sniff of redemption as Foden’s misplaced pass lets through the middle. He stumbles over it but recovers to tee up Fernandes, who can only shoot over from a tight angle.
30 min Maguire, advancing into midfield, has the chance to send Fernandes through on the right, but he can’t get his chip over Gvardiol.
29 min United have the ball for a bit but it’s at the back and you can see the jitters. After a promising start, this could go horribly wrong.
27 min Onana was booked too, for time-wasting before the pen.
Low to Onana’s left, not middled but easily strong enough. Onana goes to his right.
25 min André Onana, who saved one on Tuesday, has to do it again. Against Haaland.
“No brainer,” says Gary Neville… even though “Rodri throws himself to the ground”.
Paul Tierney stops the game, ominously for United.
21 min City win a free kick in the right-half zone. Dalot does well to get it clear. Rodri wants a penalty for manhandling by Hojlund, and it is being looked at.
“Long, long-time United fan here,” says John Hubbard, “currently stuck in Montpellier Airport. They say bad things come in threes – EasyJet flight delayed 1 hour 45 minutes, England failing badly against India in the cricket, so I’m not optimistic about a home win at Old Trafford. Maybe if Crerand and Aston put their boots on …”
20 min And from the corner, it’s Grealish who shoots. Onana pushes it round the post.
19 min Grealish, who looks very much in the mood, wins a corner on the left.
18 min City have played a few crosses in the air, which is a surprise when you’re up against Maguire and Evans. The latest one is thumped away by the head of Maguire.
17 min Possession has been 48pc to 52. A pair of numbers that means nothing can go right.
16 min A glimmer for Haaland! But Onana is out quickly to extinguish it. A minute later, Rodri tries a screamer but skies it. “Rashford did just enough to put him off,” says Gary Neville.
15 min Hojlund does seem to be a big-game player. Now he wins a free kick 40 yards out by craftily backing into Dias. It even leads to a brief spell of United possession.
12 min Another piece of pickpocketing from United. Hojlund is all alone, advancing through the middle. Rashford catches up but Hojlund can’t see him and goes sideways to Eriksen instead, whereupon City get enough men back.
11 min City knock the ball around. Hojlund pinches it, but he takes too long and fails to slip it through to McTominay, unmarked on the right.
9 min City are now looking menacing.
7 min Chance for City! Onana saves off the line from Foden and then paws the ball away from Haaland, just in the nick. The move was made by a lovely ball from Rodri to Walker, racing to the byline.
6 min Another flicker of hope for United as Rashford is released on the left. He tries to play in his underlapping full-back… Lindelof. It doesn’t go well. One factor in Rashford’s struggles this season is that he has had a motley core of left-backs behind him. When he got a proper one, for England, he promptly scored.
4 min City get hold of the ball. A stat box discloses that United have not scored in the first 15 mins of any game this season. Still, getting into the City box twice almost counts as progress after the tepid first halves against Sheffield United and Copenhagen.
3 min United get forward! A neat lay-off from Hojlund to Rashford, who wiggles into the box. Rashford to Eriksen to Dalot, whose cross is overhit. But then United come again and McTominay has a glimmer of a chance that vanishes with a feeble shot.
1 min Scott McTominay kicks off and United go straight back to Onana. Fernandes is on the right, as expected.
United have laid on a line-up of legends from both sides of Manchester. On they come, all suited and booted, a little stooped: Pat Crerand, Mike Summerbee, John Aston, Alex Stepney and Brian Kidd. The late Sixties, still alive, if not kicking. They join the teams on the centre-circle which has turned into a grey disc for Bobby Charlton.
The players march out into a stadium full of noise. One stand has one message: SIR BOBBY, it says in huge letters. No need for a surname.
“Varane in the playing XI?” says Pramith Pillai. “Please tell me that is true. We can’t afford to carry both Harry and Jonny. :(” Ha, sorry, that was just my mistake, now corrected. I prepared the teams in advance and thought Varane was a cert. Great servant though Jonny Evans has been for United, Erling Haaland must be licking his lips.
“Hojlund,” says Jeff Sax, “doesn’t begin to match Haaland.” Well that is undoubtedly true. But this game might just suit Hojlund. His best performances for Ten Hag have come at Arsenal and Bayern Munich, when United were playing on the counter, as they may well do this afternoon. He’s got the pace to score on the break: it’s the packed penalty areas that he finds difficult.
The first email of the day is in. “As a neutral,” says Rick Harris, “much as I would like United to win to make the title race more interesting et pour encourager les autres, I simply can’t see anything other than an absolute thrashing for the boys in red from the blue robots.” You may well be right! But derbies are funny things, and these players, unlike those at the London clubs, don’t get to play many of them.
During lockdown, Rob Smyth and I started a Substack newsletter about United, which you can subscribe to free. We analyse almost every game they play – it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. And we throw in the odd juicy surprise, usually something historical and magisterial from Rob. The latest piece is from me, looking at the rom-com developing in the United defence:.
There are four PL games going on right now. In the very early one, Everton have just pulled off a shock victory at West Ham. More on that here from Rob Smyth. In the others it’s half-time and, more predictably, Villa and Liverpool are winning at home – which means that as it stands, Manchester City are fifth. The indignity! They’re only three places above United, who remain eighth, with a little help from their old friend David Moyes.
It’s only two and a half years since Mason Mount was playing the decisive pass that did for Man City in– a pass so good that even Kai Haivertz was able to convert it into a goal. But Mount’s gift for an assist has deserted him, along with his eye for goal, and even changing clubs has not changed his fortunes. Today, with Casemiro ruled out, he still can’t elbow his way into United’s midfield: the No.10 spot, freed up by Bruno Fernandes shifting to the right, has gone to Christian Eriksen. Mount is left hoping that redemption beckons from the bench, as Eriksen seldom appears for more than an hour.
Pep has a full hand to choose from, bar De Bruyne. On paper this lot have already won, haven’t they?
Man City (nominal 4-2-3-1, shifting to 3-2-4-1) Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodri, Bernardo; Foden, Alvarez, Grealish; Haaland.
Subs: Ortega, Lewis, Ake, Gomez, Bobb, Phillips, Kovacic, Nunes, Doku.
Ten Hag’s nightmare with injuries shows no sign of coming to an end. Casemiro isn’t in the squad and Rapha Varane and Sergio Reguilon, who both returned in midweek, are only fit enough for the bench. The one crumb of comfort is that Kobbie Mainoo, who picked up an injury in pre-season, is back among the subs.
Man United (4-3-3 with a whiff of 4-D-2) Onana; Dalot, Evans, Maguire, Lindelof; Amrabat, McTominay, Eriksen; Fernandes, Hojlund, Rashford.
Subs: Bayindir, Varane, Reguilon, Mainoo, Mount, Hannibal, Antony, Martial, Garnacho.
How do you deal with Erling Haaland? With Leicester City’s centre-backs from 2018, that’s how. Jonny Evans joins Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence. They won’t be short of passion, but they may not bring any pace.
Pep, who has been preferring Jeremy Doku on the left wing, goes back to Jack Grealish today. Otherwise City’s XI is as expected.
Afternoon everyone and welcome to the big one. United may only be eighth in the league table, City may only be third, but the Manchester derby still gets the juices flowing. It pulsates with excitement, it vibrates with history, it resonates far beyond Manchester.
This is the 191st competitive meeting between the two sides and the first since each lost a legend from the late Sixties. Bobby Charlton and Franny Lee had a great deal in common. Both were superstars on the field who went on to a seat on the board. Both are still in the top five scorers in the Manchester derby – Lee second-equal on 10 goals, one behind the all-time leader, Wayne Rooney; Charlton fourth-equal (with Sergio Aguero) on nine.
Both did much to propel their team to the top. In 1968, when Charlton lifted the European Cup after scoring twice in the final, City had just won the league championship in Lee’s first season at Maine Road. His manager, Joe Mercer, called him “the final piece in the jigsaw”.
And yet both men also had to swallow plenty of failure. In his five years as United captain Charlton didn’t win a single home derby, losing four in a row before finishing with a goalless draw. City plummeted from the top of the tree to 13th. When Lee returned as chairman in the mid-Nineties, they were relegated from the Premier League. He managed to quit just before they were relegated again, slap in the middle of United’s golden age.
These days even a United fan would have to admit, through gritted teeth, that City are easily the better side and the stronger club. They have a great manager, an outstanding academy, a team with such a clear pattern that you barely notice when their most creative player is missing (Kevin De Bruyne, remember him?). They are so drilled and driven that they can lose a couple of games and remain every pundit’s tip for the title. They could score five today and surprise nobody.
United still have the bigger following, but as a team and an organisation they hardly deserve it. Under the dismal ownership of the Glasers, they’ve turned into the scatty neighbours. When they win, it’s nearly always by a single goal, a moment of individual inspiration. Their forwards have learned how to press but forgotten how to score.
Their manager seems to be following a very decent first season with the difficult second album. He can’t get a tune out of the men he has spent big money on, from Antony to Mason Mount. The only players he has in top form are the ones he tried to sell in the summer, Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay. A draw today would feel like a win.
The bottom line is that Pep Guardiola is twice as likely to prevail today as Erik ten Hag. That’s the story of the past seven Old Trafford derbies in the league (City four wins, United two, one draw). It’s also what the algorithms say: at Opta, they give City a 50pc chance of a win, United only 23. But this is sport, so anything can happen – and it’s a derby, which means that old truism becomes even truer.
Kick-off is at 3.30pm GMT. This sounds bizarre but may actually be a collector’s item: a piece of scheduling that shows some common sense. As summer time came to an end in Britain last night, it will feel like 4.30 on the nation’s body clock. And I’ll be back shortly after 2.30 with the teams.