It was City who earned the bragging rights in Sunday’s 168th Manchester derby – through Sergio Aguero’s second-half winner – despite the best efforts of ten-man United at the Etihad Stadium.
The Reds were forced to play over half the game with one man less after Chris Smalling was dismissed for two bookable offences. Aguero netted the vital strike just after the hour but United made it a real battle for the hosts despite the numerical disadvantage.
There was good and bad news for Louis van Gaal when it came to his starting XI. Captain Wayne Rooney returned after a three-game suspension but Radamel Falcao missed out through injury, as did Rafael who picked up a knock on Thursday. Fit-again Antonio Valencia stepped in to take his place at right-back, while Marouane Fellaini started his second game in a row, alongside Daley Blind. Further forward Rooney, Angel Di Maria, Adnan Januzaj and Robin van Persie took up the mantle in attack.
City meanwhile had their own fitness issues with playmaker-in-chief David Silva unavailable and Aleksandar Kolarov having to pull out in the warm-up with a knock; Gael Clichy came in at left-back.