It was intense, physical and highly competitive but, in the end, the 170th Manchester derby finished in stalemate on Sunday as United and City frustrated each other at Old Trafford and substitute Jesse Lingard was denied by the bar late on.
This fixture has provided fans with goals galore in recent history, as well as the odd moment of greatness, but the latest meeting could not live up to form. The result leaves City top of the Barclays Premier League on goal difference ahead of Arsenal, with United placed fourth behind West Ham.
Juan Mata was brought back into the team for Lingard and the Spaniard, playing on the right flank, unsuccessfully appealed for an early penalty when Fernandino almost handled the ball. City then created a decent chance of their own through Raheem Sterling, the ex-Liverpool man whose shot was deflected wide of David De Gea’s goal to a chorus of ironic cheers from the home fans.
Wayne Rooney temporarily left the action on 22 minutes with blood pouring from his head and the birthday boy appeared to have the wound stapled by the physio following a collision with Vincent Kompany, the recalled City captain who clearly had a point to prove to Manuel Pellegrini. It was just one example of a highly physical first half, filled with tough tackles and questionable challenges.