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Manchester City's Incredible Comeback Highlights Gulf in Class Against United

By Real11 - Mar 4 2024 115 Views
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 Class Divide Exposed: City's Stunning Comeback Leaves United in Awe 

At the end of the 192nd Manchester derby, we had gotten a fair idea of where the city’s two biggest clubs are. 

Reigning champions, City, who were dominant right throughout the game on Sunday, won 3-1 to stay in contention for a record fourth Premier League title on the bounce. Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag, meanwhile, thought the only way to keep their arch nemesis at bay, was to defend assiduously and hope to hit them on the counter, yet they still lost comfortably. 

Pep Guadriola’s side, who went behind to an early Marcus Rashford stunning strike, ultimately showed how good they are while United showed exactly how much catching up there is to do, United’s new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe recently said he wants to knock City “off their perch” but looking at the red devils performance, it won’t be happening anytime soon. City are only a point behind leaders Liverpool and will play them next at Anfield. 

Ten Hag after the match insisted that the game was closer that it had appeared, but even the most loyal United fan would have found it hard to keep up with his assessment after another dismal derby outcome. 

“No, I don't think [the result shows a big gap between the teams], absolutely not," Ten Hag said post match. "You can see we have many problems with injuries and still we had an opportunity [to win].

"Really small margins. We could have scored the second goal in a debatable moment. It's not that big [of a gap] and when we have everyone on board we can be competitive. I think also we showed in the cup final against them [last season] when it was really close but City is, at this moment, the best team in the world. Don't forget this."

Ten Hag was stressing out to a lost of injury list that includes Rasmus Højlunds, Lisandro Martines and Luke Shaw as an integral reason he had to play Bruno Fernandes and Scott Mctominary as forwards, but even against a side resolute to close in the gamps and break quickly, City were miles ahead. 

They led in the first forty five minutes courtesy a Rashford strike that blasted in off the underside of the crossbar, but City’s 203 passes in the final third in comparison to a lowly 17 from United provided a better insight of how the first half panned out. City had to wait for a couple of goals in the last 10 minutes to be certain of the win, but it was no surprise when they ended the game with 27 shots on target. United could only muster three. 

Football is not only about possession," Ten Hag argued later. "We scored a brilliant goal but also after that the first 20 minutes we had some more opportunities. I think we defended brilliantly out of possession and the defining moments were not on our side. We were really close to get a win or at least a draw here."

For almost anyone who viewed this game at the stadium or back home on their television screens, however, there seemed a gulf between the clubs. City, though, haven’t. for the very first time been at their lethal best. This was the 12th instance in the Premier League, the men in blue needed to come from behind to register a win. Only Liverpool have won more points (21 points) from losing positions                                                                                                                                                                       

There was a moment when the Man City boss became so agitated that he told the ball boy close to the benches to recover the ball more quickly. But amidst the disorder and tension of a derby, his team persisted and stayed patient and it worked in their favour. 

Foden equalised for the hosts in the 56th minute and then scored his second in the 80th minute to put Cityzen in front for the very first time in the game. Erling Haaland then killed the tie in stoppage time with astute precision. The prolific goal scorer struggled to get going and had Ambrat not been dispossessed in his own half, the Norwegian international would have gone goalless. 

City have now won three consecutive home league derbies, their lengthiest run since 1955, winning the game by a staggering aggregate of 13-5. Following a hat trick in the first meeting last season, Foden scored a brace on Sunday. 

"He is right now, this season, one of the best [in the Premier League]," Guardiola said. "I always had the feeling he would score goals. Now he is winning games. To become a world-class player you have to win games. He has an incredible work ethic, he lives to play football and now he is winning games."

For City this was a fitting way to commence a challenging run of fixtures with games against title contenders Liverpool and Arsenal up next before the end of March. They will first play the second leg of their Round of 16 Champions League match against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday. They then go to Anfield next week to play the gigantic match against Liverpool, although Pep has dismissed the idea of this game being an early title decider.

"There are a lot of points still to play for and different places to go for all three or four contenders to win the Premier League," he said.

City are chasing another title while United are again looking to keep head above water.   

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