That's why they are champions – and why they might be in three games again.
This was it: the game was in the hands of a settlement day. The competition where the red half of Merseyside had anticipated. This was where the City would stumble, faced with the intense pressure of a derby in which only three points could do.
It wouldn't be like that. The Reds ended the night with a broken heart: the red colors of Manchester, including Liverpool. City was victorious, imperious and returned to the top of the competition. Exclude games from Burnley, Leicester and Brighton and there is nothing that Jurgen Klopp and his players can do. Someone else will have to stop City. Manchester United, just like Liverpool, missed their chance.
Manchester City took a huge step towards defending their Premier League title by winning the newest Manchester derby
The midfielder from the city used United back left Luke Shaw as a screen before he drove his left path to the bottom corner
Because United was looking for an equalizer, substitute Leroy Sane was quick in the counterattack to double the City advantage
It was all a smile for Sane, who was helped by an error by American keeper David de Gea, who gave in to his closest post
Defeat for United is another big blow in the hope of earning a top four, as they remain sixth with three games to go
It was in the last 45 minutes that the real city appeared. They had been rather halfhearted, slower than normal, nervous for the immense annoyance of Pep Guardiola.
That changed as soon as he came in and with the casual introduction of Leroy Sane after 51 minutes.
Unbelievable because he stood up for Fernandinho, who fell out injured after a bruise – although perfectly fair – with Paul Pogba.
It was Wayne Rooney who described how Pogba hurt players in the tackle without even looking at it. It was just built that way. Fernandinho seemed to get a foot in the turf that challenged him. Naughty as ever, Guardiola dropped Ilkay Gundogan into his position and brought a flying wideman, Sane. That changed City and the game.
They became faster, fiercely difficult to grasp, began dictating the game at the pace that the manager demanded. And in that period they took the game away from United; perhaps the title away from Liverpool. In a 12-minute period, they scored twice and could have had more, the targets provided the breathing space they needed when the tension was released.
With much to prove after their humiliation of 4-0 in Everton, United started the goal while Ashley Young drove forward
After comments about physicality and offense during the week, it turned out to be a tough derby when Andre Marriner booked Vincent Kompany
Jesse Lingard, trusted in a front two with United set-up 5-3-2, was a threat to the counterattack because he wanted to use his pace
The Englishman had beating the defenders of the City and looked to hook a ball from Paul Pogba into the corner of the net
Lingard pushed it wide and was left to deceive his mistake while he sat on the surface while the home supporters roared him at
They were charities, both, but questions will still be asked about the form of David De Gea. United's best player for so long, he hasn't been the same since a regular World Cup last summer.
It was Gundogan, supposedly in midfield, who created the breakthrough goal. He picked Bernardo Silva after a driving run and the Portuguese cut inside and made a quick, low shot, which completely surprised De Gea.
He slowed down – against Everton on Sunday – and hit his nearest post. But it was no more than Bernardo deserved. Not only for his hard work on Wednesday evening, but his performances during the season. He was on the shortlist for Players & Player of the Year and it was well deserved.
The clincher came after Fred got possession again. Raheem Sterling this time benefited from a fairly brilliant counterattack, as a result of which Victor Lindelof defeated the red shirts and chose Sane. His shot was fierce, but perhaps De Gea could have saved it a year ago? Many thought so.
When an increasing number of red seats became visible, the visitors' voices grew louder.
This title is not yet theirs. But if it is taken away from them, it will not be United, the neighbors who have kept themselves to themselves very recently.
COMPETITION FACTS, PLAYER CERTIFICATES, LIVE PREMIER LIGA TABLE AND SPORTSMAIL & MATCH ZONE
Manchester United (5-3-2): De Gea, Darmian (Sanchez 83), Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Andreas Pereira (Lukaku 72), Fred, Pogba, Lingard (Martial 83), Rashford.
Replacements not used: Romero, Mata, Dalot, Matic.
booked: Andreas Pereira, Shaw
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester City (4-3-3)Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan (Danilo 89), Fernandinho (Sane 51), Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero (Gabriel Jesus 89), Sterling.
Replacements not used: Muric, Mahrez, Otamendi, Foden.
Goals: Bernardo Silva (54), Sane (66)
booked: Kompany, Zinchenko
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- League 1
- Series a
- La Liga
This was the moment that Manchester City broke the deadlock in Old Trafford when Bernardo Silva made a move on the edge of the box. Here you can find more like this in the MATCH ZONE of Sportsmail.
It was a difficult first half for Pep Guardiola to watch from the sidelines as City rises up against a United side with energy
Bernardo Silva was the man of the match against Tottenham and again looked a danger right while City was looking for a goal
The Portuguese international produced the first real rescue of Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea after a thunderous attempt
Marcus Rashford was furiously let go of the referee in the first half after calling himself into trouble for a rough treatment of City
Like Lingard, Rashford was a real danger to the counterattack and he was inches away from beating Ederson to the ball
Those who predicted an easy drive for Manchester City clearly had a blank when they recalled Manchester derbies to the time that United was the best team in town. Those games should also have been walk-overs.
But in the title years under Sir Alex Ferguson – from 1992-93 to 2012-13 – the teams met 39 times and on 16 occasions United failed to win. City took the points against expectations, City held out against the draw. As is often the case with derby & # 39; s, the forms book counted little. It was the same here for periods of the first half.
City looked elegant, true, but United had more than their moments and certainly didn't look like the matt, incoherent messes that four times in the middle had given in to Everton on Sunday.
The idea that they would be delighted to deliver the city title on behalf of Liverpool also turned out to be bunkum. That stuff makes for good sound bites and paper stories, but would you like to lose in the stadium to their rivals in the city? Not these fans and not these players either.
City will always be the noisy neighbors; the comedy club that got serious and took what United legitimately considered of them. United was ready to beat them, no matter how good that might be on Merseyside.
To this end they placed Marcus Rashford on Vincent Kompany, the old head against the young legs and 10 minutes in it he paid out dividends. Rashford got the jump on Kompany, who controlled him in the body and picked up the first warning of the night.
Challenges continued to fly in from both sides and Andreas Pereira (at the back left) was the first name of United after a brash challenge
United captain Young did not stop talking to Marriner while supporting his teammate with increasing tensions
The best chance for half for both sides came to Raheem Sterling, but his short-range efforts were fired directly at De Gea
Guardiola could only put his head in his hands while his side in the opening blinked for 45 minutes to increase the pressure
City got even worse in the early second half of the race when Fernandinho, who was so crucial to the team, was forced out
Andre Marriner is known as the mildest official, but he was smarter than letting this game get out of hand.
He booked Andreas Pereira for a foul on Oleksandr Zinchenko after 24 minutes and, two minutes later, Zinchenko for fouls on Ashley Young and Rashford within seconds of each other. It did the trick. The game was difficult, but for the most part reasonable.
United was also honest. Not brilliant, but dedicated and quick counterattack. Players who had disappeared from view in Goodison Park also made themselves known. Pogba had the first shot of the game, after 11 minutes, safely collected by Ederson. Fred also tried his chances from 30 meters.
The best of the early chances came with a nice cross pass from Pogba – from left to right, such as that from Tottenham on Wembley – which was met by Jesse Lingard, whose volley just flew over the far post.
Equally impressive was a break after De Gea rescued Bernardo Silva, who ended up with Lingard who found Rashford, who was thwarted by Ederson, who bravely spared his feet and sent the man of England into the process.
Gundogan lost the ball and gave Pereira the opportunity to try his luck from far, the shot dangerously falling, but a fraction late, while Young's free kick was beautifully blocked by Fernandinho when Rashford was perfectly positioned to score .
But a moment of brilliance from Bernardo Silva gave them a crucial goal as he shot through the legs of United & Luke Shaw.
The Portuguese midfielder roared towards the supporters of the road while celebrating with Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan
United was looking for a fast equalizer and Lingard stretched out to tap an empty net – just to miss it
City, supported by their opener, turned the style and Sterling picked Sane to put greater distance between the two sides
The goals were an important moment in the Premier League title races, while Guardiola clenched his fists in the celebration
For a side that didn't have a shot at goal against Everton until four minutes were left, this was much better from United.
Guardiola clearly didn't feel the same with City. He seemed frustrated by their attacking pace, frustrated by a few wasteful passes. He was right. City looked nervous, and perhaps because of the commitment.
15 minutes into the match, David Silva knocked the ball home to Sterling, whose shot rebounded off Chris Smalling who almost went the wrong way. De Gea.
And again it was Sterling, two minutes before half-time, who produced City's best chances before the break, after Sergio Aguero and David Silva had combined. Aguero, in which he played, again hit a low strike and signed the best save of the game so far away from De Gea.