Extra Time: Blood and Guts in Manchester


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Manchester City’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi (right) celebrates scoring the second goal against rival Manchester United.

Lawson Sumler, Reporter

The world of futbol had its eyes on one game last weekend: the world-renowned Manchester derby.

The undefeated and soaring Manchester City clashed with the reformed Manchester United at historic Old Trafford. However, despite Manchester United having the home field advantage, it was the Citizens who stood tall in toppling their rivals 2-1.

The eventual winners struck first after a dominant 43 minutes. Spanish midfield maestro David Silva curled a 25-yard free kick past the outstretched arms of David De Gea. The away team was not allowed to celebrate for long, as an absolute comedy of defensive errors from the Citizens allowed Marcus Rashford to slip through and level the game right at the whistle for halftime.

The first half was not an excellent performance from either side, making the managers’ team talks crucial, adding yet another level to the historic rivalry between City’s Pep Guardiola and United’s Jose Mourinho. As two of the most famous managers in the world, the two have clashed several times, with Mourinho typically enraging the normally stoic Guardiola with his intentionally inflammatory comments, even reportedly causing Guardiola’s exit from FC Barcelona in 2012. However, in this match, Guardiola got the better of his archrival.

Early in the second half, the Manchester United defense failed and allowed a Nicolas Otamendi half-volley to find the back of the net after a goal-mouth scramble. While De Gea made two miraculous saves right before, it was not enough to stop the full-blown assault of the Citizens. The Red Devils almost crawled back after several close chances, with the game getting heated and testy towards the end, which is to be expected from a derby.

Manchester City remains unbeaten for the season, and reached a record of 14 consecutive victories, a feat never before accomplished in the British Premier League. With Christmas on the horizon, Manchester City might have the league wrapped up already.

The league leaders are up a full 12 points on second-place Manchester United. Man City has only draw – early in the season to Everton. The extraordinarily wealthy club has crushed high quality opposition like Liverpool and Chelsea, as well.

The Citizens’ back half of the schedule is not to be taken lightly, however. Clashes with Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Burnley and Chelsea are going to prove a different challenge as the season goes on, as fitness becomes more and more of a pressing issue.

The Citizens have been overwhelmingly impressive and look close to unbeatable. The January transfer window is going to be crucial for the other clubs in the Premier League, as reinforcements are clearly necessary to topple the current leaders.

Looking forward, the celebrating tradition of Boxing Day fixtures is upcoming on the day after Christmas. Most notably, second-place Manchester United is facing upstart Burnley, currently sit in sixth place. The Clarets have been incredibly impressive so far this year, and are tied on points with Liverpool and Manchester United. This should be a difficult test for both teams but with different focuses; Burnley needs to come out screaming and United simply needs to stay focused. The Red Devils should take the win with ease, but Burnley has the ability to shock the world with a big Boxing Day upset.