Manchester City returned to the summit of the Premier League after a dull and barren derby clash on Sunday, in which the first shot on target in the game did not come until the 82nd minute.
The 170th edition of the fixture was expected to be one for the Old Trafford crowd to savour – United having the opportunity to leapfrog their neighbours in the standings, while City had scored 11 goals in their previous two league wins.
But such thrills were in meagre supply throughout 90 minutes contested by two of the most expensively assembled starting XIs in Premier League history, with United failing to register a single shot in the first half for the first time in over a decade.
City’s first sight of goal came in the 12th minute, when Raheem Sterling’s shot deflected wide after a one-two with Fernandinho – the Brazil midfielder earned a 5th booking of the season and a suspension for bringing down Martial a few moments later.
While United almost found success with a more direct set-piece approach, Morgan Schneiderlin agonisingly close to a decisive touch as Smalling’s header skidded past Hart’s near post. Lingard and Smalling were also denied by the woodwork and Hart respectively as the cross-Manchester tussle ended all-square for the first time in 13 meetings in all competitions.
City edge on to 22 points, ahead of Arsenal at the summit on goal difference, while United are fourth and level on 20 with third-place West Ham.
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