By MO BHANA
Manchester City look a near-certainty to win the Premier League after Pep Guardiola’s men consigned the Red Devils to a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, sending the citizens 11 points clear.
This long-awaited Manchester derby was a game complete with crucial errors, trivial fouls and a lot of controversy.
Jose Mourinho had set his United side up to be resolute but ultimately helped to hand Pep Guardiola’s men the title with 22 games to spare.
City scored first when man-of-the-match David Silva slotted in from close range after 42 minutes, only for poor defending in first-half stoppage time when Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph allowed Marcus Rashford to stab home.
However, Otamendi made amends nine minutes after the break when Romelu Lukaku – who had a nightmare game – lashed at a clearance in the area and the City defender pounced on the rebound to score.
The Portuguese has now lost nine matches in all competitions against the Catalan – no manager has beaten him more times – and, even more importantly, City now look a class apart.
Jose Mourinho claimed referee, Michael Oliver was partially to blame for Ut’s defeat because he made an important mistake during the game
“The result was made with a big penalty not given. That would have been 2-2 with 20 minutes to go. Michael was unlucky because it was a clear penalty.”
“Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes his side won because they were the better team during the course of the match: “We won because we were better. We are still in December, if we have 11 points when we play the second derby in April then maybe I will tell you that we have the title.”
“We won at Old Trafford again, that is why I am the most pleased and of course for the three points. We played good, with a lot of courage. I’m so satisfied.”
Liverpool remain fourth in the Premier League table, two points behind third-placed Chelsea, after a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby against Everton.
Liverpool took the lead after Mo Salah’s stunning finish, which was just reward for the manner in which Jurgen Klopp’s side performed.
Sadio Mane wasted a chance to make it 2-0 before Everton, who had only one shot on target from open play, were awarded the 77th-minute penalty after the referee ruled Dejan Lovren’s push on Dominic Calvert-Lewin was worthy of a penalty.
Everton captain Wayne Rooney duly equalised and the match ended all square.
An angry Klopp claimed Everton should never have been awarded a penalty in an explosive interview with Sky Sports.
“Calvert-Lewin is smart and takes a step but even then it’s nothing,” he said.
“The referees don’t understand that the player is doing that. I cannot believe in a game like this when only one team is trying to win it and the other team were never in our box, and then you give it, you open the door for them like this.
“In my understanding, it’s not a penalty.”
The German later apologised to the interviewer, and Everton boss Sam Allardyce saw the penalty decision in a different light.
“He can moan all he wants but it’s a penalty,” said Allardyce. “It’s an extremely brave decision and I think he got the decision right.”
Everton stay 10th in the Premier League table, whilst Liverpool remain fourth, two points behind third-placed Chelsea, lost against West Ham, thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s first goal which was enough to give David Moyes his first three points at the London Stadium.
Tottenham ended a four-game run without a league win by putting five past Stoke at Wembley, including two goals from Harry Kane.
Burnley moved level on points with fifth-placed Spurs by overcoming Watford with a Scott Arfield goal.
A Steve Mounie double gave Huddersfield a 2-0 win over Brighton and moved them five points clear of the relegation zone but Newcastle lost 3-2 at home to Leicester in Saturday’s late kick-off.
Swansea lifted themselves off the bottom with Wilfried Bony’s late goal the difference in a 1-0 win over West Brom.
Paul Clement’s side moved above Crystal Palace, who saw Christian Benteke miss an injury-time penalty in a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth – both Cherries goals coming from 35-year-old Jermain Defoe.