It was that most wonderful time of derby day for Manchester City fans, when Gary Neville begins a heartfelt lament and Roy Keane starts planning his full-time tirade.
“Manchester United’s response to going 3-1 down has been embarrassing,” Neville said on Sky Sports, shortly before Riyad Mahrez joined Kevin De Bruyne in bagging a brace to make it 4-1.
“I have never seen anything like that in any game of football.”
Neville was aghast at a period of total domination from City between the Mahrez goals, with an on-screen graphic stating they enjoyed a scarcely credible 92% of possession over a 15-minute period.
Can that really be allowed to happen in a game between two professional football teams? Neville branded it “shameful”.
Here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown of how City christened United’s ‘Class of 92%’, beginning with the restart that followed Mahrez sweeping home De Bruyne’s left-wing corner.
70th – United kick-off, so they have the ball. Harry Maguire, to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, then to Scott McTominay – their triangle of pain on the right-hand side. A tenacious De Brunye fouls McTominay, allowing the Scotland midfielder to ping a free-kick out to the other flank. “Please, can everyone just go away from here and stop it?!”
The visitors work the ball around quite nicely until Wan-Bissaka tries to play in no one in particular. Kyle Walker cuts out the pass, Bernardo Silva pops it on to De Bruyne, and City are on the move again.
71st – A rare lapse from Jack Grealish sees Sancho pinch the ball off him, and Jesse Lingard launches a United attack. He finds Marcus Rashford, who stays onside. At this point, all conviction evaporates for the out-of-form England forward, who dribbles forever into a combination of John Stones and Bernardo.
What’s Bernardo doing back there? Well, he just can’t stop running when he’s in this mood. Stones receives a high-five with his team-mate-not the smoothest connection you’ve ever seen, but it’s coming for an entirely different trajectory to Ruben Dias’ trademark congratulations from him.
Joao Cancelo dribbles in-field before finding Riyad Mahrez on the right. City then pass the ball between their defense and include Ederson as the first round of “Oles!” in this passage of play begin.
72nd -United are walking about. This is clearly just awful for them. torture. A broken team. Kyle Walker breaks the shackles of a very disciplined performance by sprinting down the United left just to improve their morale further.
73rd – An auxiliary centre-back a few moments earlier, Bernardo now picks the ball up at left-back because he fancies impersonating Cancelo. His Portugal team-mate is just dosing about in midfield, because why not?
Grealish also having fun in that area of the field and drives at a backpedaling United defence. The ball works its way to Mahrez via De Bruyne, and David de Gea beats the shot behind. A corner feels like a respite for Ralf Rangnick’s side.
“I don’t know how many passes that was, but it was an awful lot that led to that attempt,” Neville grumbles.
74th – Why would you put the ball into the box when you can just carry on playing keep-ball? Alex Telles clumps into De Brunye on the right-wing to give away a free-kick.
“Please, just do a cross so Harry can do a header.”
75th – De Bruyne’s low delivery is flicked at by Grealish, and McTominay manages to scramble away. Fred finds Sancho, who is ambushed by half a dozen rabid City players. Naturally, Bernardo comes away with the ball. Bruno Fernandes eventually commits a futile foul on his compatriot, who appears to have several clones running around the pitch.
76th – Mahrez has left his station on the right-wing to have a go at dribbling through the United midfield, going past McTominay as if he’s not there. Grealish, Bernardo, Rodri and Cancelo then get another passing carousel underway
77th – City’s defense and Ederson are now enjoying themselves, with any pressing United can muster reduced to grim obligation. Then they change gears – De Bruyne through midfield to Grealish, who pins the embattled Wan-Bissaka back once more before an uncharacteristically poor touch from Cancelo concedes a goal-kick. Nevertheless, Guardiola applauses manically – hands above his head – on the touchline.
78th – De Gea waves his short passers away because United have shown categorically that they cannot play City at that game. He goes long. Of course, Rodri wins the header above Rashford, only for Mahrez to handle the second ball. Fred sends the free-kick to Sancho, who heads down the left-wing and looks for Fernandes on the edge of the box.
United’s attacking midfielder is on his heels, Rodri steals in, and De Brunye is once again off and breaking through the midfield debris. Foden bashes into Victor Lindelof before De Bruyne barges Maguire away from the resulting aerial ball – the false nines giving the apparent centre-backs a dose of the rough stuff.
A few moments later, Aymeric Laporte aims a nonchalant pass towards De Bruyne on his own in the centre-circle. United appear to have decided there’s no point trying to stop him anymore.
79th – United amble after the ball for another minute as songs boom around the Etihad Stadium. Fred manages to make an interception. Fernandes passes the ball out for a throw.
80th – De Bruyne departs to a standing ovation and is replaced by Ilkay Gundogan because City’s most diligent and accomplished keeper of midfield possession is just the guy United need to see right now.
81st – Grealish is having an absolute lark. He takes Lindelof down the line, brings him back, goes around him and darts in-field before finding John Stones, who sets Bernardo off on his merry way again.
Seeing Grealish’s “let’s pretend this is Power League” challenge, I cancel ghosts into space just inside the United box as fellow full-back Walker reaches the byline. The Portugal star launches into an incredible acrobatic scissors kick. There’s just no need for it. It’s hilarious, it’s humiliating. De Gea prevents one of the greatest derby goals of all time.
82nd – Walker misjudges a chest down from a chipped Ederson pass. Fernandes wins possession and exchanges passes with Sancho to break down the City right. But, of course, there’s Bernardo to smuggle the ball away from him. Fernandes gives away a petulant foul. Perhaps best not to mention any of this on international duty, Bernardo. Or mention all of it—your call.
83rd – Rodri is passing the ball. alot United are nowhere near him. Oh, and here’s Bernardo Silva again. Fresh from his makeshift right-back act, he’s off on a gambolling dribble past three challenges before a combination of McTominay and Maguire surprisingly fail to give away a penalty.
Stones and Walker quickly snuff out an attempted counter from Rashford, who looks like he’s been on the pitch for 20 hours rather than 20 minutes.
84th – Loud “OLES!” now. Pray for Keane’s blood pressure. United are trudging about with neither an idea nor the inclination to do anything about this. I cancel sweeps a chipped pass beyond Wan-Bissaka, allowing Grealish to pop Lindelof back on his hot tin roof.
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85th – McTominay chops into a challenge on Cancel to concede a throw-in. He’s very grumpy about his opponent being very good at football. Foden receives the throw, exchanges passes with Cancelo but goes down as it runs out for a goal-kick. McTominay shoves at him. Foden grins and laughs as he fixes his socks.
If you think that encapsulates the lopsided nature of this rivalry, De Gea goes short to Maguire. Bernardo is on him, and then he’s on Lindelof too. He keeps going and startsles Wan-Bissaka into giving away a throw. Merciless, marvelous stuff.
Where does Sunday’s win over Manchester United rank among your favorite derby victories? Follow the City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.