Manchester derbies have always been a spectacle in English football, ranging from eye-catching individual displays to on-field battles and off-field drama.
The recent clash between the Manchester clubs – Manchester City and Manchester United – was the 188th derby matchup since 1881.
A dominant force in the head-to-head in the 1990s, Man United have often been outclassed by neighbours City since their revolutionary takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008.
While Manchester United still enjoy an advantage in the Manchester derby, City’s 6-3 triumph on October 2 was just another indicator of the shift of authority in English football’s greatest club rivalry.
Here we discuss some key pointers from the fixture.
No stopping Haaland
As if it were written in the stars, Erling Haaland was the show stopping act in his first Manchester derby. Arriving into the fixture with 11 goals in seven Premier League games, the Norwegian forward hit his first derby goal in the 34th minute of the game.
It didn’t take even five minutes for Haaland to score his second as he combined with Kevin de Bruyne once again to find the back of the net. His hat-trick goal meant the 22-year-old scored three goals in three successive Premier League home games.
Besides striking thrice, Erling Haaland contributed two assists. His performance meant he had the most goal involvements (three goals, two assists) by any player – past or present – in the Manchester derby.
Furthermore, he is the youngest player in Premier League history (22 years, 73 days) to be directly involved in five goals in a league fixture.
With 14 Premier League goals now, Haaland is perhaps the most likely candidate to win the Premier League Golden Boot for 2022-23 albeit with a record tally.
It is often rare for a player to score three goals in a derby fixture. But, when two players register a hat-trick in a single fixture, it is a grand display of the footballers’ prowess and how they link up with their teammates to assert dominance in a game.
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden hit three goals each past Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. This would represent the third time a Premier League club had two hat-trick scorers in a fixture since Arsenal vs Southampton in May 2003 (Jermaine Pennant, Robert Pires) and Leicester vs Southampton in October 2019 (Ayoze Pérez, Jamie Vardy).
Unsettled Ronaldo watches Manchester derby from the bench
Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustration levels at Manchester United hit a new low as he was an unused substitute in the 6-3 defeat at the Etihad.
With just one goal in eight appearances for the Red Devils this season, the Portuguese icon didn’t take the field at the Etihad, and this opened some heavy debates about his place in the club’s plans post the derby loss.
Man United boss Erik Ten Hag was quizzed about his decision, and the Dutch manager said he did it ‘out of respect’.
“I wouldn’t bring him in because out of respect for Cristiano, for his big career,” Ten Hag said.
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