Manchester City will have to wait at least two weeks to be officially crowned Premier League champions after a painful 3-2 defeat to Manchester United. The Blues played a spectacular first half and looked ready to clinch the title at home, but United came back through Paul Pogba and spoiled City’s party. We’re still 13 points clear at the top and winning the league, though.
The first 20 minutes were very slow, with City struggling to find offense without a recognized striker and United more than happy to just defend and not offer anything going forward. But as soon as Pep Guardiola put Raheem Sterling in as a False Nine and moved Bernardo Silva over to the right wing, the game changed and City looked like the best team in the league again.
The first goal came on a header from Vincent Kompany, who loves to score headers in title deciders against United, and Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 just five minutes later. United were on the ropes and City could have made the score even bigger, but Sterling missed two golden chances and the Blues had to settle for a two-goal lead.
At halftime the Blues were dominant, in complete control, and just 45 minutes away from winning the Premier League.
The positivity around the Etihad Stadium evaporated in a space of two minutes early in the second half thanks to two fantastic goals from Paul Pogba, who equalized for United and destroyed what looked like a celebration at halftime. City needed to regroup quickly and try to control the game again in order to find a winner in the final 35 minutes, while United looked very comfortable and ready to score on the counter at any moment.
United didn’t score on a counter, but on a set piece, thanks to a brilliant run and finish by Chris Smalling after a cross from Alexis Sánchez. City had 20 minutes to somehow mount a comeback of their own, which looked extremely unlikely, but Pep Guardiola gave it a shot with Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Agüero getting a call from the bench.
The trio tried really hard and Agüero nearly equalized, but David De Gea made a tremendous save to stop City’s best chance of the second half. The final whistle came, and there will be no party today. Next week, then!
Man City: Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; Gundogan (Agüero), Fernandinho, Silva (De Bruyne); Bernardo (Jesus), Sterling, Sané
Goals: Kompany (25’), Gundogan (30’)
Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Young; Herrera (Lindelof), Matic, Pogba; Lingard (McTominay), Lukaku, Alexis (Rashford)
Goals: Pogba (53’, 55’), Smalling (69’)