Man City go top af­ter dull derby draw

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Manch­ester United and Manch­ester City played out a dull dead­lock in their derby at Old Traf­ford.

City re­turned to the top of the Pre­mier League ahead of Arse­nal on goal dif­fer­ence - but there was lit­tle else to cel­e­brate in a dire game de­void of at­tack­ing qual­ity.

What few chances there were fell to United. Sub­sti­tute Jesse Lin­gard hit the bar late on and City keeper Joe Hart saved well from Chris Smalling.

United de­fender Mar­cos Rojo and City’s Nicolas Ota­mendi were both out­stand­ing as Old Traf­ford’s at­mos­phere was muted long be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle.

Wayne Rooney cel­e­brated his 30th birth­day on Satur­day, but did not pro­duce a per­for­mance to get the home sup­port­ers in the party mood.

It was not for want of try­ing as Rooney tire­lessly tried to ex­ert in­flu­ence on a game where both sides can­celled each other out for long pe­ri­ods.

There is no doubt, how­ever, that some of the old snap and spark is cur­rently miss­ing, end­ing in Rooney tread­ing the fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory of a player al­most try­ing too hard to make things hap­pen.

Rooney hav­ing a head wound sta­pled on the touch­line was ar­guably the most eye-catch­ing mo­ment of a dread­ful first half, where his strug­gles were un­der­lined with one way­ward pass that ended a promis­ing United move.

And there were howls of frus­tra­tion from United’s fans af­ter the break when he de­cided against try­ing to pick out an op­tion fur­ther for­ward, turn­ing to pass back.

Rooney has had such fal­low spells be­fore and has in­vari­ably ended them in spec­tac­u­lar style so only a fool would write him off - but this was not his best day.

Manch­ester United’s Juan Mata and a Manch­ester United player vie for the ball dur­ing the English cham­pi­onship foot­ball, Pre­mier League match be­tween Manch­ester United and Manch­ester City yes­ter­day at Old Traf­ford Sta­dium in England. PHOTO AFP

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