Man City go top after dull derby draw
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