BUBBLY IS ON ICE BUT DON’T FEEL TOO FLAT...
CITY may have lost the derby to their deadliest rivals and had to put the title celebrations on hold.
But this was a reminder of what Pep Guardiola’s side can produce when in full flow.
Okay, this was a painful, humbling evening for Guardiola.
Just as the volume was set to be turned up for the ultimate party inside the Etihad, Jose Mourinho came along and pulled the plug.
But the home side will know that on another day this had the potential to be the most humiliating of matches for United.
An utterly wretched display from referee Martin Atkinson denied them two stonewall penalties, conceded by Ashley Young – first a blatant handball and then a potential leg-breaking challenge on Sergio Aguero.
Then there were the chances that went begging.
Raheem Sterling twice fired over from close range when one-on-one with David de Gea in the first half.
Ilkay Gundogan also planted a free header into the hands of the United goalkeeper before the break.
The German then caught the outside the bar when the score was still 2-0 in the second half.
And even after United mounted their incredible comeback, Aguero saw a header acrobatically pushed away by De Gea, and Sterling hit the post.
Goals from Vincent Kompany and Gundogan only told part of the story.
It’s no exaggeration to suggest City could have been 5-0 up by half-time. How they weren’t, only they will know – and no doubt it will form the basis of Guardiola’s post-match analysis.
It was ironic then that it was an old-fashioned set piece that opened the scoring after 25 minutes, with a header that was all about Kompany’s will and power.
Gundogan doubled City’s lead five minutes later after a slick one-two with Sterling and a dragback that left Nemanja Matic for dead.
De Gea was left with no chance as the German answered his critics after his dismal performance against Liverpool and swept a shot into the bottom corner.
City were sublime. United bamboozled.
In that type of form, Guardiola’s side are unstoppable. United had no answer – and it was only City’s wastefulness that kept the contest alive.
But even after surviving that onslaught, not even the most ardent Red could have anticipated what followed – Paul Pogba side- footing past Ederson eight minutes into the break, and then heading home to level the scores to leave the Etihad stunned.
When Chris Smalling met Alexis Sanchez’ in the 69th minute, it was a reminder that anything can happen in football.
Vincent Kompany celebrates his goal
Raheem Sterling’s missed chances cost City dear