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Report: Fellaini off in Manchester derby stalemate

Manchester United drew 0-0 against Manchester City in the Premier League on Thursday evening. Dow to ten men for the last six minutes of normal time after Marouane Fellaini was booked and sent off in the space of a minute, challenging Sergio Aguero for the yellow and head butting him for the red, although it looks like both were as bad as each other. United continued their unbeaten run, stretching it to 24 matches in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho made four changes from the team which beat Burnley at the weekend. Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford all return to the starting XI against Manchester City. United started the game in good attacking fashion with Mkhitaryan playing in a more central position with Rashford and Martial on the left flank. City nearly took the lead in the tenth minute but Sergio Aguero’s shot was off target. City seemed to be getting the benefit of the doubt from Martin Atkinson who did nothing when Martial was fouled by Vincent Kompany then Nicolas Otamendi took Rashford out off the ball. Nothing was given! Poor refereeing once again.

Rashford looked promising after the first twenty-minute of the match, getting the better of Otamendi, even with a head start for the Argentinian. United won a corner from that attack, but nsothing came of it. Good so far for United, who have dealt with everything City have brought to them, thus far at least.United had a good chance to break the deadlock in the 25th minute of the match with Martial in the left, putting a cross into the box but Herrera was unable to get it to bury it into the back of the net. Mkhitaryan had the shot, which Claudio Bravo flapped at. Good from United, lucky for City with their poor goalkeeper. Gary Neville on Bravo after this poor goalkeeping:

“The warning signs are there when Martial and Rashford have the ball at their feet. Bravo is a flapper – you don’t want your goalkeeper doing things like that! You want composure but he has no awareness of what is going on around him. He’s fortunate at the end.”

City had another chance through Toure in the 27th minute of the match. Martial tracked back, heading the ball behind for a corner, with United then clearing it. Another City attack minutes later was thwarted, more by luck than anything else. Aguero had a shot on goal in the 32nd minute of the match, on target but David De Gea caught it sublimely. United were doing well defensively, perhaps more threat on the attack would be a good thing. Aguero seemed like he was warming up for something special, despite looking fatigued almost from the start of the match. Another shot from the Argentinian inside the 34th minute, which went over the crossbar. Aleksandar Kolarov had a shot on goal ten minutes before the end of the half, De Gea saved it, conceding a corner.

Atkinson was going from bad to worse in officiating this match. Another foul on a United player not given. When will the Football Association do something about the poor standard of refereeing? A free-kick was given for United after Herrera was fouled by Fernandinho, after a moment or two or arguing, the game commenced. United were given another free-kick after Pablo Zabaleta fouled Darmian. Rashford took the resulting free-kick, putting the ball into the box for an onrushing Herrera, whose shot on goal was off target. One minute added time played at the end of the first half which ended 0-0.

No changes for either side at the start of the second half. Raheem Sterling broke forward on the attack, dispatching his shot, a low one, straight to De Gea. City had the most chances in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. United, after a good start in the match, just seemed to not have what was needed to get something from the match. The attacking trio are not being helped, not having the players between the midfield and them to get into advanced areas with the ball. City were the team with everything to lose, playing better and taking the game into United’s final third of the pitch. In the 70th minute, Sterling had a shot on goal, straight into the palms of De Gea. United seem to be defending well, even with Martial dropping back.

City made two chances in the 79th minute of the match with Willy Caballero replacing Bravo, who suffered an injury and Jesus Navas replacing Leroy Sane. United made their first change with Jesse Lingard replacing Martial. A moment of madness for United after the substitutions with Marouane Fellaini booked for a challenge on Aguero, with a resulting fracas and a headbutt by the Belgian on the Argentinian, resulting in a straight red, with Aguero playing Fellaini for the red card. Mourinho made his second substitution with Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Mkhitaryan after the red card. United would need to keep their heads to get something from this match.

Six minutes were added on at the end of the match with Gabriel Jesus scoring, celebrating and not knowing he was flagged for offside. Mourinho made his third change with Ashley Young replacing Rashford. United set themselves up for the draw, which is a good result, keeping that unbeaten run going. A win would have been nice, but it was not to be. Marouane Fellaini will be missing for the next few games, maybe longer, which may or may not be a good thing. Swansea City at Old Trafford on Sunday. United will need to win to keep their chase on a top four place.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini; Mkhitaryan (Fosu-Mensah 86′), Rashford (Young 90+3′), Martial (Lingard 80′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Shaw, Tuanzebe; Rooney

Bookings: Marouane Fellaini 83′ sent off 84′

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