Our 3️⃣ points as Man United end City's winning streak at 21

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OneFootball

Padraig Whelan

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Manchester United brought an end to rivals Manchester City’s 21-game winning run with a clinical performance at the Etihad.

Manchester City 0
Manchester United 2
Full time

This is what we made of it.


The streak ends … but what a run it was

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It wasn’t quite Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak being broken but it was a surprise nonetheless to see City’s winning run end at 21 games – even in a derby.

Because they had started to look invincible and while defeats (and even draws) are part of football, they seemed like a thing of the past for this side so now that it is over, it feels fitting to reflect on the numbers and just how impressive it was.

Across the 21 games since mid-December (encompassing four competitions), they scored 55 goals and conceded just eight times.

They fell behind just once in a game in that period too – incredibly coming against fourth tier Cheltenham when they survived a big FA Cup scare with a late comeback.

Only six teams have ever managed a longer such streak in the top flight of their respective nations, with the Citizens falling six short of the record held by Welsh outfit TNS on 27.

However, it should also be noted that with this victory, their rivals are now closing in on a record of their own – namely the longest unbeaten run away from home in the history of the English top flight.

This victory moves them up to 22, ahead of Liverpool last season, and five away from the record that is held by Arsenal’s Invincibles.


Big game Bruno? Respect the rest

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Much of the talk leading into this one centred on Bruno Fernandes and his lack of impact in games against the big boys.

Well, that’s a stick you can no longer use to beat him with after this one as games don’t come too much bigger than this for United.

However, his contribution was mostly just another penalty (giving more fuel his ‘Penandes’ critics) and while he deserves credit, others in red who don’t get it so often merit it so much more.

Luke Shaw has been one of not just United’s unsung heroes but one of the league’s unheralded stars for some time, with other left-backs also coming in for praise instead but even outside of his well-taken goal, he was as confident, reliable and threatening as he has been all season.

Marcus Rashford did a trojan amount of selfless running and Scott McTominay marshalled the space between United’s box and the halfway line effortlessly in helping his side keep key possession when they needed it.

Fernandes may have silenced his critics a little but others deserve to be shouted about much more from this one – including one man who deserves a section all to himself.


The gloves are off

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Several reports circulated in midweek that Dean Henderson is growing ever more bullish about his chances of claiming the United number one spot next season.

With this performance, it isn’t hard to see why as he capitalised on David de Gea’s absence to return to Spain for the birth of his daughter by stepping up in a big way.

You would perhaps have expected him to be worked a lot harder from a City side who were in the greatest form in the history of the club but it was more a case of continued assuredness.

And there’s a lot to be said even for that given some of the former Atlético man’s erratic form over the past few years, even if there has been a noted improvement.

He made one particularly strong stop to deny Oleksandr Zinchenko and has quick-thinking and perfectly-executed throw to Shaw led to a goal within seconds.

It leaves his manager with a very big decision to make both upon De Gea’s return and next season. But it is a question well worth asking now: has he earned the gloves?