Thursday’s Manchester derby certainly failed to produce the goods, with the game ending goalless at the Etihad Stadium. Goalscoring chances were at a premium throughout the contest, and the final whistle sounded with neither side having done enough to warrant all three points.
The opening half saw City seize control of the game, and they went closest to breaking the deadlock after just nine minutes. Sergio Agüero reacted quickest to a low Kevin De Bruyne cross, though the Argentine's low shot bounced back off the base of the near post. Agüero had another opening shortly before the interval, though fired over the bar from the edge of the area after being laid on by Raheem Sterling.
For their part, United were content to sit back and soak up pressure, looking for that decisive opening on the counter-attack. It presented itself seconds before the break, though Ander Herrera headed wide from point-blank range on a Marcus Rashford freekick. It was a sign that José Mourinho’s gameplan, in spite of City’s dominance, could still deliver the goods.
That said, there was little change early in the second half, when City continued to peg United back. Pep Guardiola’s side dominated possession, and David de Gea was forced into a couple of early stops. However, United’s defence remained resolute, and clear-cut opportunities remained few and far between.
There was still time for some late excitement, with United midfielder Marouane Fellaini earning himself an early bath in the final 10 minutes. The Belgian was given a straight red card for headbutting Agüero, as City were handed hopes of snatching all three points. However, the final whistle sounded with the game still goalless — albeit only after Gabriel Jesus had a goal chalked off for offside — with defences having very much triumphed over attacks.