After the worry of how United would cope with a long round trip to the Russian capital to play CSKA Moscow, the home side responded with a display that dispelled any concerns as they outran, outplayed and outfought their noisy neighbours with a display that only needed someone to put the ball into the back of the net.
Louis van Gaal got his team selection and tactics spot on as he picked a starting eleven that nullified the opposition. It was composed of De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Rojo; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Herrera; Mata, Rooney and Martial.
Subs: Romero, Blind, Darmian, Carrick, Lingard, Memphis and Fellaini.
The Reds got the match underway attacking the Stretford End with Old Trafford, as you would expect, buzzing with the anticipation of a classic encounter.
Valencia started the game by stretching his legs down the right wing but his final deliveries failed to pick out his forwards. It was an enthusiastic start by the home side as they tried to build up attacks utilising both flanks and had an early shout for a penalty after a suspicion of handball inside the box.
Rooney received a belated 30th birthday present when he was clouted on the head by city captain Kompany and had to leave the pitch to have his scalp stapled to stem the flow of blood.
This was turning out to be a true derby match in the fact that both sets of players were not holding back with their challenges and all showed 100% commitment in the tackle.
The threat of Prince Harry lookalike De Bruyne had been kept firmly in check by the superb defending of Rojo whenever the Belgian ventured into the Argentine's area of defence.
Phil Jones was up to his usual indecisive self by inexplicable heading the ball out for a corner when there was absolutely no danger whatsoever. Rooney then followed that up with a wayward 30-yard pass to nobody. At least Rooney had an excuse having had a bang to the head, Jones on the other hand had no such excuse.
Kompany was the latest player to be bamboozled by Martial's pace as he unceremoniously brought the French forward down to earn a booking.
At half-time even though the scores were level United had to have been the happier of the two sides after one of their best displays in a first half this season. Despite not having a clear chance on goal they had started brightly and kept the visitors at bay. The only negative had to be the standard of delivery from free-kicks that let United down and without Memphis in the side, it was left to either Mata or Rooney to deliver or in most cases not.
Neither manager made any changes at the beginning of the second-half as United tried to build on their excellent amount of possession of the first half.
Sterling was taken off by City after only five minutes of the restart following an unconvincing display and at this point in the match United enjoyed 70% of the play but desperately needed to turn it to their advantage with a goal.
Mata was almost played through by Rojo, but Hart was quick to react and cleared before Mata could get to the ball. A lucky escape for the visitors as United continued to press for the opener and City had not offered anything in the way of an attack during the second period.
The change almost paid off immediately as Lingard bore down at pace towards the City area and played a nice ball wide to Rooney, whose attempted cross was easily blocked by the away defence.
Fellaini entered the match for the last fifteen minutes in place of Schweinsteiger and didn't seem to have a set position on the field which was obviously meant to confuse the blues, however, it also seemed to confuse the reds as at the same time it coincided with City's best spell of possession in the game.
Valencia was forced to leave the match with a knock to his leg and Darmian became the final substitution of the match for United in the 80th minute.
That chance was quickly followed by a close range effort from Smalling that was saved, it has to be said brilliantly, by Joe Hart way down at his near post.
The man of the match can only be between two players and they are Martial and Rojo. Martial once again displayed his value to the team whenever he had the ball at his feet and it was his close control at full pace that caused the City defence all sorts of problems. Rojo had De Bruyne completely in his pocket throughout the 90 minutes. The trio of Smalling, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger all played at the top of their games, but it has to be Martial who takes the plaudits again.
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