Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has surrendered on the Premier League title race after losing the 189th Manchester Derby.
The former Barcelona manager conceded Manchester City ‘cannot’ win the Premier League title albeit dissatisfaction with the officiating of the game, especially on Manchester United’s first goal.
Manchester City dominated proceedings in the first half, but it was another tactical masterclass by Erik Ten Hag.
The Dutch effectively curtailed the Manchester City threat, neutralizing their efforts on the edge of the box.
Tyrell Malacia proved too good at the left-back role, foiling in-form Ryad Mahrez’s attempt to break into the box.
Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane effectively muffled City’s deadly and prolific forward Erling Haaland.
Throughout the first half, Manchester City did not record a single shot on target, and United were more deadly when lashing forward with the ball. The first half ended goalless.
Nothing changed in the second half until Pep Guardiola subbed off Phil Foden for another England star Jack Grealish.
Jack Grealish’s free header in the 60th minute was the curtain-raiser. The former Aston Villa captain headed home the opening goal from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross to give City the lead.
City were set to temporarily close the gap on Arsenal after the goal, but the home side mounted a formidable response. Bruno Fernandes scored a controversial equaliser to bring the scores level.
Four minutes later, Manchester United swung into a shock lead, with Marcus Rashford scoring his 8th post-World Cup goal in seven consecutive matches for Manchester United.
The goal sealed a great comeback for the Red Devils and condemned Manchester City to their third Premier League defeat this season.
After the game, City were left five points away from Arsenal, with the Gunners having a game in hand against Tottenham.
Reacting to the defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola seemed to concede the title race to Arsenal.
Speaking on BT Sport, Pep Guardiola said he doesn’t care about the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, because City “cannot win.”
Recall Manchester City was bundled out of the Carabao Cup by Southampton after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat.
The loss to Manchester United is the second defeat for City within a week of action.
Pep said, he has won a lot with Manchester City hence not joining the two trophies to the club’s hall this year may not count.
‘We won a lot, so it’s not a problem’, the coach declared.
Pep Guardiola was also unhappy with Bruno Fernandes’ equaliser. Although Bruno was not offside, he argued Marcus Rashford distracted the goalkeeper and the referee should have maintained his previous stand to rule off the goal.
‘Well, Rashford is off-side, Bruno Fernandes is not,’ Guardiola said.
‘Whether Rashford intervened and distracted our keeper and our central defenders, I don’t know. The rule is the rule.’
‘Marcus Rashford is offside, Bruno Fernandes is not. Rashford distracted our keeper and center defenders,’ he said,
‘It is what it is. We know where we play. It is difficult for the referees in these stadiums.’
When he was grilled about Manchester City’s chances of beating Arsenal to the title, he said:
‘In general, I have no regrets. I don’t care if we don’t win the Carabao Cup or the Premier League, we’ll try.
‘I don’t care when a team performs how we play. It was quite similar to the many, many years we’ve been here.
‘There are plenty of points to play for and we have to play there. In every game, we have to perform. We always play in these sorts of games and in others we struggle a little bit.”
Arsenal takes on Tottenham in the London Derby. A win for Mikel Arteta’s boys will see them open an eight-point gap on the Premier League table.
Whatever the result of the Tottenham Vs Arsenal game, the Premier League title race is open to all contenders with not more than 19 league games played so far.