Otamendi 5/10 as Man City suffer derby defeat vs. Man United
When David Silva hooked a wild ball over his head and into the opposition's possession after four minutes of Saturday's frenetic derby, it could and perhaps should have been taken as a bad omen. Silva doesn't make passes like that. In Manchester City's rich history of gaffes and disasters, this reverse will feature somewhere along the line but by the end of the season, it will engender perhaps more a feeling of embarrassment than cataclysm.
City might on another day have been four or five goals clear by half-time but were not and as a result, they gave United a chance to make their comeback. Pride and character carried United back. It is to be seen whether City have the same qualities for the challenge against Liverpool this coming week.
A wonderful first half could have brought several more goals than the two that were scored. All of the facets of the bright new dawn that we have watched rise over the Premier League this season were on view -- then the sun went behind a cloud and stayed there.
Serious questions are bound to be asked of City's character after this. They have shown us how beautiful football can be successful, but they have also revealed a critical weakness in the last two matches, just when the going got tough.
Manager Rating out of 10
5 -- For stubbornness alone, the manager earned full marks at half-time. With the entire stadium expecting and almost demanding a full strength side to put any doubts to bed, Pep Guardiola chose to make four changes and in the process, leave City without a recognised striker. It all appeared to be working so well but football is a fickle companion and within 15 minutes of the second half, the decision suddenly looked foolhardy in the extreme. From genius to told-you-so in the blink of an eye.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 7 -- Scariest moment of a sedentary first half was watching his captain attempt a pass across the box that was intercepted. Nothing could have prepared him for the sudden collapse as his central defence allowed three quick goals, none of which he could get near.
DF Danilo, 6 -- Made a solid enough star despite banging an early cross high into the United fans. Solid in the tackle until cautioned as the game was running away from City, for smothering a Marcus Rashford break-away.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- Risky ball across his area early on was intercepted by Ander Herrera but he got away with it. His joyous connection for the first goal was a replica of the goal scored against the same opponents on the way to the 2012 title. Found out in the second half, though, as United got between him and Nicolas Otamendi.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 5 -- Quiet first half but made to wake up soon after. Lost Paul Pogba's run for the equaliser and likewise Smalling for the winner.
DF Fabian Delph, 7 -- Tidy and forceful before the break. Maintained shape afterwards.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- Showed a suspect temperament after the tide turned. Had been dictating pace from deep but got embroiled with opposition when the temperatures rose. Still managed to float a couple of beautiful passes into the danger area.
MF David Silva, 8 -- Running the show with deftness and class, including two wonderful balls for Sterling to put the whole game to bed. Replaced by Kevin de Bruyne after 71 minutes.
MF Bernardo Silva, 6 -- Dainty, delightful first half, prodding and probing led to anonymous second half. Replaced by Gabriel Jesus on 71 minutes.
MF Leroy Sane, 7 -- Busy first half featuring some wonderful link-ups with David Silva but lost his way after the break.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 8 -- Shuttling from deep to swap with Bernardo Silva early on. Wonderful skill for the second goal and another majestic piece of skill brought a side footed shot onto the outside of the post in the second half. Replaced by Sergio Aguero after 75 minutes.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Could have been the hero of the day but ended it as a strange kind of villain. He missed three clear chances to augment the score before a more difficult last-minute opportunity to equalise was also squandered. Linked play remarkably well from deep in the first half, however.
FW Gabriel Jesus, NR -- Came on for Bernardo Silva (71) with the obvious instructions to get stuck in. Booked after a succession of petulant fouls.
MF Kevin de Bruyne, NR -- Came on for David Silva on 71 minutes and livened things up with his clever movement. Should have been on from the start.
FW Sergio Aguero, NR -- At last a proper striker! Taken out by Ashley Young, but incredibly, no penalty was given. Also had a good header miraculously saved by David de Gea.
Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.