Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho each earn 9/10 as Man City hold nerve in win vs. United
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a deserved 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday, but more important for the fans will be the win over their rivals. David Silva fired them into a 12th-minute lead, which was doubled by Sergio Aguero in the second half. United threatened a comeback from Anthony Martial's penalty, but Ilkay Gundogan finished it with a coolly taken third in the final five minutes.
A first home Manchester derby victory at the Etihad Stadium in four years and one that moves them 12 points clear of their bitter rivals -- potentially killing off any hopes United had of winning the title, just four months into the season. And they showed their fighting qualities to do it. City's nerve was severely tested against a side that has been building a reputation for unlikely comebacks -- starting with that shock reversal at City's stadium six months ago that could have left Pep Guardiola's players scarred.
The threat of a comeback should never been on, with City comfortably the better side for the first 58 minutes. United never really threatened to score and the penalty was a gift when Ederson upended Romelu Lukaku. Guardiola will want him to continue coming for balls, but his goalkeeper has to be more careful after giving away spot kicks in successive Premier League games.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Guardiola's big call was to pick Riyad Mahrez ahead of Leroy Sane and, while it wasn't obviously a wrong decision, the Germany winger looked more of a threat when he came on. He made his biggest change with 15 minutes remaining when he replaced the shattered Aguero with Gundogan and it worked out to be a brilliantly shrewd decision.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- It could have been a nervy rematch for the Brazilian after he made a couple of errors in last season's derby turnaround. He remained cool with his feet but rushed out to give away a penalty for a second successive week, offering United a lifeline.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- Up against United's in-form danger man in Martial, but the winger had little joy and the England international had more of the ball at his feet -- mostly keeping it simple.
DF John Stones, 8 -- He has always been technically good but has become more defensively solid this season. Another 90 minutes that will help build up his reputation that he is up for the fight in demanding games.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 8 -- Another strong display at the heart of the defence, where he shut down Marcus Rashford's threat on the counter-attack. Always looked comfortable with the ball, although a 30-yard strike seemed over-ambitious.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 -- For such an ebullient character, he has lost a bit of confidence in recent weeks after a couple of sticky matches. But he grew into the game and got forward well.
MF Fernandinho, 9 -- Had to get down and dirty with the robust Marouane Fellaini and never shirked a challenge. And when he was given time on the ball, he cut open the United defence with his clever passing.
MF Bernardo Silva, 8 -- Demanded the ball constantly and terrified the United defenders with his ability to beat a man or play a killer pass. A couple of slack moments had Guadiola slapping his thigh in frustration.
MF David Silva, 8 -- Three goals in three successive home games underlines that the Spaniard is playing some of the best football of his career. His movement and quickness of thought were too much for the visitors.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 7 -- His first Manchester derby and showed his quality in flashes. A great nutmeg bamboozled Luke Shaw and he should have looked to beat the full-back more often.
FW Sergio Aguero, 9 -- Newly blond, his work rate was even more impressive than his goal. The striker worked tirelessly chasing across the front line and smashed in a goal to became the joint fifth-highest goal scorer in Manchester derbies.
FW Raheem Sterling, 6 -- City looked a big threat down the left-hand side, but Sterling wasn't able to take advantage as he has done in recent weeks. Still needs to shed some of his nerves on the really big occasions.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 -- Offered a big threat when he came on and made Ashley Young even more uncomfortable.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, N/R -- Came on to help City see out the final 15 minutes and was clinical in the decisive moment.
MF Phil Foden, N/R -- An injury-time introduction for the Stockport-born youngster.