Manchester City won their fourth successive Manchester derby but were given a nervous ride in the final 20 minutes despite playing more than one half with an extra man.
Chris Smalling was sent off for two yellow cards in the first half before Sergio Agüero scored the games only goal just after the hour mark.
Nerves were evident around the stadium and on the pitch in the closing stages as Manchester United pushed for a late equaliser despite inferior numbers and a makeshift defence. However, the defending champions held on.
Here are SoccerLen’s player ratings for Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United:
Joe Hart 7 – One of only five Englishmen in the starting lineup for the Manchester derby, Joe Hart had next-to-nothing to do in 90 minutes with Robin van Persie forcing him into his first and only troublesome save with 20 minutes to go and a strong one-arm save to deny Ángel Di María late which was Manchester United’s only other shot on target.
Pablo Zabaleta 7 – Fortunate to escape a yellow card for a rash challenge in the first half before picking up one in the second half. Wasn’t an attacking threat until they had the numerical advantage at which point he got down the right flank well. Didn’t have too much to do defensively.
Martín Demichelis 7 – Wasn’t the busiest of games for the experienced Argentine although didn’t deal with Marouane Fellaini in the air very well at all.
Vincent Kompany 8 – Didn’t have much to do in the centre of defence but what Vincent Kompany did have to do was done to aplomb. Manchester United rarely looked like scoring today.
Gaël Clichy 8 – Manchester City were much more productive down their left than the opposite flank, with Gaël Clichy and James Milner productive down that side. The French full-back started the game after Aleksandar Kolarov was injured in the pre-game warmup. Set up the opening goal.
Jesús Navas 6 – A quiet game down the right wing although did hit the post in the second half. Poor deliveries into the box.
Yaya Touré 8 – Controlled the second half from the centre of the pitch against ten men. Played in Clichy which set up Agüero’s winner. Was involved in other chances and narrowly curled a 20-yard effort wide in the final moments.
Fernando 7 – A quiet game and picked up a yellow card. Did just enough to help his teammates hold onto the win.
James Milner 7 – A solid, hardworking display down the left wing. Put several crosses into the box that led to a couple of chances. Surprised to see him substituted when defending a 1-0 lead.
Sergio Agüero 8 – Always looked like Manchester City’s biggest goalscoring threat. Had two good shouts for a penalty before he found himself unmarked inside the penalty area to finish Gaël Clichy’s cutback with his left-foot and his tenth goal of the season.
Stevan Jovetić 5 – Wasteful with a few efforts and did not offer too much in his return to the starting lineup in place of the injured David Silva. Was replaced midway through the second half by Edin Džeko when the score was 0-0.
Samir Nasri n/a – Played little more than 20 minutes and was involved in very little.
Edin Džeko n/a – A 20-minute appearance but did not get a shot on goal. Was denied by Antonio Valencia on the edge of the penalty area when City had a break on.
Fernandinho n/a Was brought on late for Sergio Agüero to see the game out.
David de Gea 7 – Made a couple of key saves in the first half to keep the score stalemate.
Antonio Valencia 5 – Was nowhere to be seen when Sergio Agüero was played in early on. Struggled as a makeshift right-back but did deny Džeko a one-on-one in the final minute.
Chris Smalling 2 – Michael Oliver was being lenient in the first half and the Manchester United centre-back still managed to collect two yellow cards. Both were from stupidity by the England defender. Firstly, he prevented Joe Hart from kicking the ball away from his hands and the second for wiping out James Milner on the edge of the penalty area.
Marcos Rojo 7 – The Argentine defender had been solid before being stretchered off in the opening ten minutes of the second half with an apparent shoulder injury at 0-0. Marcos Rojo had made his fair share of tackles and interceptions, holding up Sergio Agüero.
Luke Shaw 7 – Jesús Navas generally had a quiet game down the right wing but for one effort from the Spaniard that hit the post when Shaw was caught ball-watching. Manchester United’s left-back had very, very few opportunities to get forward though.
Daley Blind 5 – Was fine in the first half when United had more central midfielders but couldn’t break up Manchester City’s possession in the middle of the park in the second half.
Marouane Fellaini 6 – Missed a great opportunity in the final 15 minutes as Manchester United had a good spell when the home side stepped their foot off the gas. Defensively though did win back possession a fair few times.
Adnan Januzaj 3 – Barely touched the ball before being replaced just before half-time as Louis van Gaal had to tighten up the defence following Chris Smalling’s red card.
Ángel Di María 5 – Didn’t create any chances for his team and defensively was poor. Did force a save from Joe Hart in the final quart of an hour. Failed to cut out Yaya Touré’s pass for the winning goal as he let Gaël Clichy go. Also conceded possession at his own corner flag to cause problems for his team in the second half. Drew two yellow cards out of the opposition but wasn’t the player we’re used to seeing.
Wayne Rooney 7 – Worked his socks off, made a great run in the second half which led to a good chance for Ángel Di María. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing side although did not force a single save out of Joe Hart.
Robin van Persie 5 – Barely had a touch of the ball but did create something out of nothing in the final 20 minutes, forcing a save out of Joe Hart and winning a corner with a nice turn and shot from an acute angle.
Michael Carrick 6 – Wasn’t near Sergio Agüero when he scored the winning goal as Michael Carrick was brought on to play centre-back following Smalling’s sending off. Somewhat fortunate not to concede a penalty shortly beforehand but otherwise played a steady role.
Paddy McNair n/a – Came on for the injured Marcos Rojo in the second half. Lost Sergio Agüero for the game’s only goal.
James Wilson n/a – A late substitute for Robin van Persie but did not get involved in any attacks.