Final, 3-0 Manchester City: It’s all over at Old Trafford, as Manchester City claims three points and undisputed authority over its crosstown rival.
Manchester City scored early, scored late and scored in the middle in an impressive and comprehensive victory over Manchester United.
Pellegrini’s team exploited Manchester United’s well-known weaknesses — a slow and creaky defense and a midfield lacking leadership and bite — and finished with composure. Sergio Aguero’s absence could have been problematic, but Dzeko aptly filled the void.
The opposite was the case for Manchester United. Moyes got his tactics wrong at the start. His players’ confidence dropped after the goal and they wasted the few goal-scoring chances they created.
The result lifts Manchester City into second place, trailing Chelsea by three points with two games in hand. Manchester City’s title chase gathers steam with this result.
Manchester United remains stuck in seventh place, and its hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are officially dead. To make matters worse for the Red Devils, they now trail noisy neighbors Manchester City by 15 points after their second Manchester derby defeat of the season.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
90th minute, 3-0 Manchester City: Toure adds further punishment to Manchester United and Moyes.
The Ivorian collected pass that deflected off Phil Jones, took a touch and fired a low shot past de Gea inside the far post.
81st minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Rooney nearly curls a free kick into the top corner, but Hart bats it away.
The Manchester City goalkeeper is perfoming well. He’s controlling his area and making the big saves when necessary.
80th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Negredo replaces Dzeko, who exits to a thunderous applause from the visiting Manchester City fans.
77th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Moyes replaces Welbeck with Hernandez in Manchester United’s third, and final, substitution.
73rd minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Milner replaces Nasri, giving Manchester City a little more energy on the wing.
72nd minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Welbeck almost scores for Manchester United, but Hart denies him with a reflex save.
Rafael delivered a short cross from the byline, and Welbeck tried to beat Hart with a back-heel flick. It was bold and clever — similar to the one Welbeck scored against Sweden at Euro 2012.
68th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Garcia comes on for Navas in what looks like a tactical switch.
Garcia will shield the Manchester City defense from a holding midfield position. Toure will push further forward, while Nasri and Silva will play wide roles.
66th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Fellaini’s day is over, as Valencia replaces him.
It was a disappointing outing for Fellaini. His contributions were limited to the volley Hart saved and that nasty yellow card — both in the first half.
Also, Moyes and Ferdinand might have words with him about his defending on Dzeko’s second goal.
64th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: It’s hard to see how Manchester United will claw its way back into this game.
The Red Devils haven’t responded to Manchester City’s second goal with any conviction, and they more likely to concede a third before they score their first.
56th minute, 2-0 Manchester City: Dzeko scores again. It’s his 20th goal of the season (in all competitions).
The goal came by way of a Nasri corner kick, as the Bosnian striker volleyed it past de Gea.
Ferdinand was supposed to be marking Dzkeo but he was a step behind him — and that was before he appeared to bump into Fellaini. It was a state of all-around confusion in the United defense.
52nd minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Manchester City comes close to scoring its second.
Nasri took a corner, which Kompany met with a flashing header. It came to Fernandinho, but the Brazilian midfielder had no time to react and put his header over the Manchester United goal.
50th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Here’s a fun fact:
This is the 167th meeting between these two teams, and Dzeko’s goal was not the fastest-ever scored in a Manchester Derby.
.@EdDzeko's goal isn't the fastest in Manchester derby history. George Best holds that record scoring after 38 seconds in March 1968—
Manchester City FC (@MCFC) March 25, 2014
46th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Moyes made one halftime substitution, replacing Cleverley with Kagawa.
Halftime, 1-0 Manchester City: Manchester City takes its lead into the break, as the referee brings the first half to a close.
Manchester City was electric at the start of the game, overrunning Manchester United en route to the early goal. The visitors then created a number of chances to increase the lead, but de Gea stopped them from doing so. Manchester City was more focused, aggressive and ultimately more clinical in front of goal in the first half.
Instead of capitulating, Manchester United withstood the early onslaught and eventually grew into the contest —
largely thanks to Welbeck and Rooney. Manchester United also slowed down the Manchester City attack by taking a physical approach as the half wore on.
Pellegrini initially exploited Manchester United’s shape, which clogged players in the middle but left its fullbacks exposed. Navas and Nasri pinned Evra and Rafael back. When Manchester United midfielders left their area to cover, it created space for Silva to operate with great effect. Moyes must correct this unbalance at halftime.
45th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Fernandinho takes down Rooney, and earns himself a place in the referee’s book.
Two players from both teams are now on yellow cards.
40th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Mata squanders Manchester United’s best scoring chance of the first half by firing his shot high from 12 yards out.
Rafael passed into the area to Rooney, but the Manchester United star whiffed when he tried to shoot.
The ball continued onto Mata, but he failed to put his shot on goal.
38th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: The game’s tempo has finally dropped to a manageable level, as both teams have found their passing rhythm in the midfield.
Defensively, Manchester United is doing better at closing down spaces in the midfield and eliminating the danger before it’s too late.
30th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Fellaini gave Zabaleta a forearm shiver to the neck, for no apparent reason. The referee books the Belgian midfielder.
24th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Fellaini’s volley forces Hart into making his first save of the game.
Manchester United’s defense has been pourous, but its attack is showing signs of menace and life.
Welbeck’s speed is creating danger on the counter-attack, and Mata and Rooney have done well in support. If the visitors push too many players forward into the attack, Manchester United will probably punish them for it.
18th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Dzeko tried to double Manchester City’s lead with a powerfully struck shot from inside the area, but de Gea did well to save it.
De Gea’s poor clearance went straight to Toure, who played it quickly into the area for Silva. Silva then slid a pass across the face of the goal to Dzeko, but de Gea made up for his previous error with a top-notch save.
16th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Welbeck and Zabaleta collide, leaving both players writhing in pain.
Welbeck was surging toward the Manchester City goal, but his last touch played the ball too far forward. As Zabaleta attempted to clear it, Welbeck lost his footing and barreled into the Manchester City fullback.
The referee showed Welbeck a yellow card for his dangerous challenge, if you can call it that.
15th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Manchester got a fair bit of rain Tuesday, and field at Old Trafford is fast and slippery.
A few players on both sides have slipped, leading to moments of danger.
13th minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Kompany is the first player to go into the referee’s book after his foul on Welbeck.
Ninth minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Manchester City is all over Manchester United, as almost every moment of the game has taken place in the Red Devils’ half.
Manchester United must assert itself, gain possession and put Manchester City under some pressure … or else.
Sixth minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Manchester City’s lightning-quick start was rewarded with an early goal. The home fans at Old Trafford are deflated.
Manchester United has famously struggled at home this season, and Dzeko’s goal is an omen which suggest their Old Trafford woes will continue.
First minute, 1-0 Manchester City: Dzeko scores before many fans had a chance to settle into their seats — just 42 seconds into the game.
Manchester City FC (@MCFC) March 25, 2014
Silva created the initial danger with a surging dribble into the right side of the area, but his shot was blocked. An ensuing pass came left to Nasri, who dribbled around Rafael and shot against the post.
Dzeko then collected the rebound and smashed it past de Gea from a few yards out.
Pregame: While there are no major surprises in either team’s starting 11, both managers have made slight changes from what we’ve seen in their last few games.
Moyes fields Carrick, Fellaini and Cleverly in the midfield, while pushing Mata and Welbeck out wide. That could mean Fellaini will push forward into an attacking midfielder position — similar to how Moyes used him at Everton.
Manchester City is going with Dzeko as a lone striker, instead of pairing him with Negredo. That puts the onus on Navas and Nasri to provide service from the wide areas, while Silva tucks inside.
3 p.m.: Here are the starting lineups:
David de Gea (1), goalkeeper
Patrice Evra (3), left back
Rio Ferdinand (5), defender
Phil Jones (4), center back
Rafael (2), right back
Michael Carrick (16), midfielder
Tom Cleverley (23), midfielder
Marouane Fellaini (31), midfielder
Juan Mata (8), forward
Danny Welbeck (19), forward
Wayne Rooney (10), striker
Anders Lindegaard (13), goalkeeper
Alexander Buttner (28), defender
Darren Fletcher (24), midfielder
Ashley Young (18), midfielder
Antonio Valencia (25), midfielder
Shinji Kagawa (26), midfielder
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (14), striker
Joe Hart (1), goalkeeper
Gael Clichy (22), left back
Vincent Kompany (4), center back
Martin Demichelis (26), center back
Pablo Zabaleta (5), right back
Fernandinho (25), midfielder
Yaya Toure (42), midfielder
Samir Nasri (8), midfielder
David Silva (21), midfielder
Jesus Navas (15), midfielder
Edin Dzeko (10), striker
Costel Pantilimon (30), goalkeeper
Joleon Lescott (6), defender
Aleksandar Kolarov (13), defender
Javi Garcia (14), midfielder
James Milner (7), midfielder
Stevan Jovetic (35), forward
Alvaro Negredo (9), striker
1 p.m. ET: Recent games between Manchester United and Manchester have been high-stakes affairs.
The two clubs face off in the Premier League on Tuesday. The stakes remain sky-high but for different reasons than what the soccer world is used to. The game won’t necessarily decide who wins the Premier League title or who can call themselves the “Kings of Manchester,” but both teams have a lot to gain from beating their crosstown rival.
Host Manchester United is fighting for lost respect and a place in one of next season’s European competitions, while its manager, David Moyes, is under pressure following a series of setbacks in 2014.
Manchester United comes into Tuesday’s game on the back of consecutive victories — against Olympiakos last Wednesday and West Ham United on Saturday — but Manchester City will present a far more difficult test than the others. Tuesday’s result will tell the world whether Manchester United has turned a corner or if last week’s wins were another false dawn.
Meanwhile, third-place Manchester City is locked in a race for the Premier League title. A win at Old Trafford would help Manuel Pellegrini’s team gain ground on league leader Chelsea and provide a confidence boost, as the season approaches its climax.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany returns to the starting lineup after serving a one-game suspension, but star striker Sergio Aguero will miss the big game due to injury. Meanwhile, Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is suspended for Tuesday’s game, and striker Robin van Persie is also injured.
Tuesday’s game kicks off at 3:45 p.m. ET. Watch this space, as we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.