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Monday, December 11, 2017

Man United 1-2 Man City: Title leaders go 11 points clear at top of Premier League

Manchester City claimed a record 14th successive Premier League victory with a 2-1 win over big rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The win tightens Pep Guardiola’s side’s vice-like grip on the title race as they eased 11 points clear at the summit of the table and Sky Bet now make them prohibitively priced as 1/25 market leaders to emerge on top.

All four of City’s nearest pursuers dropped points this weekend, with Liverpool (80/1) and Arsenal (150/1) both held to 1-1 draws against Everton and Southampton respectively earlier on Sunday afternoon. That on the back of a Saturday defeat for Chelsea (50/1) against West Ham.

United stay in second and are 16/1 to lift the title but they were unable to close the gap as they suffered their first home defeat in the league since September 2016, when City were again the team to inflict the damage.

Nicolas Otamendi was the unlikely match winner this time around, slotting home from close range after Romelu Lukaku failed to clear his lines.

The goal bore a close resemblance to David Silva’s 43rd-minute opener for the visitors, the midfielder converting from inside the box after a mix-up in Jose Mourinho’s back line.

Marcus Rashford had levelled matters with a cool finish just before the break, but United couldn’t find another equaliser, goalkeeper Ederson maintaining City's narrow advantage with a fantastic double save late in the second half.

Pick of the quotes

Jose Mourinho: "Clear penalty. I am sorry for us and sorry for Michael (referee, Oliver), I think he had a good performance but it was a clear penalty.

"The referee made a mistake, which can happen. Last season we had a similar situation here against Man City. We were winning 2-1 and Mr Clattenburg didn't see the penalty - (Claudio) Bravo on (Wayne) Rooney - and this one also.

"I am sorry for Michael Oliver because he had a good performance. The referee had a good match but he made one mistake and his mistake was crucial to the outcome of the match.

"They (City) are a very good team. I think they are lucky, they had all the decisions in their favour but Tuesday is another day in the Premier League and I am pretty sure all of us, us in second, Chelsea in third, and fourth and fifth and sixth, everyone is going to try to fight for points and try and reduce the distance. Of course, their advantage is a very good one."

Pep Guardiola: "Last season it was the same, we won here and the comments were the referee. And today we have won and the comments are the same as well. We are an honest team. We want to play and we did it. We came here to play.

"Wow, we played outstanding. To play here at Old Trafford and play the way we played with the ball and trying to be patient, it was so, so clever.

"We are so happy because it was an important game for us and at our rivals, so big credit to the players.

"I am happy and this style of play we can do it in England. People have said the way we tried to play at Barcelona is not possible in England, but it is always possible to play football, keep the ball and we did it.

"I always believed that we can do that, anybody can play the way they want and that is why football is beautiful. I am happy to go to places like Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford and against contenders, we have beaten them.

"Eleven points plus goal difference - it is 12 points - and we have more points than Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal this week.

"In December it is impossible to be champions but that gap is very good for us."