The phrase “death by a thousand passes” was used in the aftermath of Saturday’s Manchester derby to describe City’s utter domination of United at Old Trafford. That, of course, was an exaggeration, but only a slight one.
The 2-0 scoreline undersold just how superior Pep Guardiola‘s side were as they out-passed their hosts by 832 to 400.
Were it not for a string of impressive David de Gea saves, the game could quite feasibly have mirrored the 5-0 drubbing Liverpool dealt United two weeks ago.
In an effort to repeat the tactical trick Ole Gunnar Solskjaer employed the Red Devils’ previous outing - a 3-0 win over Tottenham that resulted in Nuno Espirito Santo’s dismissal – United lined up with a back five.
But it is an indictment of their attacking ambition that United players were responsible for landing more efforts on their own goal – with Eric Bailly turning the ball into his own net in the seventh minute and only De Gea’s quick reactions later preventing Lindelof from suffering the same fate - than on City’s.
Bernardo Silva added a second goal before half-time, profiting from some calamitous defending to convert Joao Cancelo’s in-swinging cross, and City cruised to a routine three points.
The result sees United slip to sixth in the table, with just four points collected from the last 18 available, and Solsjkaer’s future again comes under scrutiny. The 20-time champions’ title hopes are fast evaporating – they are available to back on the Betfair Exchange at 130.0129/1 in the Premier League Winner market, no longer among the four favourites.
And Solskjaer, available to back at 1.674/6 on the Exchange, is the top choice to be the next Premier League manager sacked.
It wasn’t just at Old Trafford that things went perfectly in from a City point of view. The reigning champions’ title ambitions were further boosted by Chelsea drawing 1-1 with Burnley and Liverpool’s defeat at West Ham.
City are available to back 1.824/5 in the Betfair Exchange Premier League Winner market.
Moyes’ men march on
The Premier League’s last remaining unbeaten record of the 2021-22 season was wiped out at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon as David Moyes‘ high-flying Hammers recorded the upset of the weekend, beating Liverpool 3-2.
An 83rd-minute Divock Origi strike ensured a nervy crescendo, but West Ham were deserving of topping this classic encounter, having taken the lead early through an Alisson Becker own goal and responding well when pegged back by a stunning Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick, with Pablo Fornals and Kurt Zouma scoring second-half goals.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men remain in touch of the title race, just four points behind league leaders Chelsea and still the division’s highest scorers. The Reds are available to back at 6.411/2 on the Exchange to claim a 20th top-flight crown this season.
But West Ham’s win has seen them leapfrog Liverpool, rising to the heady heights of third place, level on points with Manchester City and only three points off top.
It’s been an incredible campaign so far for the Hammers, a continuation of the fine work Moyes has done since returning for his second spell in charge in east London in December 2019.
West Ham are available to back at 4.67/2 on the Exchange to secure a top-four finish this term.
With two more sackings confirmed this weekend, the 2021-22 Premier League season has already seen a quarter of the managers who began the campaign lose their job.
Bottom-placed Norwich City chose to part ways with Daniel Farke on a high, having recorded their first league win of the season, a 2-1 away win over Brentford.
And Aston Villa‘s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton on Friday night put paid to Dean Smith’s three-year reign at the club he has supported all his life.
The Premier League’s newest boss, Antonio Conte, oversaw his Spurs side as they held Everton to a goalless draw at Goodison Park, while Eddie Howe was in the stands for Newcastle’s 1-1 with Brighton, with the former Bournemouth manager expected to assume the St. James’ Park dugout imminently.
For all the managerial comings and goings, the most high-profile man on the brink, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is still clinging to his job at Manchester United.
With Everton winless in their last five games, Rafa Benitez is available to back at 2.0421/20 in the Exchange’s Next Manager to Leave Position market, while you can back the season concluding with no further dismissals at 3.052/1.