Manchester City won its derby but could have decimated United’s goal difference

Manchester City’s 1-0 derby win was a bit of a strange one – a derby that will probably be remembered for cards and fouls more than anything else. It was the sort of game where much of the conversation is about substitutions and tactical switches, which is what we do when the action offers nothing else.

MORE: The five best moments of delightfully unnecessary violence in Manchester derbies past

A total of 24 fouls were called and six yellow cards were issued, including two to United’s Chris Smalling, which left United with 10 men in the 39th minute. Still, a fair argument could be made that the ref should have had an even bigger impact on the game; or, at least, a more consistent one. It was a rough day overall for Michael Oliver.

MORE: Waning Yaya deprives the Premier League of one of its biggest stars

Considering United’s back line consisted of a right winger, a center mid, a rookie and a 12-year-old, maybe the red side of Manchester shouldn’t lament a loss and instead rejoice that Sergio Agüero didn’t single-handedly decimate its goal difference, even if the Argentine did make his presence known with a 63rd minute winner.

MORE: No long enough hate in the Manchester Derby

It was the first time in over a year United stayed within three goals of its rival, but for the fourth time in a row, City walked away from the Manchester Derby three points. Still, it’s hard to overlook today’s obvious Man of the Match: