Fellaini provides the Premier League with more Soap worthy material, but the derby match was a far cry from entertaining.
Just twenty seconds had passed between Marouane Fellaini’s first and second foul on Sergio Aguero – a second yellow was almost certainly beckoning – before a moment of madness from the Belgian, turned it into a red for pushing his head into Aguero’s face.
The Argentine, of course, made the most of it – rolling around holding his face, much like Alexis Sanchez did when struck with the ball on the shoulder against Leicester City.
After the game, Jose Mourinho questioned Aguero’s antics, claiming that he had simulated the whole thing.
“I saw Aguero in the tunnel, after the game and no broken nose, no broken head, his face is nice as always.
“I think if Sergio doesn’t go to the floor, for sure, it is not a red card,” The Portuguese said in the post-match press conference.
His counterpart remained neutral – claiming not to see the incident, so it would be unfair for him to say it was a red card.
Mourinho may be right, if Aguero does not go down, maybe Martin Atkinson does not produce the straight red – but, in a game with so much at stake, any player would have made the most of Fellaini’s stupidity.
But what the incident does for those involved in the league is; it overshadows a boring, dull encounter, between two of England’s biggest clubs.
On the night, City controlled possession throughout both halves and looked the more dangerous going forward.
In the opening 45-minutes, City had ten attempts on goal compared to United’s two – but the closest they came was an Aguero shot that came off the post.
Jose Mourinho will be happy with his side’s defensive performance, with Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia once again, the standouts.
City finished the game with nineteen attempts on goal and 69% possession, but in truth, they never looked like scoring until Gabriel Jesus exploited a hole in the United backline – but the Brazilian was flagged for offside.
Once again, Guardiola’s side looked one dimensional and could not muster up anything outside of their game plan to penetrate the blanket defense put up by United.
Despite their strengths in defense, United struggled to string passes together which could finally shed some light on what Paul Pogba has been doing all season.
The Frenchman has had more passes than any other midfielder this year (1726), with an 85% accuracy – while in some aspects of his game he has disappointed, this was something Mourinho’s men could have done with last night.
But in the end, all the attention will turn to his replacement in midfield, and his moment of madness in the 84th minute.
It will be built up as something major – the bitterness of the Manchester derby if you like – but, in reality, it’s just a splash in the pond of the Premier League facade.
What viewers saw last night was a poor display from both sides and a far cry from the entertainment factor they were provided with in El Clasico on Sunday night or the Der Klassiker on Wednesday.
Those games provided real entertainment and not the farcical type which this one did.
While the Premier League continues to be the soap opera of modern football – La Liga and the Bundesliga will be Breaking Bad and the Soprano’s – and will continue to outplay them on the European front.