Once again Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the better of Pep Guardiola as Manchester United won 2-0 at the Ethiad on Sunday.
With the win Solskjaer He is the only manager to have won more matches against Guardiola (four) than he has lost (three), and the first United coach to win their first three away games against their city rivals.
The latest, on Sunday, was perhaps the best of the lot, as the Red Devils lifted themselves from their recent lethargic displays to end City’s 21-match winning run in style, winning 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in a result that though unlikely to reignite their own title bid, again proves that when Solskjaer gets it right, they can beat any opposition.
Pep Guardiola’s side still have what looks to be an unassailable 11-point lead at the top of the table, but the manner in which United subdued a previously unstoppable City and enhanced their own top-four chances will be a huge confidence boost to Solskjaer and his players.
United, who have now gone 22 league away games unbeaten, including 14 wins, stunned City with a fast start and were ahead after a penalty was awarded inside the first 30 seconds when Gabriel Jesus fouled the impressive Antony Martial.
Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot despite City keeper Ederson getting a strong hand on the ball, then United fashioned the win with a mixture of solid defense and constant menace on the break.
Rodri almost equalized just after the break when his shot glanced off the angle of post and bar, but United effectively sealed the win – condemning City to their first loss since a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on 21 November – when the outstanding Shaw, who had earlier missed a chance to double United’s lead, led a counter-attack, exchanging passes with Marcus Rashford before beating Ederson with a low shot.
Solskjaer’s team, who had not scored in their previous three games, moved back into second place, a point ahead of Leicester City in the increasingly tight fight for a place in the top four.
“They [Manchester City] are so far ahead you can’t really think about anything but making sure we win our games and be better than last year,” Solskjaer told BBC Sport.
“We were third so we want to move up the table of course.”