All eyes were on Romelu Lukaku as the teams for the Manchester derby were announced, with the Belgian striker’s “big-game mentality” repeatedly questioned during his time in the Premier League.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was back in contention and fans wondered whether Jose Mourinho would opt to start the big Swede, but after getting the nod Lukaku failed to impress.
The 24-year-old had a hand in both of Manchester City’s goals, leaving an easy opportunity for anyone who wanted to make a joke at the striker’s expense.
Lukaku failed to defend the corner from which City’s first goal came while his role in their winner was even bigger – hitting his clearance against a City player and watching Nicolas Otamendi convert from the deflection.
While there were variations on the comments people were making…
There weren’t many.
Lukaku has got eight Premier League goals so far this season but only one of those has come since September. Some fans are now losing patience.
The former Everton man’s big chance came late in the game but from a few yards out he could only hit the ball at Ederson.
It meant the game finished 2-1 to City and they stretched their winning streak to 14 games – the joint-longest such streak in English top division history along with Arsenal’s between February and August 2002.
They do get a record all of their own, though.
As if the loss wasn’t already bad enough for Jose Mourinho, it marked his ninth defeat against Pep Guardiola. More than against anyone else.
He’ll be hoping he won’t be watching Guardiola lift the trophy at the end of the season, but with City 11 points ahead of United now it’s looking increasingly likely.