Manchester City will seemingly run out of games in their quest to catch Manchester United this season, but they scored a huge win over them on Monday night at Old Trafford—running out 2-1 winners to keep the pressure on their cross-town rivals.
Granted, the title race is all but won for the Red Devils, but City's win here showed that they will be a more-than-strong opposition in the years to come for United.
What's more, they showed that with the right lineup and attacking styles, they are more than capable of beating their rivals—regardless of where they might play.
Read on to see the biggest takeaways for United from their 2-1 defeat.
Danny Welbeck Needs to be Utilized More
The moment that Robin van Persie arrived at United, it was clear that the likes of Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck weren't going to get mountains of playing time.
Sir Alex Ferguson has looked to use the England international whenever he can this season and try to exploit his pace, but the reality is that he hasn't received the game time that he probably should have this year, and it may well stunt his development somewhat as a result.
Welbeck has phenomenal pace (his greatest attacking weapon) and has the potential to become a very strong striker for United when they need him.
However, he just doesn't have that extra level that the likes of RVP and Rooney have, and it showed here. Welbeck's finishing was poor and he couldn't quite find the pass to truly break open City's defense when the opportunity arose. And whilst that isn't necessarily a big deal, it was a key reason why the Red Devils didn't score as many goals.
Welbeck is a real talent, but he has to be played more by Ferguson if the Red Devils want him to take the step across to that elite level.
Tom Cleverley Was Dearly Missed
Tom Cleverley isn't the strongest central midfielder in the world, but he has been immense for United throughout this year—coming a long way in his development as a footballer as a result. It was clear that the Red Devils missed his presence throughout this contest.
Yaya Toure was able to drop back and play on Rooney more and clog up the space that the midfielder normally thrives in between the defense and midfield.
What's more, James Milner, David Silva and Samir Nasri all found time and space going forward and were able to make United pay as a result. Think—where would Cleverley have been for either goal, and how would have his physical presence affected both goals in this one?
The England international was dearly missed.
United Were Beaten by Good Goals
In the end, you'd have to say that this rivalry game had somewhat of a different atmosphere to it than usual—at least compared to the first derby this year, anyway.
United had the title all wrapped up and City have one eye on the FA Cup semifinal, meaning that this game took on a different feel. And whilst United were certainly up for the fixture itself, they were simply beaten on the night by two good goals that deserved to go in.
A mistake from Ryan Giggs saw City break down the left, and Milner on hand to strike from outside the box. David De Gea was unsighted, and with a slight deflection from Phil Jones, the ball found its way into the bottom corner of the net—brushing De Gea's helpless fingers on the way.
The second goal was an absolute stunner from Sergio Aguero, whose mazy run through United's defense was as brilliant as the finish itself.
The substitute striker beat four United defenders, who eventually did well to pressure Aguero and affect his balance—as much as they could without giving away a penalty. However, the Argentinian still kept his feet and blasted the ball into the top corner of the net.
De Gea was again helpless, City had the lead and there was little United could do about it. The defending wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't soporific either.
There was good pressure on both shots, but they both went in nonetheless.
Sometimes, that's just football.
Hit me up on Twitter for more sports goodness: Follow @dantalintyre