In Review

Etihad stalemate adds to top four tension for Man City and United

A point apiece leaves the two Manchester clubs within touching distance of Liverpool in third but Jose Mourinho's side face a tougher run-in

Manchester City 0 Manchester United 0

Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United side left the Etihad with a valuable point on Thursday evening but it may not prove enough in their quest for a top four finish.

The result means United remain in fifth place one point behind Manchester City in fourth, and both teams have five games remaining this season. 

Ahead of them in third place are Liverpool, who have 66 points compared to City's 65 and United's 64. Crucially, Jurgen Klopp's team have also played one extra game and appear catchable. But United face a tough run-in and the draw specialists will need to start winning to catch the Reds.

United are four points clear of Arsenal in sixth place, but the Gunners have a game in hand and host the Red Devils on 7 May. 

Jose Mourinho's side end their league campaign a week later at Tottenham and it may be that their best hope of a place in next season's Champions League lies with the Europa League, a competition they must win if they're to return to Europe's showpiece competition.

As for City, who have a much easier run-in, the draw leaves them well-placed a point behind Liverpool, but it is very tight and City really could have done with maximum points against a desperately limited United.

The visitors enjoyed 30.8 per cent of the possession, their lowest figure in a Premier League game since statistics were introduced in the 2003-04 season, and they managed just one shot on target the whole night.

City, for all their possession, had six shots on the United goal but none found their way past David de Gea as United stretched their unbeaten league run to 24 games. That is the same number of goals they've conceded all season (only Tottenham have a better defence) but United's problem is in finding the net. They've scored just 50 league goals in 2016-17, 19 fewer than Chelsea and Tottenham.

Just about the only player on target for United was Marouane Fellaini, although unfortunately for United it was with a headbutt on 84 minutes that connected with Sergio Aguero and resulted in a red card for the United midfielder. It provided the crowd with a rare moment of drama in a derby that won't linger in the fans' consciousness.

"We played to win the game but we were not able to," said Pep Guardiola. "It was much harder against a team who haven't lost in 23. It was not easy but we tried. It's one point and the fight keeps going... we have five games left, three at home and two away and we have to keep fighting."

Mourinho, who disputed the validity of Fellaini's red card, said he was "happy" with his team's performance. "The team has a lot of [injury] problems and to play a big derby like this one in the way we did shows resilience and big character from the players," he said.

Asked if he believed a top four finish was still possible, Mourinho said: "I think Man City are going to finish top-four, the matches they have to play I see them doing that. I think it's between us, Arsenal and Liverpool. We are going to try, but the reality is that we have a Euro semi-final to play, and we have lost a lot of players, but we are going to fight until mathematically possible."

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