Cape Town - Sport24's soccer expert, Wade Pretorius, rates the performances of both sides following the playing of the 168th Manchester Derby.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said that Chris Smalling's "stupid" dismissal had fatally undermined his side's chances in their 1-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.
Smalling was sent off in the 38th minute at the Etihad Stadium after receiving quick-fire yellow cards for trying to block a clearance by City goalkeeper Joe Hart and then bringing down James Milner.
The blue half of Manchester eventually prevailed through a 63rd minute Sergio Aguero strike, leaving the champions six points behind leaders Chelsea and seven points above United and Van Gaal said Smalling's red card was the turning point.
Player ratings: Manchester City
1. Joe Hart - 5
Lucky not to have been dismissed for intimidating the referee. Made some vital saves on the day.
2. Pablo Zabaleta - 6
Did his job well and turned in another decent performance.
3. Gael Clichy - 7.5
Best thing that could've happen to City was Kolarov being injured in the warm up. Clichy is class.
4. Martin Demichelis - 6.5
United were unable to make Demichelis like a 33-year-old defender and credit to the Argentine for that.
5. Vincent Kompany - 7.5
Hardly ever puts a foot wrong. Just another game for Big V!
6. Fernandinho - 7
Flew beneath the radar but Fernandinho can be proud of doing his job well.
7. James Milner - 8
With contract negotiations on-going between Milner and City, the English midfielder now holds the upper hand.
8. Yaya Toure - 8
The Ivorian star is now getting back to his best. It's a joy to watch him in full flight.
9. Stevan Jovetic - 6
Quiet birthday afternoon for Jovetic but at least he could celebrate a win.
10. Sergio Aguero - 9
Aguero was brilliant from start to finish. Scored a goal and should've earned his side two clear penalties.
11. Jesus Navas - 6.5
Unable to make any of his "half-breaks" from Shaw really count. He showed glimpses of brilliance.
12. Samir Nasri - 5
Nothing to write home about the Frenchman's afternoon at the Etihad.
Player ratings: Manchester United
1. David De Gea - 7.5
United's best player on the day and turning into one of the world's very best between the sticks.
2. Antonio Valencia - 4.5
Breaking news: Valencia is not a specialist right back. Would someone please deliver this message to Louis van Gaal.
3. Luke Shaw - 6
Not sure if this lad has a fifth gear? Did his job relatively well especially when you consider he gets little support from Di Maria on defense.
4. Marcos Rojo - 5
Lucky to not have given away a penalty when he lunged at Yaya in the box. Out for a substantial period now with a shoulder injury.
5. Chris Smalling - 1
Stupid! Only player in the league to make James Milner look like Cristiano Ronaldo!
6. Daley Blind - 6
"Dependable" and "reliable" are two words most used to describe the holding midfielder and are perfect adjectives for his performance.
7. Angel Di Maria - 6
The Argentine was well marked throughout the contest. Good effort saved by Hart in the second half. Di Maria needs to work on his crossing from corners.
8. Marouane Felliani - 6.5
Another good outing from the man with the hair. Missed a golden chance to equalise when he lost his marker but miscued his header.
9. Wayne Rooney - 7
Wayne Rooney is a world-class footballer and he gave his all for his side's cause. Probably should've made more of his weaving run in the second half.
10. Robin Van Persie - 4
A pretty unremarkable performance from Van Persie. His performance is making me believe the other fans calling him out for being too old and too slow for these types of games.
11. Adnan Januzaj - 5
Not quite up to it before being taken off after Smalling's red. Van Gaal has shown faith in the youngster and time is running out to repay his manager.
12. Michael Carrick - 5
Lucky not to have been called on his foul of Aguero, Carrick was another thrust into an unfamiliar playing position. Good effort after being out of the game for so long.
13. Paddy McNair - 6
Definitely one for the future, McNair dealt with the intensity of the derby far better than most of his more illustrous colleagues.
14. James Wilson - 6
Not given enough time too make a difference but probably played better than RVP.