Manchester City all but ended the Premier League title race in December after beating their neighbouring rivals Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The win extended City’s lead at the top of the table to 11 points over United. Although there is still more than half the season left to play, it seems inconceivable that Pep Guardiola’s men will surrender such a healthy advantage by May.

After 16 matches, City are still unbeaten in the league, winning all but one of those games. They also have a massive goal difference of 37, which is one more than the number of times United have found the back of the net so far this season.

Here are the three main talking points from the first Manchester Derby of the season:

Mourinho will never change

There probably isn’t a more polarising figure in the world of football than Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Ever since he made that dash down the touchline at Old Trafford in 2004 celebrating his then-team Porto’s win over the club he now manages, the Portuguese has nurtured as many admirers as he has detractors.

His tactics have the ability to leave spectators with dropped jaws – whether it is in admiration or disgust. His teams usually go for the kill in matches that they are expected to win, but Mourinho is also the master of parking the bus in front of goal in high-pressure games and rely on the counter-attack.

The tactic worked against Arsenal last weekend, when United found themselves 2-0 ahead at the Emirates within 11 minutes despite hardly seeing any of the ball. It did not work on Sunday against City, a far superior opposition, as it hadn’t against United’s traditional rivals Liverpool earlier in the season when the game ended 0-0.

On the days Mourinho’s pragmatic approach, as he calls it, works out he is hailed as a master tactician. On days it doesn’t, he is lambasted as a defensive, one-dimensional bus driver. This is probably why he doesn’t care about what anyone says, even if it is his own club’s management.

Manchester United should have attacked more on Sunday considering they were playing at home and City’s defence isn’t the best in the league. There was enough evidence of that in Rashford’s equaliser, which came after a horrible lapse in City’s defensive line. But no matter what anyone says, there is no doubting Mourinho would choose to do it the ugly way again if he had a rewind button.

There are many words that can be used to describe Mourinho but if you were forced to stick to one, it is stubborn. This is also one of the reasons he doesn’t last more than three or four seasons at a single club. Mourinho isn’t going to change. The only question is how long his club, currently Manchester United, are willing to trust him.

Pep 1 Media 0

When Pep Guardiola was announced as Manchester City’s new manager last year, there were many column inches in the British and world media harping on about the fact that his tiki-taka style of football, which the Spaniard had perfected at Barcelona, would not work in England.

The critics dug their daggers deeper into Guardiola when City’s campaign crumbled last season after a bright start. But with 15 wins in 16 matches this season – the best ever start by a Premier League team – it’s safe to say Guardiola is having the last laugh. And the Spaniard made it a point to drive home the point after Sunday’s win, which all but sealed the title in December.

Graphic by Anand Katakam

“For us to come here to Old Trafford and play the way we played, trying to be patient and clever, controlling the counter-attack, I am delighted,” he said, as quoted by the Manchester City website. “I am happy with the way we played, we can win lose or draw but it’s important how we play.”

“We showed that this kind of football can be played in England. People say it can only be played in Spain, but we showed it is possible to have the courage to play. Everybody can play wherever they want. I am happy to go to the grounds of our contenders and beat all of them.”

City have so far recorded narrow away wins against Chelsea (0-1) and United (1-2), while thrashing Liverpool (5-0) and Arsenal (3-1) at home. Tottenham Hotspur are the only top-six team that hasn’t taken on Guardiola’s men this season and when they do next weekend it would be foolish to bet against another Sky Blue victory.

City are the new United

One of the trademarks of the Manchester United teams managed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the nineties and noughties was their ability to nick a last-gasp win against all odds in what came to be known as Fergie Time.

Not that beating their neighbours wasn’t brag-worthy enough, but City are on course for handing their fans the ultimate gloat ­– Pep Time is the new Fergie Time.

While City’s start to this season has been characterised by goals, goals and more goals – they have scored four or more goals five times in 16 league matches – their last four have been 2-1 wins. While the win at Old Trafford was not last-gasp in any way, the three before that – against Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham – were.

City’s winner in those three games came in the 84th, 90+6th, and 83rd minutes. If they had not managed to nick a winner, the gap between them and United would have only been two points before the derby.

Even in the derby, City gave their 4,000-odd fans in Old Trafford’s away section plenty to cheer about as they did a Mourinho on Mourinho by parking the bus and frustrating the home side after Otamendi had restored their lead in the 54th minute. As the clock ticked over to the last 10 minutes, City’s players flocked over to the corner flag with the ball, right below their travelling supporters, and further rubbed the hosts’ noses in dirt. It was the ultimate burn.

Preserving a one-goal lead in crunch matches is a quality often found in many championship-winning teams across the world, not least Ferguson’s. City are not only running away with the title but also making sure that United remember it for a long time to come.