Manchester United and Manchester City played out a dismal derby stalemate behind closed doors at Old Trafford.
In a game devoid of quality and excitement, neither side were able to carve out the opportunity that could make a difference amid the eerie silence of the so-called ‘Theatre Of Dreams’.
Gabriel Jesus was off target and Riyad Mahrez brought a routine save from David de Gea with City’s best first-half chances while Scott McTominay was agonisingly inches away from Victor Lindelof’s flick as United sought the breakthrough.
United thought they had a second-half penalty when Kyle Walker fouled Marcus Rashford but the decision was overturned as VAR revealed the United striker was offside.
It led to an unsatisfactory conclusion for both sides, leaving United seventh in the Premier League and City a place below them.
Will Solskjaer be satisfied?
Manchester United needed some sort of response after the despair and disappointment of their Champions League exit following the loss against RB Leipzig – defeat was not an option.
And that goal, at least, was achieved but it was achieved at the end of a real eyesore of a game and was pretty much a flimsy straw that under-pressure boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United could clutch at.
Paul Pogba was restored to the starting line-up to little or no effect but it would be unfair to single out the midfielder who seems permanently unsettled at Old Trafford, at least according to agent Mino Raiola, because barely anyone had a positive impact on a shocking spectacle.
De Gea was under the microscope after another expensive error in Germany but he, like City counterpart Ederson, had a quiet night.
He completed two straightforward saves from Mahrez’s first-half effort and Rodri’s injury-time shot but other than that was largely unemployed.
It was that sort of game – although once more United’s £40m summer signing from Ajax Donny van de Beek was left to watch on from the bench perhaps wondering what he has to do to get a start.