The battle between the Manchester sides this year has been intriguing on a number of levels, not least due to the presence of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in the dugouts, but the rewards were supposed to be grander than a top-four finish.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was partly to blame for getting Marouane Fellaini sent off, said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the two fought out a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Thursday.
"The group was a nice group, honestly", said Mourinho, as he reflected on his first impressions of the United players. The fact we are still fighting for important things is a good motivation for people to make an extra effort.
"All the time we finish above them in the season, it shows City are doing very well", he said. "So the new players when they arrive will find a group more ready to go for big things", the former Chelsea manager explained.
Like Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo also sustained knee ligament damage against Anderlecht last week and Mourinho only has youngster Axel Tuanzebe as centre-back cover - unless he thinks outside the box when Paul Clement's struggling side visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
Iheanacho 's future at Manchester City seems to be unclear with Guardiola's reluctance to play him sparking reports of a move away from the club.
"We can not forget which team we were against tonight", Guardiola said.
"That's for sure." United have allowed two central midfielders to leave the club this year, with Morgan Schneiderlin joining Everton and Bastian Schweinsteiger moving to Chicago Fire.
Mourinho proudly boasted at his United unveiling that "my record of injuries is very, very low", but given current evidence perhaps he is fortunate not to have been stretched quite this much in previous roles.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has explained why he made a decision to change his mind about joining Manchester City before signing with the Red Devils. "You always hope when you play a big team at their stadium that they have a slightly off-day and you have a chance".
"We've got some tough games to play and we're in a better position now than we were at the start of the night". The team is now only two points behind third-place Liverpool, having played one game less, and a point behind fourth-place City, but has a tougher run-in with games still to come at Tottenham and Arsenal. "We have the talent but it's not easy".