Despite dominating possession, City struggled to really hurt United and were punished. Premier League review, brought to you by Dashing…
Ederson Moraes played the role of an antagonist in a tightly-contested Manchester derby, wherein United beat arch-rivals City, 2-0.
Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay scored the goals for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as United maintained their quest for the fourth spot, with the win taking them to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea. Pep Guardiola will be relieved his team’s second position is under no significant threat. Yet with a match against Arsenal coming up in mid-week, he’ll need to bolster the confidence of his troops.
Heading into the match, United were in a purple patch of form – going nine games unbeaten. Making it 10 required a monumental effort, especially against a team as fluent as the Citizens against whom they hadn’t recorded a Premier League double in a decade.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was at his stellar best. Neither did he allow Sterling to have a sustained impact in the match, but his forays forward alongside Daniel James perturbed Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Solskjaer seems to believe he has the optimum solution for games against the top six, with the Norwegian coach consistently applying a 3-5-2 formation. Luke Shaw seems rejuvenated as a left centre-back while the extra central defender was pivotal in silencing Aguero and co.
United stifled City through intelligent pressing and adept positioning. While the visitors controlled possession, United’s depth and discipline meant the opposition rarely had clear-cut chances.
But the spotlight will be on the team’s Brazilian goalkeeper. He displayed a lack of conviction in blocking United’s opening goal where he allowed Martial’s shot from a clever Bruno Fernandes free-kick to sneak under him. Then a horror throw at the death guillotined the blue side of Manchester’s hopes of a draw, at the very least.
The result could’ve been further acerbated, had Martial capitalized on another mistake by Ederson in the second half, right in front of goal. Had he not recovered very well, the blushes will have been a deeper shade of red at the final whistle.
Despite a glut of riches in attack, City seemed repeatedly devoid of ideas in the final third. Raheem Sterling’s duck against Manchester United continued through his performance in 90 minutes, while Aguero and Silva were both hooked in the early stages of the second half.
The positioning of Phil Foden on the wings seemed to be a mistake, especially since the 19-year-old operates best in a central attacking role. The introduction of Riyad Mahrez did free him up, yet neither the Algerian nor the Englishman were of much help in City’s quest for a goal.
As the final whistle blew, United erupted in a long muffled applause of a double over their noisy neighbours. Sir Alex Ferguson, in the stands, was beaming as he left – he’s certainly hoping Ole’s steady influence brings in greater success for United.