Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

Match Review: Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City

Manchester United have managed four points from a possible 18. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Manchester United are outclassed by a Manchester City side in 1st gear as the blues see a 2-0 triumph on Derby day.

How did Manchester United set up?

For the third consecutive fixture, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted for the 3-5-2 system. With Raphael Varane injured early on vs Atalanta, Eric Bailly earned himself a rare successive start for the Reds.

Edinson Canani’s injury along with Marcus Rashford’s Illness meant that Mason Greenwood would partner Cristiano Ronaldo upfront.

The Team:

David De Gea (GK); Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RWB), Lindelöf (LCB), Maguire (CB), Bailly( RCB), Shaw (LWB); McTominay (CM), Fred (CM), Bruno Fernandes (CAM); Greenwood (ST), Ronaldo (ST).

How it went down: Manchester Derby

Gary Neville described the match perfectly during his co-commentary: “Manchester United resemble a drunk bloke at the end of the night”.

From the opening whistle, it was clear to see United would play a passive role in the derby. Pep Guardiola’s instructions evidently encouraged his team to push for an early goal to rattle United and unsettle the fans, something Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side did so perfectly over a week ago.

The Spaniard, was successful in delivering his plan to his players as United, under the cosh early on, succumbed to City’s pressure after seven minutes after Bailly’s comedically turned in a Joao Cancelo cross into his own net. The own goal stood as a symbol for United’s approach to the rest of the game – vulnerable.

The word erratic comes into mind when discussing United once again as always, within moments of creating a goal-scoring opportunity for themselves, they allow the opposition to slice them open defensively. United had only moments before had the opportunity to put themselves ahead as Harry Maguire’s header drifted wide of Ederson’s net.

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United’s vulnerability has to be down to poor concentration, something that also appears to be the club’s Achilles heel this season. Once again, United, in an attempt to avoid a similar embarrassment to the one that Liverpool served last week, actually mustered an opportunity despite the City onslaught, Shaw free on the left clipped in a cross towards Ronaldo who instinctively swivelled a volley on his left foot which was met by an Emerson parry which just escaped Mason Greenwood who couldn’t take the rebound under control.

Only three minutes later though, City could and should have doubled their lead as De Bruyne’s strike was blocked by Shaw, falling into the path of Gabriel Jesus at point-blank only to be denied by some De Gea heroics.

City smelled blood and upped the ante, creating chance after chance keeping De Gea under constant pressure, with the Spaniard only narrowly coming out on top.

As halftime neared as did the chance for United to reflect on a poor half of football. However, it seemed as though Shaw and Harry Maguire had already begun mentally thinking about halftime deliberations as they both allowed Bernardo Silva to steal a goal at the back post. The less said about the woeful defending the better.

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There was some suggestion by Sky Sports pundits that De Gea “ let himself down” after single-handedly keeping United in the game but that was far-fetched. The truth is a lack of focus from two English internationals cost United.

Second half

In truth, United may as well have not come out for the second half, they probably forgot what the ball looked like they saw that little of it.

The second half was nothing more than a display of how many triangles City could create while creating the odd chance if they felt like it. After the 60th minute, the game was well and truly under the command of Guardiola, who managed the game as perfectly as one could at Old Trafford by not allowing United the ball.

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Jadon Sancho was introduced at halftime for Bailly but the lack of rhythm in United’s play gave the already struggling forward very little to work with. Marcus Rashford, Alex Telles, and Donny van de Beek also found themselves involved. The Brazilian left-back’s introduction was a bonus due to the new concussion ruling that allowed Shaw to be withdrawn after a clash with Rodri.

After a few arms raised, futile Mctominay claps of encouragement and ambiguous Ronaldo mutters under his breath, the game finished with a sour but well-deserved 2-0 defeat for United.

Man of the Match – David de Gea

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Not for the first time, De Gea’s performance has stood out individually amidst a car crash of a United performance. Could he have done better for Bernardo’s goal? Yes, but did he also save us all from witnessing an unbearable drumming at the hands of our noisy neighbours? Yes.

Bigger picture

The derby defeat marks the third of what was considered a farewell tour for Solskjaer. A win vs a poor Tottenham Hotspur, followed by a draw in Bergamo and a loss at home to City, shouldn’t really be enough to steer him away from death’s door. Big decisions will need to be made during the international break.

Founder, Editor, Writer.

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