On the high stakes derby day, the reds of Manchester seemed to pick up right where they left off with the infamous 3-2 victory in April 2018. Coming in as the underdogs, United surprised Pep and hsi boys with fierce pace and grit with all the front four of Martial, Rashford, James and Lingard peppering Ederson with early shots on the counter making intentions very clear. Rashford soon converted a penalty he had rightfully earned and Martial rifled into helpless Ederson’s near post six minutes later to leave City trailing 2-0 in the first half.
-City had never trailed by two goals so early in a home league game since Pep Guardiola took charge in 2016 also handing him the worst start to a season ever.
David De Gea produced an acrobatic stop from Rodri’s fierce effort, before sub Otamendi rose high above Harry Maguire to halve the deficit from a Riyad Mahrez corner with five minutes remaining in the second half but United held their nerve and were tactically spot on to come away with all three very crucial and deserving points.
The result could not have been achieved without the entire team playing out of their skins but here are three players who led the charge against the title holders.
Looks a fish in water while defending against any opposition/player regardless of form, reputation or other dynamics. His best performance for United yet in my opinion, although seems like we say it every week. Critics argue he’s only good at defending but boy, even they can’t dispute the boy’s ability at that. Took no prisoners and was seldom caught off guard. Constantly reminded Sterling off his presence and did well going forward to release pressure at times Never buckled, even when City tightened the screws in the second half. Brings back the simple joys of defending with fans cheering for his every tackle. -100% tackle rate
-100% tackle rate
-Made most tackles on the pitch – 5, very impressive considering the nature of the opposition
-Made the most no.of blocks
-Had the most touches
-Had most interceptions
-Sterling(Many birthday wishes to the player!!) had no shot on target during the match
The complete defender and the Man of the Match for me.
Another player with his best performance in a red shirt yet. Reminded Pep of his dominance at the Etihad for Shaktar two years ago and controlled the midfield. Made the most of McTominay(Many happy returns to the birthday boy today!!) in behind him by venturing forward fearlessly and tactically disarming turnover of possession. Topped of his brilliance by nutmegging Rodri. Had a shout for a potential handball penalty but i felt he was not at fault and perhaps the VAR decision was a sign of turn of fate the Brazilian needed. Deserves great praise for a high energy performance and was the chief orchestrator of the Red Devils engine room. Appears that Samba.exe has been downloaded and installed successfully.
In red hot form and was unplayable at times. Seems to be twice the player when he starts on the left. Was the spearhead of United’s attack. Won and converted his first-half penalty, hit the crossbar with a lovely 25-yard effort. Constantly exploited the missing second genuine centre back for City. Pressed the back line relentlessly and did well to defend when necessary. Justified his potential with a huge performance against a big opposition yet again.
– Rashford has scored 13 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this season – equalling his best goalscoring return for United in a single season (13 goals in 47 apps in 2018-19 and 13 goals in 52 apps in 2017-18), 6 of those coming against the top 6.
– Rashford has been directly involved in 15 goals in his past 14 games in all competitions for Manchester United and England (13 goals, 2 assists) with a goal involvement every 97 minutes, best for a player his age in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
When United were in a position to counter, a four-man attack shielded by McTominay-Fred solidarity looked tactically spot on from Ole. The bigger opposition seems to be United’s lesser challenge at the moment with Ole coming away with three points against Jose Mourinho and Pep in the space of 72 hours.
Pogba’s return is eagerly awaited into the side into the number 10 position as his creativity would propel United into the top four undoubtedly. Solskjaer has overcome the test of fire for now despite not having a complete squad of world-class players, but by inspiring his men to perform at their best. Dramatic improvements from Scott McTominay, Fred and a host of inspired performances from academy graduates coupled with the impeccable summer signings are a testament.
Manchester United are now unbeaten in their past five Premier League games (W3 D2), winning consecutive league matches for the first time since March. With lesser challenges approaching, Ole will be expected to come good sooner rather than later. The old guard providing a standing ovation and a seal of approval after last night’s spoils was a sight to watch and remember for a long time to come. Let’s hope this was a huge step up in the right direction and a sign of only better things to come not just in terms of results but support from the fans, backing from the board and performances on the pitch.
NOTE : I personally strongly condemn the racist incident that had taken place during the game. Never mind who is playing and what the nature of the game is, Football is a sport entitled equally to all and I appeal to fans on all sides to show dignity and respect towards everybody. May law strike down appropriately on such fringe elements and they should rightly find no space in any nooks of our society, let alone the sport we all love and enjoy.