Manchester United’s gremlins were on the show as Manchester City completely outclassed them in a 2-1 victory. Touted as the clash of the titan managers, City’s Pep Guardiola vs United’s Jose Mourinho, the Manchester derby was undoubtedly one of the best matches in recent Premier league history. The sky blues though had United by the leash in the first half, with the Red devils having no answer to City’s tactics and passing.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring for Manchester City as he made his way past Daley Blind. A long ball by Aleksandar Kolarov was headed on the way by Kelechi Iheanacho to the Belgian, who was left in a one-on-one with United keeper David De Gea after Blind failed to read the run.
The goal was much deserved for De Bruyne, who was undoubtedly the best player in the match. The second goal came soon after when Iheanacho tapped in a rebound from the post as De Bruyne played his way out of two United defenders. His shot though hit the far post and the rebound was pounced upon by the 19-year-old Nigerian, as De Gea could only look on from the other side of the goal.
The first 40 minutes of the game was all about the men in blue as Jose Mourinho’s tactics to play on the counter was completely negated thanks to his clueless players. Captain Wayne Rooney played like he was 55, while Marouane Fellaini, who was supposed to shield the back four, kept losing the ball.
Starting their first match of the season, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were probably the biggest let downs, as they just could not find the composer to warrant their places. Jesse Lingard twice let the ball through his legs, while Mkhitaryan seemed to run around without much purpose. Though, the devils can take solace, if any, from the fact that the worst player of the match turned out to be City’s goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
United looked a bunch of headless chickens till Bravo suddenly decided to play hero. David Silva brought down United right-back Antonio Valencia and the free kick was taken by the number 10, Rooney. The captain’s kick looked set to be handled by City’s John Stones till Bravo decided to come out and push the ball away. The goalkeeper couldn’t reach the ball and completely negated his own teammate from claiming it as it fell for Zlatan Ibrahimović. The United striker showed why he is regarded as one of the most lethal strikers in the world as he volleyed the ball into the net. This brought United back into the game and the next few minutes till half time was bossed by the home club.
This wasn’t the only time Bravo seemed like he brought a knife to a gunfight. A few minutes later, just before halftime, the Chilean decided to play a through ball to John Stones. The intended pass was intercepted by Jesse Lingard and passed to Zlatan but the striker couldn’t make the shot count.
The second half saw a brand new United as they took off Mkhitaryan and Lingard to bring in Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera. Jose Mourinho decided he wanted to take the game back to his arch rival Guardiola and pushed his team forward. Despite reaching close United were repeatedly closed down by City’s back four, especially Nicolás Otamendi.
Bravo though wasn’t finished; he brought down Wayne Rooney in an attempt to win the ball after the Chilean keeper did not clear the ball when he had the chance. Referee Mark Clattenburg played on as the home crowd bellowed for a penalty.
Even though they were pushing forward, United’s back four still seemed pretty unsure of what to do as they kept getting caught out by De Bruyne and David Silva. The Spaniard was laying out passes for the Belgian as the tired legs of Eric Bailly were just not able to keep up.
Despite the win, Guardiola now has to deal with his goalkeeping situation. His £17 million replacement for the English Joe Hart does not seem to be up the task of immediately being given the Number 1 role. As for United, Jose has to go back to the drawing board and reshuffle his tactics and his team.