Manchester United ended Manchester City‘s run of 21 consecutive wins with a deserved 2-0 win in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.
A year to the day after beating Manchester City 2-0 at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men did it again — this time on enemy territory. Today’s victory reduces City’s lead at the top to 11 points.
United flew out of the traps and stunned City in the opening exchanges, earning a penalty after just 35 seconds. Anthony Martial dribbled into a crowded City box and was clipped by Gabriel Jesus before Bruno Fernandes stepped up to convert from the spot. The visitors looked lively but couldn’t keep up the pressure. City had a couple of half-chances, but ultimately grew into the game and dominated the possession for the rest of the first half.
However, United got the decisive second shortly after the break when, after Dean Henderson released Luke Shaw on the left, the left-back combined with Marcus Rashford to rifle in a low effort. City looked leggy and were unable to respond, and instead United looked more likely to extend their lead; Martial missing a golden opportunity to add gloss to the scoreline.
United defended well and restricted City to long-range efforts from outside the area, to which Dean Henderson was equal. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Ilay Gundogan were all kept quiet throughout, and the Reds looked dangerous on the break. The perfect away performance.
The injury to Marcus Rashford will be of some concern. The England man looked to be struggling throughout the game at times and then limped off after 70 minutes.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started with virtually the same side that beat City 2-0 a year ago, and his men delivered the same result. Apart from a 30-minute spell in the first half, United were the better side. They were solid at the back and always dangerous on the counter: Solksjaer got this one spot on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Dean Henderson, 7 — The Englishman was well placed to save twice from Gundogan, and again when Oleksandr Zinchenko hit a zinger from just outside the edge of the area. He looked very comfortable throughout and started United’s counter-attack for the second with a great throw to Shaw. Parried a late strike in injury time, too.
DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 7 — Wan-Bissaka seems to love playing against Raheem Sterling and once again managed to keep the England winger quiet. Sterling didn’t even attempt to take him on, instead opting for the pass instead.
DF Victor Lindelof, 7 — He made a series of blocks and challenges to deny Gabriel Jesus, first when the Brazilian shot from just inside the area and again when he cut in from the left.
DF Harry Maguire, 8 — An extremely solid performance from Maguire, who was always in the right place at the right time and showed great positional awareness. The defending was a bit erratic towards the end, but the low block with Lindelof was extremely effective.
DF Luke Shaw, 8 — The left-back had a great chance to make it 2-0 in the opening minutes but did make it 2-0 early in the second half. He started and finished a fine move in which he linked with Rashford before scoring with a low effort. Had a tough task keeping Riyad Mahrez quiet but was again impressive.
MF Scott McTominay, 7 — McTominay was guilty of giving the ball away too easily on occasion, but together with Fred, successfully kept De Bruyne and Gundogan relatively quiet. He was up and down the pitch and worked hard throughout.
MF Fred, 6 — Fred and McTominay were sometimes wasteful in possession but they marshalled the area in front of United’s back four very well. Fred’s pressing was superb, but his passing erratic.
MF Daniel James, 6 — United’s right-hand side was effective, with James linking well with Wan-Bissaka. While he was solid, he didn’t always make the best decision in the final third. On one occasion, he shot when he had Fernandes and Martial in more space.
MF Bruno Fernandes, 6 — The Portuguese midfielder stunned the hosts by scoring from the penalty spot in the first minute. He had a quiet game thereafter, as he wasn’t always able to keep up with United’s counter-attacks.
FW Marcus Rashford, 7 — Rashford was always involved when United countered and City looked terrified when he was running at their defence with the ball at his feet. His decision-making and touch were off, and he seemed to shoot when he should have passed and passed when he should have shot.
FW Anthony Martial, 8 — The Frenchman earned his side a penalty inside the opening 35 seconds, running into a melee of City players and getting caught by Jesus. He always looked dangerous on the counter, and he saw a brilliant chance to make it three well-saved by Ederson. Ultimately, he held the ball up well and was superb when advancing United up the pitch.
MF Mason Greenwood, N/R — Greenwood took up a position on the right that saw James move to the left. His biggest contribution came in his own area when he blocked Phil Foden at close range.
MF Nemanja Matic N/R — Brought on to close the game out, he didn’t see much of the ball, but his presence added another body to protect United’s half.
MF Brandon Williams, N/R — Brought on no doubt as a time-wasting exercise, the local lad will no doubt have enjoyed getting a taste of a derby victory.