Manchester United had a golden chance to shrink Manchester City’s advantage at the top of the English Premier League standings, but they missed it. Even though City didn’t have their best performance, they still defeated The Red Devils 2-1 at Old Trafford. As a result, Pep Guardiola’s men now have an 11-point lead at the top of the standings.
How did the Manchester United players fare in this game? Read on to find out!
David De Gea – 6
It’s hard to put this defeat on De Gea’s shoulders. The Spanish goalkeeper could not do much in any of the two goals he conceded, as both came due to defensive mistakes and City’s ability to execute set-piece situations. De Gea finished the game with five saves throughout the game.
Antonio Valencia – 5
Valencia was not able to shine as he has done it in past encounters against top opposition. Knowing he could not leave too many spaces on the defensive end due to the threat of City’s wingers, Valencia was not a reliable attacking option on the right flank. He had a few crosses here and there, but for the most part he spent the game containing te opposing playmakers.
Chris Smalling – 7
The former Fulham star got the start due to the injuries of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, and he responded beautifully to the challenge. Even though United lost the game, Smalling was a huge presence at the back. For instance, Smalling limited the impact of Gabriel Jesus while the Brazilian was out there. He also looked pretty active overall, and his numbers backed that up since he finished with seven clearances, four tackles, three interceptions, and one blocked shot.
Marcos Rojo – 4
If Smalling was the team’s best defender, then we could easily qualify Rojo as the weaker link on United’s defensive line during this game. The Argentina international looked inaccurate on his touches, his positioning was subpar, and lost several duels. To make things more complicated, he left the game with an injury during half time and was replaced by Victor Lindelöf.
Ashley Young – 6
Ashley Young could deserve some of the blame for Manchester City’s first goal, but he still managed to fill the stat sheet and produce on both ends of the pitch. He finished with four clearances, four tackles and four interceptions. Young proved he should remain as a decent left-back choice for United, at least in the short-term picture.
Ander Herrera – 5
Ander Herrera took Paul Pogba’s role in this game, but the Spaniard simply couldn’t thrive and struggled on both ends of the pitch. He looked overmatched physically by players such as Fernnadinho and Fabian Delph, while struggling to represent a creative threat. He just wasn’t good, and there is no doubt United fans missed Pogba here. Ander registered a high number of interceptions (five) and tackles (four), but fans certainly expected more from the former Athletic Bilbao star.
Nemanja Matic – 6
Another game, another solid display for Matic. The Serbian international does not shine going forward and excels defensively, so he once again focused on that side of the ball against City. Matic managed to limit the impact of Kevin de Bruyne at times, but we have seen better performances from him in the past. He needs to get back to his early-season form.
Anthony Martial – 6
Martial didn’t have the influence Marcus Rashford had in the game (more on him later) but he still produced a strong display on the right wing. The French only registered one shot on target and one key pass, but still managed to complicate the opposing defence from time to time.
Jesse Lingard – 5
Lingard has been one of the best players for Manchester United during the past few weeks. However, he couldn’t repeat his past performances in this game. He looked overmatched, and failed to represent much of a threat in the final meters. To make things even worst for him, he could have done something to prevent City’s first goal.
Marcus Rashford – 7
Rashford might be a youngster who is not even old enough to drink in several places in the world, but that hasn’t stopped him to dazzle every time he steps on a football pitch. Sunday’s game against Manchester City wasn’t the exception, as the England international took advantage of a big defensive mistake to score coolly past Ederson. Rahsford played mostly on the left wing, and was one of the team’s biggest attacking threats. Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough.
Romelu Lukaku – 4
If you want to know how bad Lukaku was in this game, then the stats do not tell the whole story. The Belgian came close to equalise late in the second half, but uncharacteristically he played a big part on the two goals United conceded. He lost an easy aerial duel in the first half, and his deflection from a free kick early in the second half resulted in City’s winning goal. He needs to play better soon, because his recent performances have not been up to his standards.
Victor Lindelöf replaced the injured Marcos Rojo during half time, and he failed to thrive. The same goes for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata, as both players entered the pitch too late to turn things around.