Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United: Four Things We Learned

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Manchester United are the 2023-24 FA Cup victors as they defeated Manchester City in the rematch of the last season’s final, beating their cross-town rivals 2-1.

Man United shocked City in the first half, with two goals in quick succession, with Alejandro Garnacho opening the scoring after 30 minutes, and Kobbie Mainoo adding another one nine minutes later. Jeremy Doku only managed to give City hope, but not much else, with his goal in the 87th minute. Here is what we learned from United’s big win.

Garnacho Takes His Chance

It was a sloppy start from Manchester City, who failed to impose themselves in their usual fashion, and United took the most out of it. When Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega failed to communicate properly, Garnacho was there to pounce on the chance and put the ball into an empty net. It was a great match for the young Argentine who was constantly dangerous with his runs behind the defenders’ backs. Despite making mere 30 touches against a possession-dominating City side, Garnacho managed to put United in the driving seat.

Mainoo Caps Off An Amazing Season

This has been an amazing season for Kobbie Mainoo and in this FA Cup final, he proved once again he has a knack for scoring goals in the big games. He was the hero against Liverpool in the quarter-final, and now he was in the right place at the right time to not only capitalise on a brilliant Bruno Fernandes assist, but also to show City just how much space they were giving the Devils. On this biggest of occasions, United players were ready to take that and Mainoo’s goal was the icing on the cake of a great breakout campaign.

Guardiola Made A Mistake

Pep Guardiola has a reputation for mixing up his tactics too much and then making the wrong choices when he should not. That seems to be the case in this match as well. City were unusually sloppy and that is not something Guardiola can always control, but his idea to have way too many central-centric players played into United’s game plan. With Haaland and De Bruyne rarely enjoying these big occasions, they were also adding the crowd in the middle with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva. Kyle Walker could not offer as much width as necessary alone on the right, while Gvardiol on the left is actually a centre-back. The best example of this mistake was the introduction of Jeremy Doku, who offered City much needed pace and width on the wings, which troubled United much more.

Ten Hag Wins Another Trophy

Erik Ten Hag said post-match that Man United might choose to go with a different manager, but that he will either way go somewhere to win more trophies – because that is what he does. Criticise him or not, that is actually correct. Ten Hag brought United two trophies amid turbulent times and although there are numerous criticisms that could be sent the Dutchman’s way, he has now ended a poor season on a high. Whatever United choose to do in the end, a tough summer awaits.

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