Manchester United have managed to beat Tottenham Hotspur comfortably and then save a late draw against Atalanta, but against Manchester City, there are no free rides. Pep Guardiola’s side defeated the Red Devils at Old Trafford 2-0 on Saturday, showing a clear difference between the two sides.
Eric Bailly’s own goal just seven minutes into the game made it clear who is going to dominate the clash in the Manchester Derby and Bernardo Silva’s weak shot in the last minute of the first half was let in by David de Gea to make it 2-0. In the end, this match could have ended with a much bigger difference for the visitors, while Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side were never in the match to try and maybe earn a point. Here is what we learned from the Manchester Derby.
Solskjaer Opts For Defending The Goal
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to field the team in the 3-5-2 formation once again, for the third time in a row. What worked well against Spurs, simply did not hold against Atalanta and it did not on Saturday either. Man United’s prime reason for this formation was to make City struggle with passing the ball through the lines. United’s positioning was very narrow both vertically and horizontally. But that did not produce enough for United. City were rampant and dominant and it seemed like United’s only preoccupation was to not concede. And they were never close to achieving that.
De Gea Shows Both Faces
In this match, it turned out that David de Gea was Man United’s best performer and whenever that happens, it is not great news for the rest of the team. De Gea made four saves in this match, he had some good reactions, especially in the first half, keeping United in the game after conceding early. The Devils could have conceded four or five yesterday if it was not for him, but then, in the dying minutes of the first half, De Gea’s lack of concentration resulted in Bernardo Silva’s goal. It was not a great shot and De Gea should have saved it…
Varane’s Presence Is Missing
Raphael Varane came this summer from Real Madrid and very quickly it became evident that Man United’s defence is not the same with him and without him in the team. The Frenchman was not on the pitch yesterday and the back three of Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly was all over the place. Varane’s quality and class are evident every time he is on the pitch, a real calming presence, but without him, Man United’s back line is seriously problematic.
Huge Difference In Quality
After this loss, Man United are sitting six points behind Manchester City, but the difference in class and quality is stark. Pep Guardiola’s side are a well-oiled machine which at every point knows what it needs to do and how to play. Solskjaer’s Man United, on the other hand, are often clueless and powerless, without a proper structure and gameplan. It was clear as day how different the two teams are and if both sides continue this way, the difference in points won will continue to grow.