Highly anticipated match at Old Trafford and the first ever Manchester Derby for Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola has indeed met, and even exceeded the expectations.
Featuring goals at both sides, blatant errors also at both ends and endless excitement, Saturday’s meeting between the Red Devils and Citizens was exactly what a derby should be – openly contested, emotional affair.
Following an overwhelming afternoon at Old Trafford, here are the five things we learned from the game:
Pep Guardiola has transformed Man City
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager did not take long before putting his stamp on Manchester City’s play.
Citizens’ performance was vibrant, exciting and in perfect accordance with Pep Guardiola’s tactical approach. Fernandinho as a holding midfielder dropping back between central defenders to orchestrate the attack has allowed the Brazilian to showcase his full potential and achieve greater contribution than last season.
When it comes to defending, Manchester City looked like Barcelona – and Bayern Munich for that matter – against Manchester United. City’s backline pushed further towards the centre line and constant pressure from attacking players left Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney frustratingly deprived of the ball.
All in all, Pep’s City is displaying huge improvement with the Spaniard making an instant imprint on his new squad.
Mourinho can’t cope with Pep’s tactics
Jose Mourinho’s impressive start to the season has been put to a disappointing halt.
His first encounter with the old foe Guardiola ended in another frustrating loss, Moirinho’s eighth to a Guardiola’s side.
Pep’s teams have chronically lacked ideas against Guardiola’s high-pressure tactics which was the case once again with Manchester United.Mourinho has perhaps displazed lack of courage by not going out to attack his rivals in front of home support and should be – for that matter – complimented for a change of approach in the second half. Guardiola responded though, by introducing defensive changes to his own tactics leaving Mourinho frustrated with the final outcome of the game.
It took Mourinho three years to pip Guardiola to a league title in Spain and if we are to make early conclusions from their first-ever Premier League clash, Mourinho has a long way ahead of him in making his side as competitive as Guardiola’s.
United’s flaws fully exposed
Manchester City’s compelling performance has forced all of Manchester United’s deficiencies up on the surface.
Eric Bailly has been an instant impact at the back, but the former Espanyol and Villarreal centre-back will still need time to fully adjust to his new surroundings. The 22-year-old Ivory Coast international has been exposed during Manchester City’s first goal with his poorly timed and ultimately missed header, which was only compounded by wasteful Daley Blind’s positioning and movement.
Dutch defender has perhaps been one of the weakest points for Mourinho’s team, often being dragged around by Manchester City attacking line. Manchester United’s backline remains the biggest problem for Old Trafford outfit in their challenge to get back to the Premier League’s top this season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been given a chance to shine from the start, but the Armenia international disappointed with his overall lack of passion, commitment and dedication. Mourinho will have been disappointed by the former Borussia Dortmund key man, who was lacking pace and movement which was most outlined through his failure to cover Aleksandar Kolarov who initiated the attack that led to Citiy’s first goal.
Kevin de Bruyne growing into a world-class star
His compelling performance left everyone in awe as Manchester City starlet Kevin De Bruyne put in a brilliant display against his former manager’s team.
Having scored one, hit the post prior to Iheanacho’s goal and hitting post once again in the second half, Kevin De Bruyne sent a clear message to Jose Mourinho who showed lack of patience with the Belgian player at Chelsea.
Arguably one of the best players on the pitch, Kevin De Bruyne was menacing United’s defence by being a constant threat to David de Gea’s goal. A piece of information that Belgian was involved in 32 goals in 46 appearances for Manchester City is another testiment to his huge contribution and development, after all.
Rashford deserves a starting spot
Marcus Rashford is one of the most exciting English talents, who is enjoying fantastic form both for club and country. Having come off from a hat-trick for England’s Under 21 sideduring hte international break, Marcus Rashford has made Mourinho’s decision-making much heavier.
A second-choice striker behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic has perhaps undeservedly put on the margins and Mourinho should be applauded for bringing him on instead of wasteful Mkhitaryan, while at the same time keeping Wayne Rooney on.
Rashford’s introduction was a breath of fresh air for the hosts, with the 18-year-old striker making an instant impact on United’s play.
Manchester United striker even went on to score, but his goal was disallowed due to an offside position from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who ruined Rashford’s brilliant effort.
MANCHESTER UNITED: David de Gea 6 – Valencia 7, Bailly 6.5, Blind 6, Shaw 6.5 (Martial 6) – Fellaini 6.5, Pogba 6.5 – Mkhitaryan 5.5 (Herrera 6), Rooney 6.5, Lingard 6.5 (Rashford 7) – Ibrahimovic 7.
Unused subs: Mata, Romero, Schneiderlin, Smalling
MANCHESTER CITY: Bravo 6 – Sagna 7, Stones 7, Otamendi 7, Kolarov 7 – Fernandinho 7.5, Silva 7.5 – Sterling 6.5 (Sane 6.5), De Bruyne 8 (Zabaleta 6), Nolito 7 – Iheanacho 7 (Fernando 6.5)
Unused subs: Caballero, Clichy, Garcia, Navas
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg