Saturday, December 4, 2021

Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City: Major Talking Points As The Sky Blues Breeze Their Way To An Old Trafford Romp

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Nov 2021

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Seven days on from their shock 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace, Manchester City managed to make a rampant return to winning ways as they made the trip to Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

While much might have been made of United’s eye-catching Premier League record against their noisy neighbours prior to kick-off, Pep Guardiola’s defending champions completely dominated proceedings from the opening whistle as they cruised their way to a 2-0 victory.

Almost wrapping up all three points thanks to Eric Bailly’s own goal and Bernardo Silva’s poked effort on the stroke of half-time, there is no doubt that the pressure still firmly remains on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shoulders.

As the Sky Blues cruised their way to a 2-0 win on Saturday lunchtime, we have taken a look at all the major talking points.

City extend on their Old Trafford romp

While Manchester United might have opened Saturday’s derby showdown enjoying a four-match Premier League unbeaten run against their crosstown rivals, City’s impressive record at Old Trafford almost flew under the radar.

With Pep Guardiola making the decision to drop Jack Grealish from his starting XI, the former Bayern Munich boss didn’t see his side miss a beat as they stormed their way to a 1-0 lead after just seven minutes as Eric Bailly turned Joao Cancelo’s cross into his own net.

Appearing to show no signs of a domestic hangover after their 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace last weekend, City could have really filled their boots in the opening exchanges as David de Gea denied the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus with a pair of smart saves.

However, with Luke Shaw switching off moments before heading into the break, Bernardo Silva somehow saw his effort sneak past the Spanish keeper at the back stick as Guardiola’s side took a more than deserved 2-0 lead at half-time.

Not having to get out of second gear on what was an incredibly routine display by the defending champions, City have now lost just one of their previous seven trips to Old Trafford across all competitions, a run that stems back to 2017.

Another derby day hammering for United

While Manchester United might have managed to land that much-needed 3-0 romp against Tottenham last weekend, it appears that might have just been a minor boost for Solskjaer and his struggling squad.

Needing another Cristiano Ronaldo miracle in midweek as they salvaged a 2-2 draw away at Atalanta on Champions League duties, the former Premier League champions find themselves in the midst of what has been an extended nightmare, especially at Old Trafford.

With last month’s woeful 5-0 drumming against Liverpool still firmly in the minds of United fans, Saturday’s hosts once again failed to lay any kind of blow on another one of their most historic rivals over the weekend.

Also hit with the news in midweek that World Cup-winning defender Raphael Varane faces up to a month on the sidelines, the Reds once again demonstrated why their leaky defence has come under so much scrutiny since opening the 2021/22 campaign.

Knowing that they could have easily been on the end of another 5-0 drumming had City taken their chances, United have remarkably now failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last 14 straight home fixtures, their worst run since the 1958/59 campaign.

Pep schools Ole

With Guardiola watching his side suffer back-to-back domestic defeats last week, there is no doubt that City’s Spanish boss was more than aware that his squad could face entered November’s international break chasing a real deficit had they tasted a derby day on Saturday lunchtime.

However, while the defending champions might have been without a suspended Aymeric Laporte at Old Trafford, the duo of Stones and Ruben Dias offered both Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes absolutely no space on a frustrating afternoon for United’s attacking talismen.

Expecting that Saturday’s hosts would once again start with a five at the back, Cancelo and Kyle Walker dominated the game from the full-back positions as City allowed their crosstown rivals to finish the contest with just 32% possession to their name.

With the pressure on Solskaer’s shoulders still firmly at a boiling point, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat only underlined not just the class between the two Manchester sides, but the managerial level between the two men sat in their dugouts.

Managing to muster just a single shot on Ederson’s goal, despite bringing on big-money summer arrival Jadon Sancho at half-time, Solskaer and United will know that if results go against them this weekend they could mathematically drop out of the top-half when heading into the international break.

Match Report:

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Fernandes, Greenwood, Ronaldo

Subs: Sancho, Telles, Rashford, Van de Beek

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Jesus, Foden, Silva

Subs: N/A

Goals: Bailly OG 7’, Silva 45’

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Ronaldo – Manchester City: Cancelo, Silva

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Michael Oliver

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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