Clean sheet. Away win. Broke Manchester City’s 21 game unbeaten run. And another HUGE win in the Manchester derby – A successful Super Sunday for Ole Gunnar Solskjaers Reds!
Manchester City have only lost 4 times at the Etihad since December 2019. 3 of those have come against Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the first manager ever to win three successive away games against a Pep Guardiola team. If those stats aren’t enough for you to give Ole the credit he deserves after tonight’s game, I don’t know what is.
It’s safe to say there were very few people who went into this game expecting Manchester United to win against an almost untouchable Manchester City side and put on the performance that they did. From Dean Henderson in goal to Martial up front, every single player played for the badge and the occasion. The early penalty certainly helped set the tone for the rest of the game and I do wonder how it would’ve panned out had we not scored so early on – but that doesn’t matter, because we got the 3 points, another win to add to our 77 derby wins, and bragging rights to laugh at Liverpool after their 1-0 defeat against Fulham.
Aside from the 20 minutes towards the end of the first half where City dominated the play, it was United who showed the most passion, determination and fight to win which ultimately did the club and the fans proud.
Defensively, Maguire and Lindelof had one of their best games as a centre-back pairing, which I believe was largely down to the man in between the sticks. Despite not having a whole lot to do, Dean Henderson provided a cool, calm and collected mentality as our No. 1. Not only did he save a cracking shot by Zinchenko, he also threw out a fantastic ball which led to the attack for Shaw’s goal – which has proved to be one of the biggest talking points.
Shaw’s goal was well and truly the icing on top of the cake that is his continued impressive form. He’s one of our strongest threats going forward and undoubtedly our most improved player of the season who’s place in the Euro’s is surely imminent. Wan-Bissaka yet again put on a spectacular effort, with not one City player being able to successfully dribble past him. He made 5 interceptions and 3 key tackles – more than any other player on the pitch.
Though the passing accuracy wasn’t at its best in midfield, Ole’s trusty ‘McFred’ combination pulled themselves together in the second half to put on a solid overall performance.
In terms of our forwards, I think James, Bruno and Rashford are our go-to front 3 for upcoming games, though, Rashford’s injury could be a blow to this attacking set-up. James had yet another great game and proved to be a vital asset going forward in terms of pace and his decision making. Bruno, who has been slandered recently for not performing against the traditional top 6 teams, remained cool as ice as he took the penalty that gave us the lead just one minute into the game – once again proving his critics wrong. But the player who’s seemingly been the focus of a lot of post-match praise is Anthony Martial. After his extremely poor form as of late, Martial proved to himself, Solskjaer and the fans, that he has still got it in him, that he does have the work-rate and desire to win and that he is slowly but surely on the road to becoming the player we all know he can be.
After such an all-round, solid team performance, there were a few players who were in contention for my MOTM tonight. However, Luke Shaw has continued to prove himself as one of the best (if not the best) LB in the league and for that reason, I hand him MOTM to accompany his Player of the Month title he earnt earlier on in the week.
After a performance like that, it’s hard not to get carried away and assume this is the start of a winning streak for the Reds. Though we’ve re-claimed our position in 2nd place, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we still have a difficult run of games coming up over the next couple of weeks. I’m hoping the players can take away the passion and determination from todays game and apply it to Thursday’s Europa League tie against AC Milan and Sunday’s tricky game against West Ham. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, lets sit back and soak up the feeling of a Manchester derby win!
Who was your MOTM? Let me know in the comments!