The teams/the coaches
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was under immense pressure following that disgraceful 5-0 loss to Liverpool. But it turns out that a win against a very terrible Tottenham and a draw against the very unstable Atalanta is all you need to assuage the powers that be at United. They let Antonio Conte slide into the deadly grip of Daniel Levy, and they are stuck with their Norwegian tactician.
Pep Guardiola on the other side of the City has been leading his team from strength to strength. Despite some slumps, they sit within a very touchable distance from the top. They have also beaten the team at the top to show that they are prime candidates. They can retain their title. Their loss to Crystal Palace last week was their only blip since the first matchday in which they lost to Spurs.
Man U started in their new-found 3 at the back formation with Eric Bailly as the third defender. No Cavani meant Ronaldo at Center-forward with Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood flanking him. Guardiola dropped Jack Grealish cos he wanted the left-footed Phil Foden on the left.
Manchester City pinned their neighbors Manchester United from the first minute. Bernado Silva hoisted a shot over the bar in the early minute. Harry Maguire headed over from a setpiece opportunity a minute later. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo whipped in two dangerous crosses and Eric Bailly turned in the Cancelo cross in the seventh minute. An own-goal is not the start OGS wanted. Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City.
Manchester United had no idea how to escape the City press. It was too easy for Pep Guardiola’s side. The United backline was a flat five, and it was obvious they were scared to engage City. When they did manage to push up and engage, Cristiano Ronaldo had a shot saved by Ederson in the 25th minute. City returned fire with Phil Foden finding space between Aaron Wan-Bissaka before squaring it for Kevin De Bruyne whose sweep was blocked into the path of Gabriel Jesus. David De Gea saved the shot from Jesus. The Spaniard then had to save from a Cancelo long-range shot.
City found a 2v1 vs AWB, and Foden pierced a cross into the box. Victor Lindelof nearly turned it in. De Gea saved again. He had to be on hand to stop another fierce drive from the right. It was one of those days. City were moving United like pawns, and a rasping move saw Cancelo swing in a deadly inverted cross that Bernardo Silva turned in. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw sleeping at the back. Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City. Halftime.
OGS switched back to a back 4 with Jadon Sancho replacing Eric Bailly. Maybe he’ll realize it’s the system and not the formation. Not much happened in the second half until Ilkay Gundogan nearly steered Foden’s cross into the net. City led by two and were comfortable enough to control the game. Luke Shaw went down under a head injury after a clash with Rodri. He showed incredible bravery to continue. Marcus Rashford replaced the anonymous Mason Greenwood. He added thrust, but Manchester City continued to dominate. On 75, KDB skewed a shot wide from a narrow angle.
City were allowing United to push up. They dropped their 442 pressing block several meters back enticing the red devils to push forward. OGS finally brought on Donny Van de Beek for Scott McTominay in the last ten minutes. His first deed was to give the ball away and stray out of position trying to get it back. City walked through them, but Foden was unable to find that insurance third goal. Not that they needed it as they were thoroughly nullifying United. United’s play was flaccid. By the 85th minute, they did not have a touch in City’s box.
From a setpiece, John Stones flashed a left-footed snapshot that brushed the side netting. Just like Gundogan moments earlier. Same cities, different galaxies Peter Drury announced as Michael Oliver blew the final result. He was right. City dominated, controlled, and defeated Man U at Old Trafford. Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City.
No clean sheet for United in 14 home games across all competitions. Their last home win came against Newcastle on September 11. Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut. Ole’s at the wheel.