The Premier League action was back with one biggest fixture in club football. It was the time for the Manchester Derby. It was the 188th Manchester Derby. The Citizens were hosting their noisy neighbors The Reds Devils.
Coming into this derby both teams were enjoying a winning run in the premier league. Manchester City came into this game defeating Dortmund, Sevilla, and Wolves. At the same time, Manchester United experienced a winning streak. They had 4 wins back to back. Manchester United’s latest win was against table toppers Arsenal, where they defeated the Gunners easily.
The excitement was building up and as teams were announced, a surprise was on cards. Manchester City star midfielder Rodri was ruled out of the game owing to some fitness issues. The derby started and it turned out to be completely disastrous for Manchester United.
At the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 thanks to hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden. United scored three, which is really only a consolation prize thanks to Antony and Anthony Martial, who scored a brace off the bench.
As a consequence, the Red Devils are now mired in seventh place while their local rivals have risen to second place, only one point behind league leaders Arsenal. Here are a few takeaways points from this 188th Manchester Derby clash.
Takeaway Points from the Manchester Derby clash
1. Shambolic 1st Half Display from Manchester United
The game started with sloppy play from Manchester United all around the park. The Red Devils weren’t sharp enough. They couldn’t find a way to resist the high-pressure game from Manchester City. The Red Devils looked disorganized and succumbed to high pressure from the Citizens.
The first half was full of turnovers and careless handling of the ball, blunders that City was only too eager to take advantage of. United struggled to leave their own half before giving in to the opposition’s relentless assault, which held them there for most of the first 45 minutes. Ten Hag’s team struggled to create any clear-cut scoring opportunities and was limited in their offensive incursions into City territory.
Manchester United was totally outclassed in every department on the field in that first half. It took Manchester City just 8 minutes to score their first and their academy boy Phil Foden was one to break the deadlock. Then it was time for some Haaland magic before Foden could pile on the misery for the Red Devils. The score line at halftime was 4 nil to City.
2. The Midfield Mess
As the team sheet was announced Manchester United was going in with the same playing XI as of last month. Which meant Eriksen and Scot Mctominay were starting alongside Bruno in 4-2-3-1. But unfortunately, Scot Mctominay had a horrendous game in a United jersey. The decision to leave Casemiro was questionable but now after this result, it is certain that Manchester United can’t afford Casemiro warming the bench.
Mctominay in midfield was sloppy and was losing out the ball on many occasions. United completely lost the midfield battle with De Bruyne waltzing through the game in third gear and no one even getting anywhere near Bernardo Silva. Thus Erik Ten Hag completely lost the plot in the midfield which eventually caused a humiliating defeat to their rival Citizens.
3. Mr. Inevitable
This being a Manchester Derby with immense pressure and drama hasn’t unfazed Erling Haaland. After Foden got them underway it was almost certain that Norwegian would surely score the only question on the time. It was the 34th Minute and a thunderous header from a cross from Cancelo led to Erling Haaland’s 1st goal in the derby. It took Norwegian just 3 minutes from it to score his second goal. This time it was Kevin De Bruyne’s excellent pass that led to Haaland’s second goal wherein Haaland just had to tap the ball past David De Gea. Haaland has scored 14 goals in 8 premier league games.
4. Hat-trick heroes
Erling Haaland has lived by the motto “records are for breaking, record books are for tearing up” ever since entering English football. He scored a hat-trick against United for the third straight Premier League home game, becoming only the third player in City history to do so. Along with his hat trick, Haaland also assisted Phil Foden in scoring goals. He was an assists provider in 2 out of 3 Phil Foden’s goals on the night.
Phil Foden, a Manchester City player, was the second hat trick hero. A genuinely exquisite curled finish past David De Gea in the second half gave the local player his first-ever senior hat-trick. On a fantastic day for the blue side of Manchester, Foden was outstanding the whole time as he and Haaland split goal-scoring responsibilities.
5. Match Made in Heaven: Haaland and KDB
It was again on display that the duo of Erling Haaland and Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne is like a match made in heaven. Kevin De Bruyne was unstoppable tonight in the Manchester derby. KDB was running the show for Citizens. He was instrumental in all the goals scored by Manchester City tonight.
Haaland and KDB combined for three goals on the night. Two of which were scored by Haaland and one by Foden to which Manchester United had no response. On the field, De Bruyne and Haaland communicated and understood each other like telepaths.
De Bruyne and Haaland have created an almost frighteningly brilliant relationship in such a short period of time. As they will play more games together, their chemistry will only become stronger, which will worry Manchester City’s rivals.
6. The Only Bright Spot in Dark Sky for Manchester United
Owing to a humiliating 6-3 defeat it looks like Manchester United’s coaching staff has to go back to the drawing room. They will have to plan things much better. They will need to respond as they did after losing to Brentford just a month ago. The counter-attacking tactics which did wonders for them so far backfired big time.
But as they say, look for a bright spot in pitch darkness as a ray of hope. For the Red Devils that ray of hope was Antony and Anthony. The Brazilian scored a wonderful goal to open United’s account in the second half. Antony’s goal opened up the game for a brief moment of time and sparked some new life in the Red Devils. It was much needed otherwise the result could have been much worse. Antony looks pretty good and the Brazilian can turn out to be a future superstar at Old Trafford.
Before it would be complete humiliation on the day. The Frenchmen Anthony Martial coming off the bench salvaged a few late goals making the misery a bit less. Martial came on after a long injury layoff and looked sharper and better than other attackers. Martial in 30 minutes ran out he got in an intense high-pressure game and looked good. Now United will have to build upon this and get the best out of him in games to come.