A rainy night in Manchester ensured that the city remained red as Manchester United bossed Manchester City in a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.
The brilliance shown by Bruno Fernandes from a free-kick ensured that Anthony Martial buried a clever goal to make it 1-0. The Theatre of Dreams had to wait until well past added time to see Ederson’s flawed clearance find its way to Scott McTominay who thumped it into a goal, winning the game 2-0.
1. Numbers of Dominance
This was Manchester United’s first league double over their noisy neighbors in over a decade, outlining how things are changing, and what better game to do it than during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 50th Premier League game in charge of the side. Further still, this victory was the first time since 2015 that the Red Devils managed all three points from City at Old Trafford, breaking the cycle of dominance that the Sky Blues held for quite a while.
The consistency is also out there as United are now unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions. They are now lodged in the top five and certainly look to make the run for the spots above them as the table dynamics keep getting interesting. Tottenham next.
2. Ederson’s Follies
You wouldn’t want to be Ederson Moraes on this night. The Brazilian goalkeeper made multiple expensive mistakes throughout the game.
Firstly, the keeper could have so much more to save Martial’s shot, effectively gifting the Red Devils their opener. To make matters worse, the start of the second half didn’t bring respite as he lost sight of the ball during clearance and was nearly punished by Martial again, although a rushed tackle was made.
However, in an apt testament to the night’s follies, Ederson failed to clear the ball cleanly well past added time in the end and was past his line at the time, permitting Scott McTominay to net an absolute wonder-goal and cement United’s win. To his credit, however, that last error was merely him trying to spur the game forward and the backline ought to have done more.
3. 4 Wins out of 5
As much as losing a Manchester derby will sting, this defeat is not too bad a way for the Sky Blues to end their home-sickness. They have been on the road for the last 5 games in all competitions now, and the results have been quite impressive.
This Old Trafford fixture was the only one they lost, with a vital 1-0 win over Leicester City, an outstanding 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, a title-lifting 2-1 affair at Wembley against Aston Villa, and potentially setting the groundwork for another title with a slim 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.
However, the week ahead is busy with two home encounters against Arsenal and Burnley respectively in the Premier League. In light of this defeat and the fact that Liverpool don’t next play at Anfield until the 21st, defeats for City in those two games would grant the Merseyside club the Premier League title in the next match week itself.
4. Fernades-Martial Pairing
All that social media banter has resulted in something after all. As simple as the two may have made the goal look, it was a piece of absolute intelligence.
It certainly looked that Fred would be the one to take the set-piece once the whistle was blown but Fernandes was quick to notice Martial and swiftly passed it to him. The Frenchman’s eventual shot did have Ederson’s incompetence to thank for, but nevertheless it was an exceptional goal.
This was Martial’s 16th goal in all competitions so far this campaign, well en route the 20 mark that Ole Gunnar Solskhaer has set out for him. Further still, Martial is the first United player since Cristiano Ronaldo to have scored against City both at home and away in the same Premier League season. Not bad company to keep.
5. Aaron Wan-Bissaka: What. A. Game
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, after quite a few games where he simply wasn’t at his best, engineered a comeback to form on the perfect occasion.
His 8 tackles were crisp and vital, denying the City players any chance at getting into the box. His influence was also an all-round one, as his forward presence often gifted United with a marvelous chance at goal, although none could be made the best out of.
In fact, this was the second time that Raheem Sterling was pocketed by him this season as the latter’s horrid start to 2020 keeps getting worse. It will be interesting to see how both their Euro 2020 hopes will be affected by such showings.
As for Wan-Bissaka, performances like these are precisely why he was purchased for that fee and United supporters will be hungry for more.