Sublime Manchester City thrashed a sorry Manchester United on derby day. A second-half mauling from Pep Guardiola ‘s men means they regain a 6 point lead at the top but Liverpool do still have a game in hand.
Competitive First Half But Sublime Manchester City Simply Too Good
United Work Hard
Ralf Rangnick’s tactics in the first half were very aggressive, with United playing on the front foot and playing in an extremely positive manner in transitions. Paul Pogba was efficient in an advanced role in the midfield and linked up well with Anthony Elanga on United’s right hand side. His precise ball opened up the play for Jadon Sancho and with an excellent finish against his former club, United were well in the game at 1-1.
This brave approach to the game has been unfamiliar in recent times when United have played at the Etihad. Particularly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the tactics were very conservative with United defending rigorously and catching City out on the break. This actually brought United success and produced memorable results for the club but Rangnick deployed a high line and his side were competitive in the first half but it was individual errors that proved to be costly and damaged any momentum the reds appeared to have seized.
Delightful De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding in the first half and opened the scoring with a good finish after some brilliant play from Bernardo Silva on the left hand side. City attacked that flank consistently all game and from his two goals, the most impressive part of De Bruyne’s performance was his ability to pick up holes in the midfield and exploit areas behind United’s midfield. This then allowed him to run at the backline and opened up spaces for him to pick out the right space. While United were competitive in the first half, City were exceptional in the second half and battered United. Rangnick’s men failed to get hold of the ball with City dominating possession and exerting immense pressure onto United. The reds have difficult fixtures coming up and while there were promising signs in the first half, the second half performance was abysmal.
It is safe to say United will almost need a miracle to finish into the top four. Rumors circulated in the past week suggesting Erik Ten Hag will be gifted the keys to the Old Trafford kingdom in the summer. If that is to be the case, he has an enormous job to do.
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