Goals from Ethan Galbraith and Facundo Pellistri gave Manchester United a first half lead against rivals City in Premier League 2 but the away side equalised in the second half. It ended 2-2.
United now sit sixth in their division while City move to the top of the table. A few individuals stood out against City despite the disappointment of a draw against ten men. City had Bernabe sent off after 35 minutes but coped with the change in gameplan better than United.
Will Fish leads inexperienced United backline against City
17-year-old Fish was left without regular centre-back partner Teden Mengi for a tough game against a talented City frontline. Liam Delap is a serious talent for the Blues but even in the absence of his more senior companion, Fish coped excellently.
He led the defence as he was joined first by Reece Devine, a left-back, and then Alvaro Fernandez, also a left-back. Fish’s reading of the game is developing very well. He was key at the back for United.
There has to be some credit given to Fernandez as well. The Spaniard has impressed at left-back, left-wing-back, right-back, centre-midfield and now also centre-back. At 17, his maturity and quality of performances is promising.
Ethan Galbraith controls the United midfield again
Scorer of United’s first goal, a penalty, Galbraith was, as always, the controller of the midfield for United. It’s the perfect game for a midfielder of his style. Galbraith can be a creative driver of the ball when needed but in situations like these, he’s a combative central player. He makes the hard tackles when needed, gets most of his passes right and in a tight game, that’s needed.
Ethan Laird impressing on return from injury for United U23s
Laird has only just returned from injury and is immediately reminding people why he is so well-regarded at United. His attacking quality is immense.
For United’s second goal, Laird patiently waited, looking for space, while his teammates played with it on the right flank. When he saw the space open up, he moved into it, received the pass, drove into the box and then the byline before crossing perfectly for Puigmal. It was all over in a couple of seconds but it was a moment of real quality from a full-back who consistently offers exactly that.
Laird also kept the ball in place tenaciously and it was that which allowed Hannibal Mejbri to win a penalty in the first half.
Injuries are and have always been the problem for Laird. Everyone at the club is hopeful he can build a sustained spell in the under-23s now. If he does, first team chances will come eventually. He’s an exciting player and a contrast to Wan-Bissaka’s natural defensiveness in the first team.
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