Manchester United lost 2-0 to Manchester City at Old Trafford in the derby, in what was a dominant performance by the visitors.
The reigning Premier League champions took the lead in the seventh minute after Eric Bailly inadvertently deflected a Joao Cancelo cross past a stricken David de Gea.
Pep Guardiola’s side doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time after a Bernardo Silva effort squirmed through the grasp of de Gea.
The closest United came to scoring was through a left-footed Cristiano Ronaldo volley that Ederson parried out, but Mason Greenwood couldn’t react fast enough to tap the ball home.
Here are five things we learned from another difficult day at Old Trafford…
Good and bad of de Gea
Manchester City were rampant at the Theatre of Dreams and if it wasn’t for de Gea, United could have gone in at half-time 5-0 down.
Following some appalling defending from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, which allowed Phil Foden to ghost down United’s right-hand side, de Gea saved superbly to deny Gabriel Jesus, straight after after blocking Kevin de Bruyne’s effort.
After Bailly had already put the ball past his goalkeeper, Victor Lindelof nearly matched his centre back partner, but de Gea got down smartly to kick the ball to safety.
United’s number one then repelled a de Bruyne effort which was arrowing into the bottom corner before tipping a Cancelo effort over the bar.
But on the cusp of half-time with Solskjaer hoping to get his players in only one goal down, de Gea let the weakest effort of the game slip through him.
It was a clear lack of concentration at a crucial time which changed the complexion of the game.
No Varane, no defence
The lack of organisation and leadership within United’s backline was scary to witness.
Without Raphael Varane, the likes of Lindelof, Bailly and Harry Maguire don’t have the same presence or authority to lead United’s defence.
They all looked lost without having the World Cup winner alongside them and that’s extremely worrying, especially considering the injury issues Varane has sustained since coming to Manchester.
United’s other centre backs need to step up to the challenge and fast.
Gulf in class
There is a clear identity and style behind Guardiola’s teams, but you cannot say the same about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United.
There were times when United couldn’t lay a glove on City, it looked like we were torn between pressing or sitting back.
When City stepped up the intensity, United were hanging on by a thread, it was difficult viewing.
Cavani massive miss
Following last weekend’s clinical performance against a sorry Tottenham side, Solskjaer looked to have stumbled upon a formation which could allow Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani to play upfront together.
But following an issue he picked up in Atalanta, the Uruguayan’s absence against City was a hammer blow.
With Solskjaer again starting with a 3-5-2 formation, if Cavani was fit, he would have probably started alongside Ronaldo once again.
The 34-year-old was a massive miss for United and Mason Greenwood struggled to impose himself on the game, in the same way United’s number 21 would, when playing up front.
Having Cavani up front gives United the ability to try and press opposition defences and his movement in the penalty area is deadly.
Guardiola would have been delighted to see Cavani miss out because he knows the goalscoring threat El Matador brings. United had no potency without him.
Pressure will inevitably build on Solskjaer
Following the embarrassing manner of the 5-0 loss to Liverpool, Solskjaer needed a response against United’s other fiercest rivals.
But that didn’t materialise, Gary Neville described United’s performance towards the end of the game like a ‘drunk man trying to win a fight at the end of a night out’.
It was another chastening afternoon for Solskjaer’s men which will inevitably bring some question marks about where the club is heading under the Norwegian.
A win for Chelsea this afternoon will leave United 11 points behind the league leaders after just 11 Premier League games.
It’s increasingly becoming a sorry state of affairs at Old Trafford and the question is how can Solskjaer possibly turn it around. Luckily for him, City stepped off the gas and didn’t go for the jugular like Liverpool did.
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