Manchester United held onto a massive derby day win after blowing Manchester City away in the first half.

The Red Devils handed out a hammer blow to Pep Guardiola’s season with the 2-1 victory.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were devastating on the counter-attack and equally resolute in defence to thwart the defending champions.

Here are five players that were key to United’s win at the Etihad Stadium.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

He might not cross the ball or pass like Trent Alexander-Arnold, but Wan-Bissaka is the ultimate defender.

He makes wingers scared to take him on, Raheem Sterling didn’t get anything out of Wan-Bissaka, he always finds a way to get a foot on the ball.

The amount of slide tackles Wan-Bissaka makes in a game is ridiculous, but it is his success rate, which is so impressive, he never mistimes a challenge.

Wan-Bissaka registered 7 clearances, won 5 tackles, blocked 4 crosses and 3 shots, he also made 2 interceptions. He did all this making 1 foul.

Sterling didn’t have a shot on target, that was all down to Wan-Bissaka’s performance.

His attacking output and threat is only going to improve, but it is difficult to find a better one v one defender in world football right now.


(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

This man is just getting better and better, he has kept working hard and now he is reaping the rewards and getting the credit he deserves.

The Brazilian midfielder was everywhere against City, it was the type of performance that vindicated the £47 million price tag United forked out on him.

Fred’s performances alongside Scott McTominay continue to reach new dizzy heights. Yes Solskjaer needs more strength in depth in midfield, but Fred is repaying the faith his manager has placed in him.

Deployed as a holding midfielder, Fred showcased his ability to get forward and create goalscoring chances too.

One of the most pleasing sights in Fred’s recent displays is his ability to distribute the ball quickly and with purpose.

He is breaking the lines and getting the ball out to flair players quicker, he is taking risks instead of playing it safe and that’s what playing for Manchester United is all about.

Not even coins, missles and racist abuse from the City fans could deter Fred. He completed 4/4 take-ons, no player completed more on the pitch.

Fred is flourishing, confidence is sky high and he has become a key part of Solskjaer’s team.

Dan James

(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The Welshman was at his devastating best and he made Angelino look like he was running in treacle at times.


United’s first half performance highlighted the direction Solskjaer wants to take this talented crop of players.

It’s wins like this that show why the Norwegian was willing to let Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku both leave in the summer.

James created four chances against City, no player created more on the pitch, his importance to this United continues to grow.

It wasn’t just his attacking threat which impressed, James’ work rate and desire to fight for his team was shown in his defensive output. He was so important as an out ball in the closing stages.

He registered 8 ball recoveries, won 4 tackles, blocked 2 crosses and made one interception.

Marcus Rashford

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images )

United’s number 10 is relishing carrying the torch of this new look young team, he took his tally to 13 goals for the season.

He has already equalled his best goalscoring season in a United shirt, he is going to blow that total out of the water if he maintains his rich vein of form.

It was yet another big-match performance from Rashford, he is petrifying defences.

The penalty he won is due to the panic he brings to the opposition, when he is running at players with pace, power and purpose, he forces players to recklessly dive in.

He would have been disappointed not to add to his tally after Fred played him through on goal and he hit the bar.

It is the volume of shots on goal, which is the most pleasing thing watching Rashford, he is finding a way to influence matches on a regular basis.

Anthony Martial

(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

After being ruled out of the Tottenham game due to injury, it was a surprise to see Martial recover so quickly especially considering how long it took him to recover from his injury earlier in the season.

Mason Greenwood impressed against Spurs, but recalling Martial to the starting line-up was a decision that paid off for Solskjaer.

If the Frenchman is zoned in and up for it, he can rip teams apart, he can be frustrating and lethargic at times, but he has immense talent and Solskjaer knows that.

Martial manhandled John Stones and Fernandinho, every time the ball was played into the former Monaco man it stuck.

One of the 24-year-old’s best traits is his clinical finishing and his left-foot strike arrowed past Ederson and doubled United’s lead.

United’s number 9 will know that Greenwood is breathing down his neck wanting more opportunities, but if Martial continues to perform like that he will continue to be in control of the forward position.

United fans will want consistency from Martial, hopefully with games to come against teams in the bottom half of the table, he can prove to be the difference.

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