Every Manchester United player put in a strong performance in the 2-0 derby victory over Manchester City.
It’s hard to single out individuals but Aaron Wan-Bissaka, not for the first time this season, pocketed Raheem Sterling, playing at right wing back.
The uncapped Englishman’s performance drew plenty of praise from pundits, and a fellow Red also got in on the act.
Hargreaves leads the plaudits
Owen Hargreaves, who played for United and City, told Premier League Productions how impressed he was with the way Wan-Bissaka shut Sterling down.
He said: “I just felt that, as much as City dominated possession, United were in complete control of the game. Individually, Wan-Bissaka against Raheem Sterling, he didn’t get a kick.”
Meanwhile, Harry Maguire didn’t even need words to describe his defensive colleague’s display on Twitter.
Wan-Bissaka also drew Twitter praise from Jim Beglin, formerly of United’s bitterest rivals Liverpool.
That was for the way he kept Sterling quiet both yesterday and in the 2-1 victory at the Etihad back in December.
BBC pundits bowled over
Garth Crooks named Wan-Bissaka in his BBC team of the week, offering him some high praise by way of justification.
He said: “I have to say Wan-Bissaka came out on top on this occasion and I suspect Raheem Sterling won’t like it.
“This was no ordinary contest, this has become personal. It makes for great viewing. In the end Sterling went up front and Benjamin Mendy tried to use his pace and power – but to no avail.
“This lad is one of the best timers of a tackle I have seen in years.”
On Match of the Day 2, 10:45pm, 08/03, Jermaine Jenas was similarly glowing: “The 1v1 battle between him and Sterling was something I was really looking forward to and Wan-Bissaka came out on top.
“It was a difficult afternoon for Sterling, especially in the first half. Wan-Bissaka’s body shape is telling Sterling where he wants him to go. He’s dictating this movement.
“He’s got that reach of his legs, he must be so annoying to play against because he doesn’t give you a second to breathe. His legs are everywhere.”
The improvement continues
United knew they were signing a strong individual defender in the summer and that’s something Wan-Bissaka has brought to Old Trafford.
But he has also added attacking flair to his game now, and continued that improvement here also.
He’s improving all the time and his role yesterday was about keeping one of the league’s best wingers quiet – which he did – as well as bursting forward and freeing Daniel James when he could.
It was an exceptional performance and England manager Gareth Southgate was in the crowd to watch it.
- David Brooks would be a smart Sancho alternative for Manchester United this summer
- If Manchester United have ruled out permanent Ighalo move, they must focus on Dembele
- Manchester United could see reported target Nuno Mendes as a winger in the long term
- Ethan Galbraith must impress on loan to jump ahead of Levitt and Garner at Manchester United
- Teden Mengi deserves to replace Phil Jones in Manchester United squad