Before the Manchester derby we noted that this was a game where United desperately needed Raphael Varane to step up.
In previous derby games, Varane had failed to complete all 90 minutes, or not been available. This time he delivered.
United shackled Erling Haaland, even with Luke Shaw selected to play at centre-back, and Varane was simply outstanding.
The former Real Madrid star helped United look steady in defence, even if the team conceded a first home goal in the Premier League since September.
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Raphael Varane stars for United
Varane has been superb this season, showing the form he displayed at Real Madrid. Against City he completed 25 of 28 passes, while making five defensive clearances, and blocking one shot.
Following the game Varane posted a message on Instagram, declaring ‘Manchester is Red’, with teammates Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes responding.
France teammate Benjamin Pavard also responded, with two ‘fire emojis’, hailing Varane’s display.
Pavard plays for Bayern Munich, and in the summer, L’Equipe reported he was open to exploring a move away from the club, with Manchester United a possibility.
It’s still possible United look for another right-back at the end of the season, despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s excellent display in the derby, and Dalot’s form this season.
If attention did turn Pavard’s way, he can only have been encouraged by what he saw of United in the derby. It is clear Erik ten Hag is building something special, and players should be queuing up to be a part of it.