Five things learned as Manchester United lose 3-1 to City

This was a very different type of Manchester derby to the one in December.

United were beaten 3-1 at home by City and it wasn’t pleasant viewing, especially in the first half.

Here is a look at five things we learned from the game…

Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Game was over before it began and tactics wrong

From the moment the team was announced, it was clear United could be in for a long night. Seeing Phil Jones’ name in the starting line-up tends to do that.

There was no Anthony Martial either, and injuries have ravaged the midfield, which in the first half was too easily bypassed by City.

Even so, it looked like Solskjaer got his tactics wrong, with the midfield too open.

Nemanja Matic’s half-time substitution on was an admission that the open approach was wrong with the ineffective Jesse Lingard taken off.

If only Matic had started the game, this result might have been so different.

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Full-backs held their own

United’s defence was cut apart too easily, but the full-backs should not be embarrassed by their performances.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka managed to limit Raheem Sterling’s effectiveness, again, while Brandon Williams put in a hard working display at left-back..

With Luke Shaw in there, the scoreline could have been even worse.

They both deserves credit for the way they kept going in the second half, and in a match where there were nearly no positives to take, this was a marginal one.

Mason Greenwood’s first assist for United and Marcus Rashford’s 17th goal of the season gave brief reason to smile.

Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

2020 form a worry and Ole under pressure

This is now three games in 2020 without a win, and it took until our sixth half of football in January to score a goal. It’s time to be worried.

Next up is Norwich City at home, and on current form, we will make hard work of that.

Then there are trips to Liverpool and then City away. It is time to really be worried.

This defeat is one of the lowest points under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as manager, and he faces a huge task to turn it around.

Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

One chance of a trophy slipping away

There are still 90 minutes of this tie to go at The Etihad, and Marcus Rashford’s goal gave us hope.

Remember the 2-0 defeat to PSG? United can still turn this around, even though it’s a tall order. But we don’t have too much hope of a big second leg win away from home.

This was not how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have wanted this chance of getting to Wembley to pan out. Only two chances of silverware now remain after this.

We have to get past Wolves at home in the FA Cup, and then possibly go away to Watford again, where we lost in December, assuming they beat Tranmere in their replay.

There are still 31 other teams remaining in the Europa League including the likes of Ajax and Inter Milan, and on this evidence, United are not good enough to win the competition.

Once hope of a trophy goes, the fanbase grows more agitated. United need a miracle to get to Wembley now.

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Woodward must take responsibility

There is only so much blame which can be put at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s door for the performance and the team selection.

This defeat is on the owners and the club’s awful chief executive Ed Woodward.

The string of injuries in defence has been unlucky, with Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire all out injured.

In midfield our limitations are down to poor squad building. Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are injured, and the remaining midfield is completely sub-standard.

For Jesse Lingard to be first choice in 2020 is unacceptable. He clearly is not good enough.

United need two or three midfield additions to start improving this team. Most of all, the club need a new chief executive.

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