Five things we learned as Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-1

Manchester United produced a phenomenal display to beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

A Marcus Rashford penalty was quickly followed by an Anthony Martial goal in the first half as United’s blistering counter attack shell-shocked the hosts.

Nicolás Otamendi reduced the deficit in the closing stages with a header off a corner, but United held on for a massive three points.

After the disappointing draw against Aston Villa, the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have now responded with massive back-to-back wins against Tottenham and the now City.

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

Marcus Rashford’s run shows no sign of stopping

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Kyle Walker didn’t know what to do when Rashford got the ball, he was petrified.

United’s main man could have had a hat-trick in the first half as the Red Devils carved City in half on a number of occasions.

It was Rashford’s driving run into the box, which forced Bernardo Silva into a reckless challenge.

Rashford dusted himself down and calmly slotted home to send Ederson the wrong way and give United the lead.

He was then played in by Fred, but his first time effort was scuffed wide before leaving Ederson rooted to the spot with an instinctive effort which struck the top of the bar.

In six matches against Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea (two), City this season, Rashford has scored seven goals and provided one assist. He is proving to be the ultimate big match player.

Back in the top four race

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United’s win against City moved us up to fifth and 5 points behind 4th place Chelsea, who lost earlier today for a second week in a row.

With our next four league games coming against Everton, Watford, Burnley and Newcastle United, we have a chance to close that gap further.

It is clear that Solskjaer’s team relish playing the big matches, but if we can produce the same performances against the smaller sides we could go on a long winning run.

The confidence and belief the wins against Spurs and City will bring to the club, Solskjaer and the players will be massive.

Wan-Bissaka relishes Sterling battle

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If there was ever a game that the additions of Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire showed how much they have improved United’s defence, it was the Manchester Derby.

Wan-Bissaka was coming up against one of the best players in the Premier League in Raheem Sterling, and the right-back rose to the challenge.

The former Crystal Palace man has definitely benefitted from training with a tricky Wilfred Zaha day in, day out, Wan-Bissaka just loves to defend.

Sterling was sick of the sight of Wan-Bissaka by the end, he is used to breezing past defenders, he ended up drifting off the left-hand side just to get away from United’s full-back.

He has plenty of time to improve his decision making with the ball at his feet, but he is one of the best one v one defenders around.

Best team minus Pogba

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Solskjaer made two changes to the team that beat Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, Martial and Shaw came in for Young and Greenwood.

It was Shaw’s first start since August, it was a gamble from Solskjaer and it was tough on Brandon Williams, who has been dropped for the big six clashes.

The Norwegian was bold with his selection and went with Jesse Lingard behind Rashford, James and Martial.

United’s best 11 is certainly starting to take shape and you could arguably say apart from Paul Pogba, Solskjaer had his best team on the starting against his fierce rivals.

When the Frenchman does return, he will probably be deployed in the number 10 role with Scott McTominay and Fred continuing to flourish as a pivot pairing.

Devastating counter attack

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

United blew City away in the first half with our rampant, relentless and scintillating counter attack threat.

Lingard was finding the pockets of spaces to give himself the time on the ball to unleash our pacey attacking trio.

We should have been clinical with our chances and punished City in the first half, but Pep Guardiola looked perplexed, he didn’t know how to combat the threat United brought.

When our forward line clicks, they are unplayable, and can carve open any team, they are that good.

They are young and naïve at times, and they are only going to get better together.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.