Five things we learned from Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United

Manchester City did the Premier League double over their fierce rivals Manchester United with a 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Here are five things we learned from the second Manchester derby of the season…

Sancho shines at the Etihad

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Jadon Sancho had never played at the Etihad prior to today’s clash, but it didn’t take the youngster long to show his qualities on the pitch, in his first start against Manchester City.

The 21-year-old missed the two quarter-final legs against his former club in the Champions League last season, and was on the bench in the first derby of the campaign back in November.

But when Paul Pogba played the England international in on the left-hand side in the 22nd minute, the former Borussia Dortmund man drifted inside and unleashed a pinpoint curling effort into the bottom corner.

Despite not making a senior appearance for the Citizens, United’s number 25 celebration was fairly mooted as a clear sign of respect for his time with Pep Guardiola’s side.

Penny for Marcus Rashford’s thoughts

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United started the calendar year with the likes of Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as our striker options.

But for various reasons all four of those players weren’t available for the trip to our noisy neighbours.

That left Marcus Rashford as our only recognised striker in the squad for the clash against the league leaders.

But interim boss Ralf Rangnick decided to leave the England international on the bench and play with a false number nine.

It’s been a difficult and inconsistent season for United’s number 10 and today’s omission may be a blow to his seemingly already fragile confidence.

Rashford did come in the 64th minute, but he cut an out of sorts and frustrated figure.

Top four hopes take a hammer blow

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

United started the game against City outside of the Champions League places following Arsenal’s 3-2 win at Watford.

At the end of play today, the Red Devils are a point behind the fourth placed Gunners who have three games in hand to build a gap to Rangnick’s men.

United host a Tottenham side next who also have three games in hand on us.

Raphael Varane a huge miss

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

The absences of Ronaldo, Cavani and Luke Shaw were big blows for Rangnick, but being without Raphael Varane hit United the hardest.

On a day where United needed cool heads and leaders to stand up and guide the rest of the team, Varane was nowhere to be seen in the heart of our defence.

The World Cup winner, who was missing after testing positive for Covid-19 like Shaw, has missed both of the games against City this season.

If Varane were available then Rangnick would have to have made the decision of whether to leave the club’s captain Harry Maguire out of the starting line-up for successive games.

Gulf in class

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

United were able to go toe-to-toe with City in the first half, but the second 45 showed the size of the job our next permanent manager faces.

We couldn’t lay a glove on City in the second half and Guardiola’s side completely killed the game off similar to how they did at the Theatre of Dreams.

United looked beaten and seemed at a loss of how to get the ball back – we had the life sucked out of us.

That’s the level and standard we have to aspire to get to. Manchester City made us look ordinary and unfortunately that’s where we are as a football club currently.

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