Manchester United delivered a complete team performance in a memorable 2-0 home win over City.
From the front to the backline, United had to dig deep and City gave it their all too. On the day we were the better side, and there were a fair few impressive individual performances too.
Narrowing the number of best players on the day down to three was impossible, so we have gone with five. Even then there were strong contributors who didn’t make the cut.
This was one of Anthony Martial’s most complete performances in a United shirt.
He scored an instinctive goal, pouncing on Bruno Fernandes’ impressive free-kick pass, to strike the ball low past Ederson.
The City goalkeeper will feel he should have saved it, but Martial’s speed of thought and control, keeping the ball low, made it difficult to get down to save quickly.
Martial also helped out defensively, working hard at corners to make clearances with his head.
He might have made it easier, had he looked up to pass to Fernandes in the first half, or closed Ederson down leading with his right foot instead of his left when the goalkeeper lost possession early in the second half.
Ultimately his man-of-the-match award was deserved and now he is up to 16 goals for the season.
It’s tough to find new superlatives for Bruno Fernandes and the instant impact he has had on Manchester United.
Fernandes has lifted the players around him, and United are entering every game believing three points are their. It should always be this way, but in the first half of the season it wasn’t.
He created three chances in the win, more than any player on the pitch, and had three interceptions as he worked hard to put City under pressure when out of possession.
Fred was incredibly unlucky to be booked for a dive in the first half when he was clearly fouled inside the box and denied a penalty.
This made the rest of the game a disciplinary tightrope for him and he handled it very well.
He has grown in confidence in possession in recent weeks and even right at the end it was his probing pass which was cut out, then leading to Ederson’s mistake for United’s second goal.
The Brazilian had 56 touches in total, more than any United player in midfield or attack.
United look so much stronger defensively when Nemanja Matic is in the team, he sniffs out danger so alertly.
City did not have an answer for him, just like in the previous cup game at The Etihad.
In fact add in the 45 minutes he played in the cup semi-final first leg, and United have won the last 235 minutes against City by a combined score of 4-0.
He matched Fernanes with three interceptions and made two important headed clearances too. Give the man a new contract.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka may still be developing his attacking qualities, but in defence he is already elite. On balance we’ll take that.
He won eight tackles against City and made three interceptions, and kept Raheem Sterling quiet once again.
When United have five defenders and Matic in front of the defence, its’ really hard to break the team down.
Wan-Bissaka’s side becomes a near no-go zone for attackers. It’s great to see.
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