Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: Mourinho’s selection errors, lackluster Pogba and other talking points

Manchester City managed to come out on top thanks to two early first-half goals even as Manchester United pushed for goals in the second half.

Arguably the match of the game-week, it was billed as the clash of two footballing giants in Manchester as well as managerial giants Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Never before in the recent past had the derby had such quality of managers and players on display.

City got off to a romping start putting two behind David De Gea before a mistake by debutante Claudio Bravo handed Manchester United a lifeline. The Red Devils pushed hard for goals in the second half but could not manage one as Guardiola nicked one over Jose in the first of many derbies to come.

1. Selection errors from Jose Mourinho might have cost United the game

Many expected Rashford to start but Jose Mourinho shocked the fans by choosing to start with Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the wings. Both looked out of place and a long way from full fitness. The duo had problems with the simplest of tasks, losing the ball on many occasions.

The effect Rashford had since coming on at half-time impressed Mourinho, with the manager even going on to say that while the occasion seemed to have gotten to the other players, the academy ace played like he was playing an U-18 match. The teeanger’s impact since coming on would surely make the Portuguese look back in regret over his choice to go with Lingard and Mkhitaryan. One might wonder how things would have turned out if he had been given the whole 90 instead of 45.

2. A cold debut by the Chilean

A debut to forget for Bravo. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
A debut to forget for Bravo. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Much was talked about the transition of City into a Guardiola team and the importance of a sweeper-keeper, a role that Joe Hart failed to fulfill. Even though Bravo showed his range of passing, the Chilean’s performance is likely to leave City fans wondering why Joe Hart was sent out in the first place. Even the commentators lamented the fact that flashy passing is all good but a goalkeeper must be strong in performing his basic duties as a guardian of the goal, something which Bravo failed to show at Old Trafford.

3. Iheanacho and Rashford look set for a glittering future

In a match with an array of superstars on display, it was Iheanacho who grabbed the eyes of the crowd as he scored City’s second on a rebound from close range. In general, he looked threatening before being taken off for Fernando as Guardiola aimed to protect the lead.

On the other hand, Rashford did not start but dazzled in the second half for United. He could have also scored had his goal not been disallowed for the intervening Zlatan, who was adjudged to be offside and blocking the goalkeeper’s view.

4. Pogba disappoints in his first Manchester derby

The stage was set for Paul Pogba to shine in his first Manchester derby but the world’s most expensive signing failed to deliver the goods, and his performance was filled with mistakes and glaring errors. The French superstar would be heavily disappointed with himself as his performance did take centre-stage in the match, albeit for all the wrong reasons and the player was blasted on social media by the fans for his lackluster display.

5. Billed as title contenders, both teams look the part

Even though some might argue with this point to an extent as City gave United a lesson in terms of passing, movement and fluidity but one has to just glance an eye towards the second half where an attacking United held majority of the possession while Guardiola was forced to play a counter-attacking style.

City have the upper-hand and their playing style looks fantastic, something which the new United were not seemingly ready for just yet. But, one bad game does not discredit the work done by Jose Mourinho which was evident even in this game as United did not give in and rather pushed City to the limit. If this derby was an indication of things to come in the future, one can expect further fireworks when the teams do meet the next time.

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