Paul Pogba impressed while Luke Shaw and John Stones were solid at the back as Manchester United and Manchester City played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Manchester United were the better of the two sides over the course of the game, but clear-cut chances came few and far between. For much of the first half, it looked like the hosts were likely to break the deadlock, although Manchester City also came close a couple of times.
Early in the second period, Manchester United thought they had won a penalty when Kyle Walker clipped Marcus Rashford inside the box. However, after a VAR check, it was revealed that Rashford was offside before he received the ball.
The game then meandered towards a goalless draw, as the openings dried out almost entirely towards the end of regulation time. With Manchester United and Manchester City sharing a point from the game, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
David de Gea: 7/10
There was not a lot that de Gea had to do in the game, with Manchester City hardly forcing him into action. However, one save with his right foot to deny Riyad Mahrez was crucial.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Much improved from the disastrous outing against RB Leipzig, but there’s room for improvement still. Did not have the best of times dealing with Raheem Sterling, but grew in that duel. Did very little going forward, but linked up well with Bruno Fernandes on one instance.
Victor Lindelof: 7.5/10
A solid presence at the heart of the Manchester United defence, his grown presence in the air was highlighted in the fact that he won each of his aerial duels (3/3). Came close to scoring a goal, and nearly set Scott McTominay up for one too.
Harry Maguire: 8/10
This was a game wherein Maguire made amends after the Leipzig horror show. While the Manchester United backline was disorganised on a couple of occasions, Maguire was solid on the whole and covered well for Luke Shaw on the odd instance. Made a couple of crucial blocks as well.
Luke Shaw: 8/10
Luke Shaw’s game by numbers vs. Man City:
83% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
4/5 tackles won
2/2 successful take-ons
2 chances created
Brilliant defensive display. ??? pic.twitter.com/xcChIpaxzq
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 12, 2020
Another Manchester United defender who improved a great deal against Manchester City. Shaw was largely solid up against Mahrez and later, Ferran Torres, winning 7 duels. His deliveries from corners carried a threat too and he could have grabbed a couple of assists on Saturday.
Back into the side, Fred was back to doing what he does best and did well to keep a lid on Kevin De Bruyne’s output. There were moments when the Manchester City talisman came out on top, but on the whole, Fred enjoyed a solid outing in the middle and showed some neat touches on the ball too.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
A surprise pick in the starting lineup after a week of some explosive comments by his circle, Pogba was purposeful in his display and played some delightful long passes that could have yielded an assist for him on another day. Put a shift in off the ball as well, winning 5 duels. Where is this Paul Pogba half the time?
Scott McTominay: 8/10
Much like Fred, McTominay was a colossal presence in the middle of the park against Manchester City. Came within whiskers of handing Manchester United an early lead. Most of his positive work came off the ball, especially in the second half, when City were shut out almost entirely.
Scott McTominay’s game by numbers vs. Man City:
88% pass accuracy
8 ball recoveries
3 fouls committed
3 tackles attempted
2 attempted take-ons
2 successful take-ons
2 tackles won
Another impressive big game showing. ? pic.twitter.com/E0VyHrGYDJ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 12, 2020
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
An off day for Bruno Fernandes, who might have been in business to score a penalty. Otherwise, bar a couple of instances of some nice interplay, the Portuguese international did not really carry a big threat in the final third. Still managed to thread in a couple of key passes, though.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
The Manchester United forwards endured a difficult evening and Greenwood was no different. The teenager did not see a lot of the ball in the first half and was strangely pinned to the right flank. Decision making can improve greatly and he ought to have linked up better with Marcus Rashford.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Like Greenwood, Rashford needed to link up better with his fellow forward and he was uncharacteristically selfish at times. Having said that, he was isolated for large parts of the game, with the ball barely reaching the Manchester City defensive third.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
On for the final 15 minutes, Martial was just as ineffective as Greenwood before him, although he did play 1 key pass late on.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
Much like de Gea on the opposite end, Ederson did not have a great deal to do, getting more work done with his feet than with the gloves. The Brazilian, though, was quite sloppy on a couple of occasions and on another day, he could have been punished for a botched clearance in the first half.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
Lucky to be bailed out by VAR after he clipped Rashford to concede a penalty that was ruled out for an offside call. Otherwise, the Englishman was hardly troubled but was not a reliable outlet going down the right flank.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
The difference-maker in the Manchester City defence this season, Dias was solid at the back yet again. Kept Rashford quiet for the most part, but did not have an imposing presence in the air. Hardly misplaced a pass.
John Stones: 8/10
⭐️ Man of the Match, @ManCity’s John Stones
Completed 84/87 passes
10 x possession gained
Won 2/3 duels
Man City have not conceded in his last 7 apps (5 starts) in all competitions pic.twitter.com/DFGewEY51u
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 12, 2020
Starting a third successive Premier League game, Stones was a rock at the back for Manchester City against Manchester United. Came up short in just one of his duels and lost possession a mere three times. Aymeric Laporte might have a difficult time getting his place in the side back.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
Starting ahead of Benjamin Mendy in the left-back spot, Cancelo was solid in dealing with the threat of Greenwood. Did not charge forward all that much, but did manage to string together a key pass.
With Paul Pogba taking the game to Manchester City, Rodri did not enjoy the best of evenings. The Spaniard struggled to dictate the tempo of the game and was overrun at times. A rare blip.
Much like Rodri, Fernandinho did not always grab the game by the scruff of its neck. The Brazilian hardly lost the ball but was not as solid a presence in the middle as Pep Guardiola would have liked.
Riyad Mahrez: 5/10
Apart from one chance that was saved easily by David de Gea, Mahrez struggled to get into the game and did not really get the best of Shaw. Apart from one fine pass to Gabriel Jesus, he did not really carry a great deal of threat.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
Manchester City’s orchestrator was their best player in the Manchester United half. Tremendous awareness to set the chance up for Mahrez, but was more often than not exasperated by the poor movement around him. Still, played the most key passes (3) in the game.
Raheem Sterling: 5/10
Thwarted by Maguire when he attempted a shot at goal. The English international displayed some loose touches on the ball otherwise and did not really manage to get into the game apart from tormenting Wan-Bissaka at times on his flank.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
Leading the line for Manchester City, Jesus had one of the best chances of the game coming his way but could not convert it. Linked up well with De Bruyne, but did not see many chances being set up for him. Contained well by the Manchester United defenders.
Ferran Torres: 5/10
On for the final quarter of the game, Torres completed each of his passes but never got on top of Shaw, much like Mahrez before him.