A local derby, one of the ones mattering less than they have in recent years, but a derby nonetheless and what a derby day for the Reds as two mistakes from Ederson were pounced upon by Martial and McTominay
3 at the back has become the Solskjaer go to in the bigger games and with the way that Man City are able to stretch the pitch with their positional play, it makes a lot of sense from a defensive stand point. Having Shaw as a outside CB to help Williams when isolated against the winger was a clear plan in case Mahrez was ever the winger stationed on that side. Offensively, the split strikers against City’s less than comfortable CBs was the clearest avenue. The channels to be ran by Martial and James, allowing Bruno to make late runs into the box if one of those balls down the sides connects with the aforementioned strikers. After a tetchy first 20 mins, these things rang true as Martial and Iames dominated that channels against Fernandinho and Otamendi. It was particularly impressive from the Frenchman because it was not just with his pace and tricky feet that he did it, but with his strength, something he does not use nearly enough. The one area of the pitch where we were actually outnumbered was in the middle but somehow Matic and Fred had the discipline and work rate to cover against City, even as they overloaded it with their asymmetric build up shape. As the game wore on and the Citizens pressed with their fresher legs, the formation became ragged with the Red Devils tiring legs. It was not a performance where individuals were able to shine, perhaps Martial being the only one worthy. In many ways, it was reminiscent of the game vs the champions elect from Merseyside.
If only if only
United had plenty of opportunities to counter, less and less as the time ticked, and a lot of those opportunities fell to Daniel James. The pace that he possess is utterly frightening from an opponent’s perspective and a great outlet for the United team to use. The issue comes with the fact he fails to get the ball under control, and if he does, he often fails to get past his man. When those two miraculously seem to fall into place for the Welshman, inevitably for these past few months, the end product just hasn’t been there. His last assist in the league was one on the counter in the dying minutes vs Burnley and his final ball just hasn’t been good enough this season. He will get into good positions and sometimes, he has actually managed to put something into the box that is more than worthwhile but just the frequency has been few and far between. The chance to square it Bruno he passed up to boom into Ederson’s palms was the biggest example of it and eventually, he will become a less prominent member as more signings come in because of what we see from James in the final third