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  • Tom Cayless

United elegantly battered at Old Trafford – Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City Review

On a rainy afternoon in Salford, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City trampled all over Manchester United, beating the Red Devils 2-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

In a game that needed no introduction, City travelled to Old Trafford in a bid to right their wrongs from the previous recent derby meetings and to regain the local bragging rights.

Plenty was said, during the week, about what team Guardiola should select. City's record signing, Jack Grealish, was left on the bench, along with the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.

Here is the side Pep opted to go with.


Unlike what most City fans thought when the team news was announced, Bernardo Silva actually started in the false nine role with Kevin De Bruyne sitting deeper than what was initially thought. It didn't stay like that for long though, with the trio of De Bruyne, Silva and Ilkay Gundogan all rotating with one another around United's back three.

Despite City's controlling start, it was United who had the first chance to take the lead. Gabriel Jesus poorly gave away a free-kick, bringing down Bruno Fernandes. Luke Shaw stepped up, whipped the ball into City's box towards Harry Maguire, the Red Devil's captain rose highest and headed over from 8 eight yards out - he really should have done better.

Nevertheless, one minute later Guardiola's side took the lead. The ever-impressive, Joao Cancelo drove down United's right-hand side, crossing towards the near post. The ball ended up in the back of David De Gea's net but not from any of City's attackers, from United defender Eric Bailly. The Ivorian international sliced the ball into his own net from close-range and in doing so gave City the lead.

Photo courtesy of Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Halfway through the first half, a huge chance came City's way. City captain, Gundogan slotted the ball down the right of United's defence, Foden glared down on goal and squared the ball to De Bruyne but his first-time shot was blocked by Shaw. The ball then pinged to Jesus, he blasted the ball goal-bound but De Gea sprung across his goal to somehow keep it at 1-0.

As the half-time whistle loomed, City deservedly scored another to take them into the break 2-0 up. In typical fashion, Cancelo checked inside with no pressure from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and crossed towards the far post where Silva had pealed off both Maguire and Shaw, who stood like statues. City's Portuguese starlet prodded home past De Gea from close-range.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

During the second half, City kept possession in a scintillating fashion with Rodri at the heart of it. The Spaniard put in a performance that can only be described as simply world-class, not putting a single foot wrong. He controlled the tempo of the whole game and on the rare occasion when City did lose the ball he neutralised any United pressure almost instantly.

City had chances in the second 45 to add to their lead through both Gundogan and Foden. The former was played in behind United's defence, courtesy of a wonderful pick out by Rodri, but his poor first touch forced him wide. Foden, on the other hand, came closer. The City academy graduate stroke the post after De Bruyne slipped him through.

United, however, were so poor. The team from Salford registered no big chances during the second half with Sky Sport's Gary Neville describing them like 'a drunken bloke trying to win a fight at the end of the night.'

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Player ratings:

Ederson (7) Cancelo (8) Dias (7) Stones (7.5) Walker (7) Rodri (9) Gundogan (7) Silva (8) Jesus (7) Foden (8) De Bruyne (8)

Substitutes: N/A

Photo courtesy of Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

City were back to their best today. Just like when they travelled to Chelsea and Liverpool, Guardiola's team have impressed in the games many fans would deem as harder this season. It's been the encounters against Southampton and Crystal Palace that have let them down this season.

Nonetheless, today proved there is reason to be optimistic for the rest of this season. Yes, City played a team that was the equivalent of a boxer who doesn't throw punches but they can only play what's in front of them and it never felt like United were going to score or even threat at all - something that has not been the case in previous seasons.


Written by: @TomCayless_

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