Friday, September 29, 2023

Player Ratings: How Did The Manchester United Players Fare In The Manchester Derby?

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Syed Shaiban
Currently a student and a Bengaluru FC fan. Involved with grassroots football from the last 3 years.

Two extremely successful managers, a city divided, two glorious teams with two sets of fan bases niggling at each other throughout the week, the Manchester Derby hadn’t had a feel ever in quite a long time like it did have today. While the prospect of Jose Mourinho facing old nemesis Pep Guardiola added a new flavour to the derby, it promised to be a huge tactical battle as well with Mourinho giving a more detailed explanation at the start regarding his changes while Pep chose to stick with his strength and available options.

In the hugely anticipated clash, Manchester City started on a much sharper note which gave warning calls early on itself. Pep Guardiola meant business as usual and Old Trafford’s hostility and magnificence proved to be no big deal for the blues and ironically, the men in red started on a disastrous note.

Tactical changes of Jose playing Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard was a plan to exploit the wings but none of that worked as City drew first blood through Kevin De Bruyne. Lack of communication and alertness saw City take advantage. Man United continued to play very sloppy football almost the entire half. They struggled to break City’s rich passing and failed to press ensuring that City continued their chain of the pass. The play went perfectly like Pep wanted and soon Iheanacho struck off a rebound thanks to some wonderful work from De Bruyne again. Near the end of the half though, a massive error from Bravo on his debut saw him punch the ball straight for Ibrahimović to volley and the Swede didn’t miss his shot.

United lost the first half battle but not in terms of momentum.  The second half was all about United. Ander Herrera was brought on and a change in formation saw United raise their play but all efforts were in vain as an unusual defensive switch from Pep saw that his side held on till the very last to paint Manchester in the sky blue colours.

Here are the player ratings of United’s considering the derby performance.

David De Gea – 6/10

David De Gea was let down by his teammates on both the goals he conceded. He had to stay alert but he didn’t have much to do. He pulled off a fine double save from Fernandinho’s efforts in the second half.

Antonio Valencia – 6.5/10

One of the few United players who actually came out with a good performance was Valencia. His duel with Nolito was intriguing and he did a great job. Made forward runs with the motive to contribute to the attack as well.

Eric Bailly – 5/10

Looked a little off today right from the beginning. Had a clumsy period and made reckless tackles as well but he had good patches as well. Last ditch tackle on Fernandinho at the end was absolutely crucial and he executed it perfectly. Much to improve and develop upon, though.

Daley Blind – 5/ 10

A very unusual game for the Dutchman at the back. Lack of alertness and a moment of hesitation cost his side the first goal but he hardly did anything wrong after that.

Luke Shaw – 6/10

Did a very good job against Raheem Sterling and also against Leroy Sane in the second half.  Didn’t contribute much in the attacking sector though.

Marouane Fellaini – 6.5/10

Surprisingly, Fellaini now has played every minute under Mourinho and he put up a committed display again even though he didn’t do anything eye-catching.

Paul Pogba – 6/10

Had very little influence in the derby. Flashes of individual brilliance were witnessed and box to box runs were impressive but overall Pogba fell short quite well in terms of expectations.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan– 4/10

Mkhitaryan was very disappointing. Had a horrible first half and couldn’t properly link-up once also. A derby day to forget for him surely.

Wayne Rooney – 6/10

Had a topsy-turvy game and also a frustrating one. Couldn’t deliver much apart from threading a few passes. Played a wonderful cross to Ibrahimović in the first half but nothing special after that.

Zlatan Ibrahimović – 6.5

The service he got was poor today and attacking wise, he himself lost the ball several times but when an opportunity fell on his feet, he showed finesse and quality to get a goal back for his side. This is not his best performance in a club jersey for him.


Rashford was perhaps the best of the lot and his introduction saw the team threaten the City defence. Herrera was put on to add more balance to the team. Martial’s introduction came too late for him to have a substantial impact.

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