After four wins in four to start Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United career, United suffered a difficult loss to Manchester City at Old Trafford. Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho masked what wasn’t a bad performance from United, but they did provide insight around the potential weaknesses that could be recurring throughout the season. How did their performances affect their place in the rankings this week? Manchester United Player Power Rankings compares and ranks every player to represent United in the previous five games, based on those performances.
20. Memphis, 22, Left-Winger
Appearances: 0 (1)
Memphis isn’t this low due to playing badly- he simply hasn’t played. As a very late substitute in United’s victory over Bournemouth, he naturally hasn’t had time to make an impact.
19. Marcos Rojo, 26, Left-Back
Appearances: 0 (2)
Marcos Rojo is yet to appear for United since a cameo in the Community Shield. Credit to him, though, because Mourinho seems to believe in his quality.
18. Chris Smalling, 26, Centre-Back
Appearances: 0 (2)
Again, Smalling didn’t appear for United since the last version of the Power Rankings. Expect him to start, either against Feyenoord or Watford.
17. Morgan Schneiderlin, 26, Defensive Midfielder
Appearances: 0 (2)
Schneiderlin hasn’t been given the chance to start a match yet after a struggle for match fitness. Expect the same as Smalling, particularly with Fellaini performing relatively poorly in the Derby.
16. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 27, Attacking Midfielder
Appearances: 1 (2)
I made the mistake of neglecting Mkhitaryan in the last Power Rankings, along with Memphis. He looked great as a substitute against Hull, but a lot poorer against City, seemingly lacking in fitness and being substituted at half-time.
15: Michael Carrick, 35, Defensive Midfielder
Michael Carrick retains his spot without anyone to pass him or fall behind. He may not even play for a while yet, due to United’s younger, more vibrant competitors in midfield.
14. Jesse Lingard, 23, Winger
Jesse Lingard, after a great performance in the Community Shield and returned from injury to play City. The worst player on the pitch, he was substituted at half-time and looked out of position on the left.
13. Marcus Rashford, 18, Left-Winger
Appearances: 0 (3)
Marcus Rashford replaced Lingard in the Manchester Derby after his heroics against Hull and for England’s U21’s. He looked bright at times but was unable to influence the match.
12. Juan Mata, 28, Right-Winger
Appearances: 3 (1)
Though he seems to move into good positions and play tidy football, Mata has been unable to influence the scoring the same way his competitors at other clubs have. That is best reflected by his failure to make an appearance against City.
11. Anthony Martial, 20, Left-Winger
Appearances: 4 (1)
Martial was benched for the Derby after a relatively quiet (not poor) patch of form preceding the international break. He scored from a central area for France before returning, so perhaps he could find more joy moving back up top.
10. Ander Herrera, 27, Defensive Midfielder
Appearances: 1 (2)
Herrera only appeared as a substitute for United in the Derby, but his performance in the second half showed he should’ve started. He was quality in every way, and the best player for either side in the second half. Winning the ball back and distributing, he looked most eager of all to even the score with Pep Guardiola’s men.
9. Paul Pogba, 23, Central Midfielder
Paul Pogba wasn’t bad in the Derby, as everyone will tell you- he wasn’t world class either. He moves down, though, more due to the nature of others’ good performances than his own bad. He’s also plain played fewer matches.
8. Marouane Fellaini, 28, Defensive Midfielder
Unlike Pogba, Fellaini moves down because he was poor in the Manchester Derby. He struggled to make an impact, and his wayward passing was a massive part of United’s capitulation in the first half. He should be given a rest to recollect, as he’s been effective as a defensive midfielder and that needs to be prolonged.
7. Wayne Rooney, 30, Attacking Midfielder
I still don’t think Wayne Rooney should be playing matches- while he was the best United player in the derby, he prevented the side from playing 4-3-3 and United’s deep midfielders suffered. That being said, his record is unquestionable in the first five games- he hasn’t played well in many, but he has a goal, three assists and created United’s only goal against City, while he wasn’t officially credited for it.
6. Antonio Valencia, 31, Right-Back
Valencia looked poor in the first half of the derby, failing to get forward due to City’s midfield dominance and leaving gaps defensively. He was bright in the second half, though.
5. David De Gea, 25, Goalkeeper
David De Gea looked great in the Manchester Derby, keeping United in the game with top saves and impressing with his distribution. He’s done everything expected of a goalkeeper in the opening five games, and he’s slowly starting to become an even better footballer.
4. Daley Blind, 26, Centre-Back
Daley Blind made the two errors that caused City’s two goals on the day. He should still be a centre-back, and he’s still a great player for United, but perhaps rotating him would prevent him from looking fatigued as he did a little bit on the day.
3. Eric Bailly, 22, Centre-Back
Here’s my issue. Blind got berated for his errors in the derby, but nobody mentioned that Bailly was just as much at fault for the first goal. Given the choice to attack the ball or defend the space into which Iheanacho could head it, Bailly made the naïve mistake before Blind did the exact same.
2. Luke Shaw, 21, Left-Back
Luke Shaw was excellent in the derby again, completely nullifying Player of the Month Raheem Sterling. He’s already the best left-back in the Premier League, and it’s scary to think he’s only 21.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 34, Striker
He wasn’t at his absolute best during the derby, but he scored again, and one has to respect that he has five goals in five games. It is incredible to think United has one of the most in-form number 9s in the world. He’s the top scorer in the Premier League, will likely stay that way for a while yet, and will have double the amount of Sergio Aguero by time the Argentine is back at this rate.