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Ratings: Fernandes and Shaw give United victory over City; Martial’s performance was a key point in the victory – Solskjaer will be pleased

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League. It was an instant start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after Anthony Martial won a penalty which was scored by Bruno Fernandes in the second minute of the match. City then got themselves into the game, attacking United but the quality was not the greatest and United started to dominate the match at times, pushing forward and threatening to score again. United led 1-0 at the break and started the second half in good stead as Luke Shaw scored the second goal of the game after a throw by Dean Henderson started the attack with Marcus Rashford, who was later injured, provided the assist. Solskjaer will be happy as Manchester turns red again. Jonny won’t be pleased though!

United started off in fine fettle against the Premier League leaders, pushing to get an early goal, which was something we had not seen in the last three matches. Marcus Rashford had the ball outside the box and nudged it to Anthony Martial, who was just inside when Gabriel Jesus challenged him, giving away a penalty in the first minute of the match. Bruno Fernandes took the penalty, beating Ederson from the spot to put United 1-0 up, scoring the first goal in three matches. Luke Shaw then had a good chance a few minutes later after Joao Cancelo’s dithering on the ball resulted in United regaining possession in the box and Shaw firing into Ederson, who made the save to deny United from going 2-0 up early in the match. United have turned up today.

City started to get themselves back into the game after going 1-0 down but Kevin De Bruyne was really not in the zone, which was a worrying sight for the Noisy Neighbours. City grew into the clash, getting more of the ball and starting to control the game, despite not being very fluent in front of goal at this stage. United may find themselves walking a tightrope at stages in the match and they will need to keep the pressure off them by retaining the ball themselves and pressuring City. The home side had a few chances to get something back from the match but wayward shooting and United defending well got the better of their shots, which saw United still in the lead on the midway point of the half.

Dean Henderson was having a positive game for United in the first half, making one good save to deny City from getting level inn the match, which was good to see, He seems to be much more vocal in the box than David De Gea, which is a good sign that he has all the ingredients to take his place in the team under Solskjaer. These next few matches will be good for him to continue showing just what he can do for his club. Harry Maguire was the first player in the match to be booked around the 33rd minute of the match, which is something he will need to stem if he does not want a suspension. Henderson made another good save to deny City in the 38th minute of the match, which is good going for the goalkeeper. It was still 1-0 to United at the end of the half.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half with United looking to double their lead from the early stages of the half, which came true for them. In the 50th minute of the match, Dean Henderson threw the ball out to Luke Shaw, who ran up the left flank and played the ball out to Marcus Rashford, who was further out on the flank. Shaw then cut in towards the box with a crowded Rashford playing the ball into the box, he took a second before launching his shot, beating Ederson, who watched the ball cross the line for United’s second of the match. Shaw was then booked in the 58th minute of the match with Henderson booked for time wasting two minutes later. United needed to keep this heads at this stage of the game.

United were close to scoring a third goal in the 69th minute of the match, which resulted in a corner but Ederson claimed it with City then on the attack. United have been in top form in the second half and actually look like the Premier League leaders, more than the leaders themselves. There was still 20 minutes to play and City were so far not getting anywhere, but that could all change if United lose their footing. Rashford seemed to be injured in the 72nd minute of the match, coming off at the nearest point with Mason Greenwood getting ready to come on. Henderson, who had a goal kick, played the ball out to allow the substitution but Greenwood was not really. He came on in the 73rd minute, switching sides with Daniel James, to help push for a victory.

With just under ten minutes remaining, United broke through again with Fernandes, who played a pass to Greenwood, who was on the right flank. He ran into the box and tried to pass further into the box to aim for a third goal. The ball was just short of Daniel James, who was in the middle of the box only for City to regain possession and launch an attack, which according to the commentators, was brilliant but did not result in a goal. United still needed to keep on top of their game here as there was a feeling that City could get a goal back, which would inspire them to get another, then a winner. Solskjaer’s side were the dominant one, despite the City onslaught at times, which was a worry, despite how dire they were.

Nemanja Matic replaced Anthony Martial in the 88th minute, Solskjaer’s second substitution of the match. Martial had a good game and look determined to change his form, which was good to see. He was up for the challenge and did well to help United take the lead, winning a penalty, which was scored in the second minute of the match. There was five minutes to be added on at the end of the half, which would see City looking to get something from this match. Solskjaer made his final substation with Brandon Williams replacing Fernandes in the third minute of added time, which resulted in a defensive shakeup to keep City at bay to close the game down and earn the victory.

United will be thrilled with their performances against City in the league this season, taking four points off them home and away and winning at the Etihad once again. This is what United needed to raise their game towards the end of the season with all to play for yet. United will face AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, which is their only home match this month. It is important that United keep going as there are things to play for this season with their form in the Premier League showing improvement, the Emirates FA Cup still to play for, with Leicester City their opposition later this month at the King Power Stadium. The Europa League could be for the taking if United play their cards right.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made an important save to deny Mahrez. Was a big hit in goal against City and did not seem to be flustered at all. His pre-assist for Shaw's goal was great thinking. This clean sheet will mean more to him and United. Good to see him get more game time and it was well deserved.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Got forward a lot of the time with United pushing to score goals. City were feckless at times, which was great to see. What a run to end though. United have a lot to play for this season. The league title might be out of reach but the improvement is there and there is a challenge happening, no matter how credible.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The clean sheet will be a defining point for United. He defended well as City seemed off the boil. Partnered Maguire well despite carrying a lower back injury.

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5 Harry Maguire

Had a good match in defence, despite being booked. Showed determination to keep United driving forward.

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23 Luke Shaw

What a performance from the left-back. He drove forward the majority of the match, until City were on the attack, in which he defended his ground. Five minutes into the second half, he drove forward with the ball, laid it off to Rashford, who passed back, then scored the second goal of the match, putting United into a good lead. He recently won the Player of the Month award for February and will be seeking to build on that inn his best season at the club.

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17 Fred

A better performance for the Brazilian. He had fun against City today, even nutmegging the opposition at times. He ran and kept the midfield ticking, which was good to see.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played an important part in the victory over City and was no doubt inspired by his performance at Old Trafford a year ago, in which he scored the second goal from some distance. He did not score today, but his performance was big and needed as United took three points off City at the Etihad again.

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21 Daniel James

He was an important player against City and used his pace and ability to get United forward

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18 Bruno Fernandes

He's back. Scored his 23rd goal of the season, from the penalty spot, in the second minute of the match after Martial was fouled in the box by Jesus. Created a lot throughout the match as United dominated with City scrappy in both defence and in attack. Good to see him back on track at an important stage of the season.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Played a good game for United, using his pace to get the back into the danger areas and get United forward. He had hard luck in the first half but got his assist as United doubled their lead through Shaw in the 50th minute of the match. He got an injury in the 72nd minute and came off with Greenwood replacing him.

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9 Anthony Martial

Won a penalty, which was scored by Fernandes in the second minute of the match. He did not get any goals or assists but you could see that he was ready for this match and wanted to change his form. He was not smiling, but he's going in the right direction to make things better, which is good to see.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 73'. It was a shame to lose Rashford to injury, which will be a worry. He used his pace and attacking threat to get forward, which was good for him. He might well be starting the next match if Rashford is out so he will get his time to shine.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Martial 88'. Came on with two minutes and added time to play. Bolstered the defence and his replacement has the effect is needed - to keep United on top and claiming the victory. Had little time to make more of an impact.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Fernandes 90+3'. Came on with two minutes of added time to play. His introduction made Solskjaer's side more defensive, with a City onslaught likely but never really happened. Not really enough time on the pitch to make an impact.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 2′ penalty, Luke Shaw 40′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 50′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; James, Fernandes (Williams 90+3′), Rashford (Greenwood 73′); Martial (Matic 88′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Shoretire

Bookings: Harry Maguire 33′, Luke Shaw 58′, Dean Henderson 60′

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW

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