Ratings: Sancho the best player; Maguire and Wan-Bissaka terrible – United deserved defeat

Top four is quickly disappearing for United with Arsenal and Spurs having matches in hand

Manchester United were beaten 4-1 by Manchester City in the Premier League at the Etihad. It was the second defeat to the noisy neighbours this season. Kevin De Bruyne scored a brace, as did Riyah Mahrez. Jadon Sancho equalised after the first goal, United gave up from there.

City started brightly, having lost their last three matches against United at home in all competitions and three of the last four in the Premier League. Kevin De Bruyne, assisted by Bernardo Silva, opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Bad play from United.

United were caught offside the following minute and in the eighth minute, Paul Pogba missed a shot and Fred saw his attempt saved. Then City seemed to be the team putting together the best attacking play with United seeming so weak in defence, actually everywhere.

In the 22nd minute of the match, United drew level in the game through Jadon Sancho. Paul Pogba provided the former City academy player with the ball and he fired the ball into the bottom right corner with his right foot – celebrating the goal at the Etihad.

United’s break did not last long as six minutes later, De Bruyne had the ball in the back of the net once more. This came after Jack Grealish and Silva had shots blocked and Phil Foden had one saved. Just before the break, Sancho had a great chance, which was fluffed.

At the end of the half, despite City’s power being shown massively throughout the half, United were still in the game, perhaps something that they did not fully deserve. The squad has become a shambles at times and defending is something that many cannot do for some reason.

There were no substitutions for either side at the start of the second half. United had everything to play for, being just one goal behind City, but they needed to step up to the plate and fight for anything that they could get from the match.

In the early stages of the half, City saw shots blocked by Silva and Riyad Mahrez, which would have been dangerous for United. In the 63rd minute of the match, Harry Maguire was booked for a late challenge, which was a deserved booking for the captain.

Rangnick made a double substitution in the 64th minute with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford replacing Anthony Elanga and Paul Pogba. City sealed a two-goal cushion in the 68th minute after De Bruyne found Riyah Mahrez on the edge of the box, beating David De Gea.

United seemed unable to string anything together following City’s third goal of the match, which gave them the victory. United seemed to run with the ball, chased the ball when they lost it but just did not have the hunger or the desire to take this game by the scruff of the neck.

City were passing the ball between their players for much of the last ten minutes of the match, which was really getting the crowd lively. United had given up and had no pride in battling until the end. In added time, Mahrez scored again, but VAR was looking at it.

In the run up to the goal, De Gea seemed to injure himself. Mahrez did not seem to be offside after after a short break, the goal was awarded. United deserved just that. It is what happens when you give up. United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford on Saturday. Top four far away now.

Player Ratings

David De Gea: Made some good saves to deny City but was caught by De Bruyne’s brilliant twice and Mahrez scored a long-range goal late in the second half. City were not done then either. United will have some wounds to lick during the coming week. ★★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Got bullied by Foden at times, who was superior to his defensive play. Got forward at times but did not provide much for United. It is the story of this team at the moment. Terrible all over the pitch. Blocked a shot on 86 minutes. ★★★

Victor Lindelöf: Not the worst defender on the pitch but seems to lose so much confidence when partnered with Maguire. Three goals conceded against the team pushing to win their sixth Premier League title in 11 years. ★★★★★

Harry Maguire: Terrible at times. He’s the weak link in the defence based on his consistency. Last season, he was in great form, which seems to have been affected by England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy. This season, he’s a long way from where he should be. ★★★★

Alex Telles: In an attacking sense, Telles got forward some of the time but in terms of stringing things together in that sense, it is nothing like Shaw has been doing, more last season than this though. Defensvely, he messed up for De Bruyne’s second goal. ★★★★★

Scott McTominay: Great to see him back after an illness. Seemed determined to add some steel to this team. Gave his energy and determination but this brilliant City team were picking holes all over the pitch. United compared to City are terrible. ★★★★★

Fred: Had a great chance to get a goal three minutes after De Bruyne scored, but was unable to finish his chance. Seemed to add energy to the midfield but United were not able to take on City’s midfield might. Not good enough for these matches. ★★★

Jadon Sancho: Got United back in the game 17 minutes after De Bruyne opened the scoring. His finishing for the goal was perfect. Had the chance to double his tally just before the break but missed. Tried in the second half but United were out of the game. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: It was not a great day for Fernandes or United. In the first half, United were positive, even at 2-1 down. United responded poorly after the third goal was scored – which says a lot about this team. He will be frustrated, again. He needs to be the captain. ★★★★★

Paul Pogba: It has been said that Pogba needs to show himself more. Provided the assist for Sancho’s equaliser, his ninth of the season so far. He does need to do more though. He seemed to tire after the hour once again. Replaced by Rashford. ★★★★★

Anthony Elanga: At times I feel he was left exposed as the main striker for much of the match. He did trouble City at times and had a good chance to equalise early in the second half. However, he did not make a dent in City’s armour. Replaced by Lingard. ★★★★★


Jesse Lingard: Replaced Elanga 64′. The commentary team said that he and Rashford could be the saviours for United. I laughed. This guy runs but in terms of inspiring a team two goals behind, he was terrible. Seems to not want to end his career at the club with any pride. ★★★

Marcus Rashford: Replaced Pogba 64′. Had some good attacks on the left flank but seemed to be chasing the ball a lot of the time. His form is questionable and you can see why he’s not a starter right now. Needs improvement and the mentality to improve. ★★★★

Goals: Kevin De Bruyne 5′, 28′, Riyah Mahrez 68′, 90+2′; Jadon Sancho 22′

Assists: Bernardo Silva 5′, Kevin De Bruyne 68′, Ilkay Gündogan 90+2′; Paul Pogba 22′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba (Rashford 64′); Elanga (Lingard 64′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Jones, Dalot; Mata, Matic, Hannibal

Bookings: Harry Maguire 63′

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.