Ratings: The real Paul Pogba stood up, made himself counted and inspired a victory over Manchester City

Manchester United beat Manchester City 3-2 to stop them winning the Premier League title this weekend. 2-0 down at half-time saw the side emerge from the dressing room determined to get something from this game. A brace from Paul Pogba in two minutes, inside the first ten minutes of the second half, plus a banger from Chris Smalling saw the red side of Manchester emerge, again!

It really was a game of two halves. United were abject in the first half, despite starting well and seemingly putting up a fight. Conceding the first goal in the 25th minute with Chris Smalling making, yet again, the same mistake which allowed Vincent Kompany to open the scoring really told a story about the defender, who missed another chance to play for England last month.

Five minutes later, İlkay Gündoğan goal shocked United and Smalling was there again, earning a crust at something that he was nothing more than abject at. It was going to be a long day, or so we thought. The end of the first half could not come quick enough and there needed to be a big change of grace to get something from this game. The team talk needed to inspire…

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Eight minutes into the second half, United had found a way to get back into the game. Paul Pogba, a player who was being lauded as the scapegoat at half-time, assisted by Ander Herrera scored a stunning goal. It was a start, but United needed to show a lot more. That came, just two minutes later from Pogba again, assisted by Alexis Sanchez, heading a fine finish past Ederson. Pick that out!

United were level and spoiling the party, which could have seen Manchester become blue, or so the berties would suggest, but it was not something that City needed to fight for and that fight was disappearing, much like United’s was in the first half. With just over 20 minutes left, United struck, through the unlikely Smalling, who banged in the winner and ended the prospect of an early City party.

United hung on, which was nerve-racking, ensuring victory, cutting the deficit down to 13 points, seeing City concede three goals in successive matches, continuing their week of distress following the mauling Liverpool gave them at Anfield. Tuesday could see this City side, who were lauded as the best ever Premier League side, be shown for what they are…

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one was unlucky to concede twice in the first half. That must be frustrating for him. A great save to deny City from scoring late on will continue to inspire his fine form this season.


25 Antonio Valencia

Struggled against Sane. One player who has given Sane a game this season is Fosu-Mensah. Valencia has been good but time is running out. Defensively, the Ecuadorian has been superb at times but it won't last forever.


Chris Smalling

There was frustration with Smalling's performance in the first half, making the same mistakes he made five or six years ago with Kompany opening the scoring. The poor defensive ability added more dismay. However, in the second half, scoring a headed goal out of nowhere to win the match was something I could not complain about.


3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian played a small part in the victory over City. Usually solid at the back, he seemed to be off his game and struggling to deal with City's lightning pace. A run of games could do him some good ahead of next season, as that is what we may be looking towards now.


18 Ashley Young

Lucky not to be adjudged to handle the ball, give away a penalty and possibly see red, according to some. Got stuck in as the game grew, United getting stuck in and getting back on terms, then finding a winner. Lucky late on on Aguero too.


21 Ander Herrera

The first half saw Herrera struggle, not on his own though - the whole team struggled. After an inspirational team talk at half-time, the real United stood firm. A superb lay off for Pogba in the 53rd minute saw United back in the game.


31 Nemanja Matic

Looked slow in the first half, unable to give the same as Fernandinho gave for City, minus the ten bookings of course. United worked as a team, putting in an inspiration performance which saw Pogba score twice and Smalling score the winner.


6 Paul Pogba

Abject in the first half and starting to become a scapegoat, the Frenchman's stock had severely decreased. The second have changed that though. A brace in two minutes to put United level again showed the real Paul Pogba could stand up. Booked for a foul late in the game could have undone his hard work but he kept his cool and dug deep for his team. Myth dispelled, there is a world class player there, he just needs to show himself a lot more.


14 Jesse Lingard

The first half was a write-off for most United players. Lingard got stuck in during the second half, helping his team get the better of City. It needed to happen sooner or later.


Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian was a huge presence up top for United but was happy to take a back seat and let others get the credit. 26 goals this season is great for him. Not scoring against City will be something he gets mocked for, but as he's said, he wants team goals and trophies more than personal achievements. Lukaku is a team player and a player capable of bridging the team.


Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean put in a lot of graft against City and in the first half, it was not really noticed as United were being slaugheters. The assist for Pogba's second, the Smalling's winner showed the real Alexis Sanchez, a player destined to perform for his team. Those who have slated him will be quiet for a while.



10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Sanchez 82'. Came on to help guide victory and give United another outlet. The game was won, United just needed to keep it that way, which they did.


39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Lingard 85'. Came on to add more legs in the midfield and ensure United god the victory. Did not seem fazed by the big stage.


2 Victor Lindelof

Replaced Herrera 90+4'. Came on late to add fresh legs and see out the victory, which United did.


Goals: Paul Pogba 53′, 55′, Chris Smalling 69′

Assists: Ander Herrera 53′, Alexis Sanchez 55′, 69′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Young; Herrera (Lindelof 90+4′), Matic, Pogba; Lingard (McTominay 85′), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford 82′)

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Rojo; Mata; Martial

Bookings: Ander Herrera 37′, Romelu Lukaku 45′

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