Rashford, McTominay 8/10 as Man United stun neighbors City
Manchester City slipped 14 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool after losing 2-1 in Saturday's Manchester derby to United. It's a result that will reverberate around that league, as the visitors dismantled a vulnerable-looking City defence in an impressive first-half spell. The hosts fell behind after 23 minutes, following VAR awarding United a penalty, which was clinically dispatched by the in-form Marcus Rashford.
It was two not longer after, as Anthony Martial beat Ederson at his near post to send the travelling fans into raptures. City rallied in the second half, attempting to launch what would have been a famous comeback, but despite their best efforts, it's a fourth defeat of the season for Pep Guardiola's side, whose chances of retaining the Premier League title are beginning to fade away.
It was a game of few positives for the home side, but if there is one saving grace moving forward, it is surely that they do possess one of the best midfielders in world football in Kevin De Bruyne. With the entire team thoroughly underperforming, De Bruyne continued to test the United backline to the breaking point. Even in dire straits, City have at least one player that they can always seemingly rely on.
It hardly takes a genius to identify City's biggest area of weakness, and the same defensive frailties that have been on display all season were once again visible. Fernandinho simply isn't a centre-back -- and at the moment, it's debatable as to whether John Stones is either.
5 -- Guardiola made just one change from his starting XI that faced Burnley, bringing Stones back into the fold. It was to be a change that backfired spectacularly, with Stones and stand-in centre-back Fernandinho both badly underperforming as United ran riot in the first half. Angelino was similarly woeful, as the Spaniard was caught out of position time and time again.
GK Ederson, 6 -- The Brazilian keeper made a number of smart stops throughout, but he was arguably beaten far too easily at his near post for Martial's goal. Having said that, he was surely the best performer of City's back five, although that isn't exactly saying much.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Early on, Walker was instrumental in denying United, contributing with a number of key interceptions and tackles. That would soon change, however, as the right-back started to be caught out in possession -- and caught out positionally as the game wore on.
DF John Stones, 5 -- A disastrous return to action, in yet another display that will worry both City and England fans. Stones looked off the pace throughout.
DF Fernandinho, 5 -- Saturday's game was a reminder that the Brazilian simply isn't a centre-back, as if anyone needed another. Both Fernandinho and Stones have continued to struggle, and continue to cost City vital points.
DF Angelino, 5 -- As harsh as it may seem for someone so new to the Premier League, Angelino was certainly one of City's worst performers on the night.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- As ever, the prodigious Belgium international was the primary creative outlet in a struggling City attack. He will wonder how he didn't manage to drag his side back into the game, after teeing up teammates on numerous occasions, only for the promising situations to be wasted.
MF Rodri, 6 -- The Spanish international failed to impress, doing very little to stem the waves of United counterattacks in the first half. His impact on the game was more notable in the second half, as Rodri forced David De Gea into a couple of decent saves.
MF David Silva, 6 -- A quiet evening from the midfielder, who was solid if unspectacular. Not exactly a vintage display from the Premier League veteran.
FW Bernado Silva, 5 -- The Portuguese international was responsible for giving away United's penalty -- a sloppy half-tackle attempt leaving the VAR with little choice but to award it. He was lively in spells, but was ultimately unable to redeem himself for his first-half mistake.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- After his heroics in midweek, the Brazilian will surely be disappointed with his efforts. The opportunities that did fall to his feet were ultimately wasted, including a beautiful De Bruyne cross that Jesus steered wide from a great position.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 -- The England international was persistently City's most potent weapon going forward. His smart work out wide, however, was all too often squandered by teammates who simply didn't show up on the night.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- The centre-back was introduced on 59 minutes, following the injury to Stones. The Argentine had little to do defensively, but his goal to make it 2-1 gave City hope with five minutes to go.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 6 -- Guardiola's side looked a more dangerous proposition going forward after his introduction, as his energy raised hopes of a late comeback.
MANCHESTER -- Manchester United recorded their second big win in the space of four days after beating Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
After beating Tottenham by the same scoreline in midweek, a Marcus Rashford penalty -- awarded by VAR -- and a second from Anthony Martial put United 2-0 up inside half an hour against the reigning champions.
Nicolas Otamendi set up a nervous finish by halving the deficit five minutes from time, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team hung on to seal their first derby win since April 2018 and move to within five points of the top four.
Rashford is flying. He was in the middle of everything United did well in the first half as the visitors cut City to shreds and could have led by more than 2-0. Just like on Wednesday against Tottenham, he could have had a hat trick in the opening 30 minutes after converting his penalty, missing a decent chance and hitting the crossbar from distance. United look a different team with Rashford in this type of form.
It will not feel important after a derby win at the Etihad Stadium, but United were close to their first clean sheet in a Premier League away game in 13 games and they could not quite hang on. Solskjaer will be disappointed that it was a set piece that let City back into it after his team defended so well for so long.
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 -- The United manager made two changes to the team that beat Tottenham, bringing in Luke Shaw and Martial for Ashley Young and Mason Greenwood. The plan was to concede possession and hit City on the break with the pace of Rashford, Martial, Jesse Lingard and Daniel James, and it worked. United were 2-0 up at half-time but it could have been four.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 7 -- Didn't face a shot on target until 33 minutes had gone and United were already 2-0 up. Tipped a Rodri drive over the bar and made a good save from Riyad Mahrez.
DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 8 -- Made a good early block when Kevin De Bruyne had a sight of goal. Defended brilliantly and kept City's danger man, Raheem Sterling, very quiet.
DF Luke Shaw, 7 -- Thrown in for his first league start since August. Must have felt rusty but played well enough that Bernardo Silva was substituted in the second half.
DF Victor Lindelof, 7 -- Survived a penalty shout when Bernardo Silva's cross ricocheted off his arm and made a wonderful diving block when De Bruyne looked likely to score.
DF Harry Maguire, 8 -- Will be disappointed that Otamendi was allowed to head City back into it late in the second half but his positioning for most of the game was outstanding.
MF Scott McTominay, 8 -- Another big performance in another big game. The midfielder is quickly becoming undroppable and his bite in the centre of the pitch was vital here.
MF Fred, 7 -- Slick pass through a crowd to set up a chance for Dan James. Fortunate to avoid giving away a penalty on the stroke of half-time after handling Kyle Walker's cross as he slid to ground.
MF Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Had a shot saved by Ederson after being played in by Rashford. Hurried City's midfield with his energy in the hole behind Martial.
FW Daniel James, 7 -- Stung Ederson's palms with a shot inside two minutes and his pace was always a threat on the counter-attack.
FW Marcus Rashford, 8 -- Won the penalty with a driving run into the box and took the ball off Martial to score from the spot. Electric in the first half.
FW Anthony Martial, 8 -- Solskjaer said Martial wouldn't start but then he did. Forced Ederson into a good save at his near post before doubling United's lead inside half an hour with a well-placed low drive.
MF Andreas Pereira -- N/R
DF Ashley Young -- N/R
DF Axel Tuanzebe --N/A