Five Things We Learnt From the Manchester Derby

Five Things We Learnt From the Manchester Derby

For Manchester United fans, it was the perfect away day. A gritty and at times nail-biting victory against neighbours and rivals Manchester City in one of the most important Manchester derbies in recent years is something the fans would cherish for years. It was eventful and certainly not as dull as the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford as I recall. These are my five important points concerning both the sides after the pivotal fixture in Manchester as top four hopes go.

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Manchester City will need to regroup very quickly

In a season that has been far from a success, Manuel Pellegrini’s Man City suffered their latest blow at the hands of arch rivals – in terms of geography and league positions, Manchester United. The defeat was made worse when arguably their best player in 2016, Joe Hart, got stretchered off after a dismal and careless back pass from Demichelis that saw him come off the line to clear the ball away from Martial’s prying feet, causing the calf strain he endured later. This is their 4th defeat in the last 6 games in the league and with them definitely out of the race for the title, it looks they will have to do well to avoid dropping further down and out of top four as West Ham United and Manchester United look to pile the pressure on the blue half of Manchester.

Louis Van Gaal has not lost the dressing room yet 

It’s hard to assume that the Dutchman, despite a season flattering to deceive, has lost the dressing room when his youth-inspired Manchester United can produce fighting results like this. It was a performance very similar to the 3-2 win against Arsenal – full of passion, determination and a will to win dragging them through the finish more than the quality. United held on right till the end with David De Gea well protected by the defensive pair of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind winning them a vital game, at this stage if the season, they simply had to win.

Manchester City are half the side without Vincent Kompany 

Manchester City were shocking at the back against United, clearly unable to handle the pressure of Rashford, Martial and Lingard up top, and it was easy to tell why. Kompany, the leader, and ever-composed, be it a set-piece City have to defend or a one-on-one situation against raw pace. Demichelis was clearly out of his depth and the misery was only compounded by Rashford who ran him ragged pretty much the entire game – more so when one of those savage runs into the box produced the winner.

Rashford and Martial can fire United to a top four finish

Manchester United have been amazingly hot and cold this season. Hot against teams you’d never expect them to win and cold in pretty much every other ordinary team in the country. Ever since Rashford made his debut – against Midtjylland, United have looked threatening at the business end of the pitch which is good news for the fans. They ended up scoring five in that game and three against Arsenal with the 18-year old getting a memorable brace but he’d arguably scored his most important goal of the season on Sunday – against a team he’d have always wanted to score against – being a Manchester United fan himself. In the context of the season and what it could mean come May, this goal could be hailed as the one that turned it around. Only if they don’t find new ways to bottle it against Everton at home after the international break.

Manchester United’s most important player in the coming games is not David De Gea 

Some fans claim that this was Morgan Schneiderlin’s best game in the middle of the park. This is the sort of a game he was bought for – a tough place to go to and get a result at, against a team that tends to dominate the midfield more often than not. The Frenchman was immaculate in his pressing and interceptions against City – kept the dynamic duo of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure quiet for most parts of the game. It’s imperative that he plays each and every game for United in the middle, protect the back four that often looks vulnerable especially on the break, to ensure they get over the line with all three points between now and May.