Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City: 3 observations from the game | Carabao Cup 2019-20
Manchester United hosted Manchester City for the first leg of the semifinal in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night. The home side came into the game on the back of a draw against Wolves in the FA Cup, while the away side won their previous game against Port Vale.
The match started with Manchester City dominating possession as expected and Manchester United trying to catch them on the break. The away side took an early lead, thanks to a stunning individual goal from Bernardo Silva as he found the top corner from about 25 yards.
Before United could even regroup themselves from the setback, City scored again, this time through Riyad Mahrez, who finished his chance impeccably after he was found by Silva.
Right after that, the away side tripled their advantage after Kevin de Bruyne's shot was saved by David de Gea but the ball deflected off Andreas Pereira and found the back of the net.
It was an atrocious first-half performance from Manchester United. In the second period, the home side looked a tad bit better after Nemanja Matic came on. They scored through Marcus Rashford, who finished a move that was started by Angel Gomes and assisted by Mason Greenwood.
United tried all they could to mount a comeback but Rashford's goal turned out to be a consolation. Now, the Red Devils have their work cut out in the second leg as it is never easy to beat City in their own backyard. In this piece, we are going to take a look at the three observations from the game.
#3 Manchester United looked so much better in a 4-3-3 in the second half
After a horrendous first half, where there wasn't much positive to say about Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought on Nemanja Matic for Jesse Lingard and switched the formation from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3.
The impact it had could be seen instantly as the Red Devils were keeping the ball better and creating more chances. It was something Solskjaer should have done much earlier in the game and it seems the players are struggling to get to grips with the 4-2-3-1 formation and seem more comfortable in a three-man midfield.
Furthermore, the 4-2-3-1 doesn't work because of the lack of a proper No.10 with Jesse Lingard and Pereira failing in the role. If Solskjaer wants to continue playing that formation, he needs to bring in a creative midfielder in January or else United will almost always lose the battle in midfield, which they did against City.