Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City: 3 Reasons Why Red Devils were hammered at home in the derby | Carabao Cup 2019-20
Manchester United hosted Manchester City at Old Trafford in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal, as the Red Devils looked to register another famous victory against their cross-town rivals. Despite their underwhelming start to the Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side claimed bragging rights in enemy territory last month, as they recorded a stunning 2-0 victory against last season's treble domestic treble winners, a result that seemingly handed the initiative to Liverpool in the title race.
In stark contrast to their previous encounter against the Cityzens, Manchester United were taught a lesson on their home turf, as they crumbled to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat against a rampant Manchester City side. The reigning Premier League champions raced to 3-0 lead in the first half, as the home side were red-faced by the team they referred to as the noisy neighbours in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez in a whirlwind 15-minute spell in the first-half put the visitors in pole position, before the home side's misery was compounded by an Andreas Pereira own goal. A Marcus Rashford strike after the interval brought Manchester United back in the tie but the Red Devils are left with a mountain to climb in the second leg, as they failed to recover from City's first-half blitzkrieg.
As Solskjaer's side were put to the sword but the reigning winners of the competition, let's look at three talking points from the game.
3. Guardiola's decision to deploy a false 9 paid dividends
Pep Guardiola opted to name a starting XI without an out an out striker, as Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus found themselves on the bench. Bernardo Silva was deployed as a false 9 in what proved to be a masterstroke by the Spanish tactician, with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez stationed either side of him.
The 24-year-old broke the deadlock with a venomous strike from outside the area, as the ball rifled into the roof of the net past the despairing dive of David de Gea. Moments later, Silva was at it once again, as Mahrez latched onto his inch-perfect defence-splitting pass to round the keeper and slot the ball into an empty net. City kept growing in stature as the game progress and gained cruise control of the tie, as well worked move was inadvertently turned into his own net by Andreas Pereira to cap off a miserable half for the hosts.
The Cityzens were tactically set up to exploit Manchester United's lack of control in central areas and Guardiola's decisions to leave out two of his starting strikers paid dividends, as his side put on a show with an eye-catching brand of free-flowing attacking football.