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The brave new Manchester United

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
ANALYST

Manchester United sent shockwaves through the Premier League when they ended their cross-town rivals Manchester City's 21-match winning streak (15 in the Premier League) at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils were brilliant throughout the first half, with their rivals not even coming within sniffing distance of United's goalpost, which was manned by Dean Henderson.

In the last thirty minutes of the game, it seemed like Manchester City had found fresh legs. However, it was only after Luke Shaw had drilled home a stunner, capping off an exquisite showing by the English left-back.

Phil Foden's introduction seemed to ignite some passion among the Manchester City players but there was no real end product to speak of. Questions will be asked of manager Pep Guardiola's refusal to bring on Sergio Aguero in the second half.

However, one has to remember that City have a game midweek when they take on Southampton. There will be little sympathy for Guardiola's way if it turns out Aguero was rested to keep him fresh for an inconsequential encounter with the Saints.

Of course, the derby between Manchester City and Manchester United was of little consequence in terms of the league title, but the pride and bragging rights at stake would have affected the Spaniard's squad selection.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United are still eleven points off the top of the table and barring an exceptional implosion by Manchester City or an extraordinary surge by Leicester City, they should be able to finish the campaign in second place.

Only time will tell, but this victory of Manchester United's needs to be celebrated only for what it means during the moment. United were coming into the game on the back of three disappointing goalless draws against Real Sociedad, Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

Very little was expected of the Red Devils against their more noisy neighbors at the Etihad in the 185th Manchester derby on Sunday.

That they turned up to showcase an extremely dominating performance over the potential quadruple winners displays how well they have evolved under Solskjaer. In the last six times that these two teams have faced off against each other, Manchester United have been victorious on four occasions, drawing one and losing the other.

This is a significant improvement, and one that needs to be lauded tremendously by fans and spectators across the globe.

Luke Shaw was tremendous against Manchester City
Luke Shaw was tremendous against Manchester City

Business as usual for Manchester United

Bruno Fernandes, as usual, was brilliant at the heart of Manchester United's attack but the surprise package was Shaw. Although he has had a more than decent season so far, this goal really encapsulated everything that has been going right for him.

One needs to remember that the last time Shaw scored a top-flight goal was in the opening day encounter against Leicester City a couple of seasons ago. For him to go forward like the best of strikers, feed off a laid ball by Marcus Rashford and have the courage to drill it away from the reach of Ederson Moraes is a sign of his growing confidence and one that needs to be celebrated.

There is no doubt that the summer signing of Brazilian Alex Telles by Manchester United has reinvigorated Shaw, who had earlier been plagued by injuries. Here, Solskjaer's man-management skills need to be appreciated too.

Defenders Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were rock-solid at the back as well, giving confidence to the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay to go forward and press the ball in more efficient areas of offense.

This is a brave new Manchester United, who stand at 54 points in the league table at the moment in 28 games in which they have only lost four. They have the best record away from home in the league, and if not for Manchester City's otherworldly brilliance, would surely have had a shot at the Premier League trophy.

There is no need to look too far ahead, or reminisce about the past, but just enjoy what this new Manchester United offer on a day-to-day basis.

Edited by Rohit Mishra
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