Premier League 18/19, Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City: 5 players who cost United the game
- A look at which five player underperformed and cost United the derby at Old Trafford
Manchester United welcomed Manchester City to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in perhaps one of the most defining Manchester Derbies of recent times. The game between these two fierce rivals have always been entertaining and there's a lot more than just three points at stake when these two meet. However, this time, the game had far-reaching implications which made it even more intriguing.
Manchester City had been stretched to the wire by a resurgent Liverpool side in the Premier League title race. Jurgen Klopp's team was two points clear at the top of the table having played a game more, which meant that City needed a win at Old Trafford to reclaim their top place. With just three games left after this massive battle, Pep Guardiola knew that there was very little margin for error.
The situation was even more severe for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United needed a win themselves because a top-four place was looking increasingly hard to achieve. Even if they managed to win all of their remaining four games, the Red Devils could still miss out of a Champions League spot. The United coach made five changes to the team that lost 4-0 to Everton
De Gea continued in-goal, but Solskjaer reverted to a back five, consisting of Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Matteo Darmian, and Luke Shaw. The midfield had the unusual pairing of Fred, Andreas Pereira, and Pogba. Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford made up a front two.
United was the brighter of the two teams at the start of the game, but they could not trouble the visitors at all. The first half ended 0-0, but City picked up the pace in the second half. They took the lead through Bernardo Silva in the 54th minute. Leroy Sane doubled the lead in the 66th minute, as City won 2-0.
Here are 5 men who were extremely poor on the night and cost United the game.
The Brazilian was selected ahead of Matic to carry out the anchoring role in the middle of the park, but Fred never really took hold of the proceedings on the night. He was extremely slow on the ball and was also guilty of trying too hard at times.
The 26-year-old's outing was marred by miss-controls and miss-passes. The Brazilian was extremely poor in the center of the park and failed to carry out the job allotted to him. He could neither provide the defense with the necessary shield nor did he have any impact going forward. Fred failed to control the game from the middle of the park and allowed the City team to run riot past him.