Premier League 2018/19, Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City: 4 takeaways from the game
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had very little time to recover from the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Everton when he was pushed into the most demanding of fixtures - the Manchester Derby. The stakes were higher this time - United needed a win to keep alive their slim chances of making a top four finish, but it was not going to be easy.
Manchester City were on a record breaking run in the English Premier League. Liverpool's title challenge had brought the best out of Pep Guardiola's men, who had been unbeatable in the EPL of late. Wins in all of their remaining four games would assure Guardiola's side of the title no matter what Liverpool did and it was a run that started with the United game.
Solskjaer, as such, was aware of the threat that City possessed, but was desperate for three points himself. He named his team accordingly, making as many as several changes from the team that lost 4-0 to Everton.
The Norwegian opted for de Gea in goal, with Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Darmian and Shaw making up a defensive line and wing-backs. Fred and Andreas Pereira partnered Pogba in the midfield, while Lingard and Rashford were preferred as a front two.
Even though United were composed in the first half, goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane in the second half ultimately saw City win 2-0. While City were brilliant as always, Manchester United hardly did themselves any favour on the night. Here are four takeaways from the game that might have defined both United's and City's season.
#4 Solskjaer got his team selection wrong
When Solskjaer named his first eleven, there were two glaring misses from the team - Scott McTominay and Romelu Lukaku. The United midfield had lost its bite and competitiveness ever since Ander Herrera was sidelined with injury. In the Spaniard's absence, McTominay had been a shining light and the Scot had even been one of the best midfielders in the team of late. Against a rampant City side, McTominay should have been on the pitch.
On the other hand, United have been short of goals in recent times. Lukaku has been going through a goal drought in recent games, but he is the best chance United have of scoring a goal, given how poor every one else has been too. The striker has been underutilized by Solskjaer and the result spoke for itself. United failed to score once more, which saw them lose a home game at Old Trafford in the Premier League for the first time under Solskjaer.