Safe to say, this afternoon’s instalment was one of the best Manchester derbies of the Premier League era.
Admittedly, City could have ran away with it if Zlatan Ibrahimovic hadn’t latched onto an error inside the box to halve a 2-0 deficit just before the interval.
Nonetheless, both sets of fans, players and managers put more than 100% effort into today’s game and it was edge-of-the-seat stuff for all of those watching at home.
Whether matches are as entertaining as this one or a scoreless draw in the ninth tier of the English football pyramid, we at Football FanCast believe there’s something to be learned from every game.
With that in mind, here’s the FOUR lessons we took from today’s Manchester Derby – one of the most captivating contests ever between City and United.
There were two notable omissions from United’s starting line-up today – Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
The former is rated as one of the most promising youngsters in world football – although he’s admittedly struggled to deliver this season – whilst the latter was in sensational form ahead of today’s game, netting a winner against Hull City before bagging a hat-trick on his England U21s debut.
Yet, Jose Mourinho chose alternatives for the City clash and that speaks volumes about how his squads will be selected going forward, especially in regards to potential six-pointers.
However, this isn’t just a case of Mourinho-hates-young-players-copypasta, because an alternative United youngster did get the nod…
Jesse Lingard got the opportunity to impress on the left wing and although it wasn’t a fantastic performance from the 23-year-old, you can see why Jose Mourinho selected him for such an important game.
Indeed, the academy product is United through-and-through and phenomenally industrious, both in terms of tracking back and attacking space going forward. That mixture of work-rate and home-grown passion fits the Mourinho philosophy (and United’s) perfectly.
Likewise, Lingard has previous when it comes to the big occasion; he bagged sensational strikes in the FA Cup final and Community Shield; so we at FFC expect him to be called upon once again the next time United face a heavyweight opponent.
There was an incredible irony to Man United’s only goal of the afternoon; whilst Joe Hart was shipped off to Torino because of his floundering footwork, his replacement Claudio Bravo isn’t exactly outstanding in the air – in fact, he’s pretty terrible.
The Chile international came out to collect a relatively routine cross but found himself imposed upon by surrounding bodies and subsequently parried the ball down to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who volleyed it straight into the back of the net.
But don’t panic just yet, City fans. It wasn’t long ago Manchester United’s David De Gea was deemed too lightweight for the Premier League as he struggled to claim high balls. Just look at how he turned out!
Amid a somewhat unspectacular start to the season, there have been murmurings about Kevin De Bruyne being unconvinced by the brand of football Pep Guardiola has brought to the Etihad Stadium.
But the Belgium international was fully committed this afternoon and made a strong claim for Man of the Match after scoring the opener, inadvertently setting up Kelechi Iheanacho and hitting the woodwork once more.
All rumbles of KDB struggling to hit top form under Guardiola were completely eradicated throughout the course of the Manchester Derby. City have an incredibly special player at their disposal and I’m sure he’ll be at the forefront of Guardiola’s plans going forward.