The Manchester Derby

Pre-Match Line-Up Analysis:


To begin with, we’re fairly happy with this line up. We’re slightly shocked about Valencia starting over Matteo Darmian. Maybe LVG’s thoughts were that Valencia would then be able to match Sterling’s pace. However, Valencia isn’t good enough at set pieces and is not defensively sound in a 1 on 1 situation. Choosing Jones over Blind seems like a good decision as Bony is a physical striker so it’s important that we don’t have a weak link in our back line. The Schmidfield is starting. This will either be a complete failure or a huge success. Hopefully the latter. Ander Herrera at CAM is a great decision in our opinion. He has the creativity to make good chances and he is also a very good attacking player. The main controversial decision by Louis Van Gaal is playing Martial on the left wing. He’s been in great form recently and as we saw from his debut, he’s fast and can tear centre backs apart. However, as we learnt the hard way against CSKA, he’s not good enough defensively. Wayne Rooney starting up front still after a poor run of form shows that LVG is determined not to drop our skipper. However, we will soon learn whether this is a huge mistake or not. One thing that is on our side is that Memphis can come off the bench and change the game. LVG has made a statement by benching him for all these games. This shows that Van Gaal does not want Memphis to become another Di Maria/Falcao. 

First Half Analysis

There were no clear cut chances in the first half. Both teams were compact in their defending. There were two stand out player during the first half for us: Marcos Rojo and Anthony Martial. To begin with, Marcos Rojo has been defensively sound. Nothing has been able to get passed him and he’s had De Bruyne in his back pocket. He has also been a threat going forwards occasionally, whipping in a few good crosses. Also, on the other end of the back line, Valencia has been destroying Sterling. Every battle has been won by Valencia and Sterling can’t seem to find a way past him. Valencia has been decent going forward but as expected, he can’t produce any pin-point crosses and he does seem to be going forward quite a bit. Our three in centre midfield have been doing well cutting out passes from City’s midfield. Juan Mata has been finding it hard to find a way into this game. Towards the end of the first half he gave away a needless free kick in our half after he lost the ball. Anthony Martial has been absolutely amazing. Whenever he gets the ball, he isn’t afraid to tack on Sagna and produce some magic. However, we need to get the ball to him more often, his pace and skills are frightening for defenders. Up top, Wayne Rooney has been dropping deep to get the ball. He hasn’t really had many chances but as a single striker, he needs to do a bit more. 

Second Half Analysis

No goals either in the second half and it was clear that both teams were content with a point each. Manchester United were clearly the better team in the second half. City had no chances at all. On the other hand, Manchester United had two very good chances. The first chance was a Kolarov mistake which left Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney free in the box against Joe Hart. As the cross came in, Jesse Lingard took it first time and tried to dip the ball over Joe Hart into the net. It was so close and he just hit the crossbar. The second chance came from a free kick which was floated in towards Fellaini, who then headed it down for Chris Smalling, who shot the ball towards the bottom right corner of the goal. But, Joe Hart done well to get down and save it. Jesse Lingard was lively when he came on for Mata but I was shocked to see Memphis as an unused sub. Maybe LVG will start him during the week in the Capital One Cup against Middlesbrough. City’s best player on the pitch was Otamendi who was defensively solid. Valencia came off having taken a knock earlier in the first half. He was replaced by Matteo Darmian who done the job reasonably well. 

Overall Analysis

This was overall not a bad result. One thing that we think is very important is that Martial should be moved into the centre forward position and Rooney (even though he didn’t have a bad game today) should be benched as we can’t afford to accommodate him if it isn’t benefiting our team. Martial was our best attacking threat on the pitch, consistently holding off the defenders and creating chances. As a team, we do need to make more runs into the box. Jesse Lingard was the spark that we needed earlier today. Maybe we should’ve been braver towards the end because we needed the three points more than they did. On the plus side, we were passing the ball around much quicker and we were more direct than when we played against Arsenal. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Juan Mata couldn’t fit into this game which is why he was taken off. He is arguably our most creative player. Therefore, we should’ve played him more centrally instead of wide. He thrives when he comes into a more central position and that’s why he often tries to drift more into the centre. Overall, the performance was good from Manchester United. It wasn’t a great attacking display but we were defensively sound against an attack that are known to tear defences apart every week.

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