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Manchester United Pair Out of Their Depth: Key Takeaways as Red Devils Lose to Manchester City

Manchester United vs Manchester City Key Takeaways

Manchester United succumbed to a second-half Manchester City comeback to lose 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium after Marcus Rashford had opened the scoring in the first half with a sumptuous strike from the edge of the area. Here are the key takeaways from an encounter that promised much but delivered little from a United perspective.

 Key Takeaways as Manchester United Fall to Second-Half Manchester City Fightback

André Onana Finding His Feet

André Onana has come under fire in his first few months at Manchester United, notably being held responsible for the club’s disastrous Champions League campaign. An inspired save from a Phil Foden shot in the first half set the tone for a commanding performance from the Cameroonian, who also exhibited excellent distribution skills for Rashford’s opening goal.

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With that being said, it is possible he could have done slightly better with Phil Foden and Manchester City’s second goal, unable to keep the low strike out despite getting a good hand to the ball.

Rashford Big Chances

After an exceptional strike for the opening goal of the game, The Englishman had an opportunity to double United’s lead midway through the first half, but was unable to control the ball with his head which allowed Kyle Walker to steal in and clear.

Rashford’s performance felt symptomatic of United overall: One moment of individual brilliance followed by indecisiveness and frustration.

Lindelof’s Struggles

To be fair to the Swede, left-back is not his natural position, but he looked out of his depth all afternoon against a tandem of the magnificent Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva on Manchester City’s right-hand side. Lindelof is not a bad defender, but struggles a lot with direct runners and was run ragged this afternoon.

Dalot Improved

Diogo Dalot was one of Manchester United’s better performers today, as he has been all season. Indeed, the Portuguese could justifiably claim the right-back spot as his own even when Aaron Wan-Bissaka makes it back from injury absence.

Much improved defensively and always an outlet offensively, he offers a lot to Erik ten Hag’s team in victory and defeat.

Sofyan Amrabat, We Hardly Knew Ye

The Moroccan came into the general footballing conscience after managing to keep up with Kylian Mbappé playing for his country at the World Cup in 2022, but it seems that the Dutch-born midfielder has been left behind by just about everyone else since.

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His loan signing from Fiorentina was a move of desperation from a club without a recruitment plan and, whilst it must be acknowledged that he has often played out of position at left-back, his spell at Old Trafford will go down as a largely forgettable one, compounded in today’s game by being robbed of possession leading up to Erling Haaland’s victory-sealing goal.

The Final Key Takeaways

After going ahead early in this derby day encounter, Manchester United never really looked like taking the initiative and seeing out the win. Instead, they retreated, choosing to remain compact in defence in the hope of springing an occasional counter-attack, a plan which fell apart in the second half as the visitors struggled to get possession from a rampant Manchester City.

Despite another disappointing result, it should be remembered that Ten Hag has a plethora of injuries to contend with, including two of his starting back four and two important defensive understudies, as well as a £60 million midfield summer signing and the main striker and goal threat of the team.

United will not be judged on a result like today’s, a defeat against a team superior in all departments, and it is worth noting that the Red Devils have won seven of the past ten games in all competitions. Nevertheless, derby defeats will always hurt more and provoke yet another inquest amongst critics and fans alike.

Ten Hag’s side will look to bounce back next weekend, hosting Everton on Saturday, March 9 at 12:30PM GMT.


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