Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola resumed their rivalry, this time in the English Premier League. The first Manchester derby of the season resulted in a well-deserved victory for the blue half of Manchester. Here are five things we learnt from the Manchester derby.
1) Hart-less Pep?
Much text has been spent on Joe Hart’s loan move to Torino FC. The man to replace him as Manchester City’s number one, Claudio Bravo, was flung into the far end.
Bravo ended up having a forgetful night, with multiple lapses and was one of the few blemishes on a brilliant City performance. He was duly punished by Zlatan when a Wayne Rooney free kick wasn’t cleared particularly well. The ball fell to Zlatan who expectedly deposited it at the back of the net.
Bravo looked highly uncomfortable on the ball, but one needs to consider his situation. It can’t be fun making your debut in front of the Stretford End, and it surely isn’t comfortable being the target of a six and a half feet hulk.
Bravo will be expected to improve. But as of now, questions will be raised, was Hart’s exile really necessary?
2) Time for specialists?
Mourinho is for not using players out of position. So when he was announced as Manchester United’s manager, one expected the likes of Valencia and Blind to be shunted out of the defence.
However, rather surprisingly, both retained their places, and could be said to have been thriving. However, it all came crashing down at the derby. Blind was made to look like a fool by De Bruyne for City’s opening goal.
Valencia was given a torrid time by Nolito throughout the first half and looked out of his depth. All of which begs the question. Is it time for Mourinho to recall the likes of Smalling and Darmian? Smalling was United’s best defender last season, while Darmian has reportedly fallen out with the new manager.
3) KDB is world class
The Belgian put in an outstanding display and was given a great ovation by the visiting fans when he was subbed late on. He pulled the strings from the beginning to the end and his manager would have been delighted by his performance.
He opened the scoring after a neat finish and it was his shot which rebounded from the woodwork and resulted in City’s second goal. He was once again denied by the woodwork in the dying stages of the match, but by that time he had done enough.
4) United have work to do
The honeymoon period is over for Jose Mourinho and he has a job on his hands. Moments of brilliance and some outstanding play by certain players had ensured nine points from the opening three games.
However, they were cruelly exposed by an efficient Manchester City side. Pep Guardiola’s team bossed the first half and could have scored even more goals. United did not create too many chances and failed to convert the others.
The likes of Lingard, Mkhitaryan and Fellaini were disappointing. Zlatan seemed to be trying too hard to score spectacular goals and even Pogba couldn’t impose himself on the opposition. Mourinho has some tough choices to make.
5) City look well settled
The scoreline depicts a difference of one goal, but that does not convey the true story. City were the far better team in spite of being without their talisman, Aguero.
Their play from midfield was especially threatening. Fernandinho provides solidity and that leaves the likes of De Bruyne and David Silva free to play their game. Their defence too managed to keep Zlatan at bay. The only point of concern seems to be the goalkeeper, but Pep has time to fix that.