Manchester Derby even after various snubs in the Rangnick’s team model today hardly made any difference as the Champions were ruthless and absolutely battered their arch rivals with a phenomenal show (City scored more than 1 than we predicted). Pep’s genius on the other end, worked positively in a big game as it mostly does and his managing of team was superb. While Manchester United’s defense tonight had a “Hall Of Shame” performance especially the Captain Harry Maguire, though the attack was equally spineless in the 2nd half as United attempted ZERO shots at Ederson. Here are 5 key things we can take away from this game today. (Click here for highlights)
1. Neither Kevin De Bruyne nor Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden is your Player Of The Game in Manchester Derby –
Phil Foden is in the crop of some of the best young prodigies in the world and today he just showed it yet again on the grand stage of Manchester Derby. Though without any Goal or Assist he was pivotal to Manchester City’s win. His flexible False 9 positioning allowed De Bruyne to sneak in sleepy United’s defense and punish them twice. He was dropping deep to cover for spaces left by Silva and KDB to assist Rodri defensively and put a phenomenal work rate to assist Pep’s flexible attacking flow. He diverted the attention of United’s Maguire for the 1st goal as False 9 so that KDB can steal a shot and give De Gea no chance whatsoever, then a beautiful flick to open up Maguire again for City’s 2nd goal. He was breathing on the neck of United’s back 4 every time he was playing Central in attacking. Toyed once with Wan Bissaka and Telles as well and was able to steal the balls due to his ambitious pressing rate. Both of KDB’s goals were not aesthetic as per his standards and Riyad Mahrez sealed the deal when City were already leading, therefore in terms of impact, Phil Foden is our “Player Of The Match”.
2. Forget Captaincy, Harry Maguire is not even a Starting 11 material after Manchester Derby –
Yeah we get it, it’s a cliché. But that is the graph of Harry Maguire’s performances going down with every passing day. This Manchester Derby was a stern test for him and he was dissappointing. He was nutmegged for both 1st and 2nd goals today, was toyed so many times by City’s forwards, his tackling standards no where measures quality of a top Center Back. In short, if not 4th behind Bailey, Maguire is definitely behind Varane and Lindelof in current United’s Center backs race. No ambition, average performances. A team looks at the captain for inspiration but here team needs to pray that Maguire doesn’t make an error every time he’s on the ball. And a reminder that Manchester United signed him fom Leicester City for £80m.
3. David De Gea’s replacement needs to be signed –
An excellent shot stopper, absolutely no doubt about that. But the modern game requires more than that and the ball distribution trait of De Gea is average at best. He’s definitely the reason why United conceded only 4 goals but the 4th goal came because of his poor ball distribution that was intercepted by Gundogan and eventually converted to goal by Mahrez. His ball distribution trait has been exposed this season a lot and is going under to radar. With Dean Henderson probably leaving due to being 2nd choice goalkeeper, United needs a fresh goal keeper to suit the modern day traits but then again no Goalkeeper will fill in the boots better than him with such shambolic defense as today. Here is a video of his awful distribution this season.
4. Bernardo Silva, another unsung hero of City’s win –
Silva, who was playing as a False 9 for some time now was given a chance as a left CAM (Center Attacking Mid) today and boy he stood for Pep’s trust. Wrecking havoc on the left side along with Grealish and Cancelo, his ambitious overlapping runs and aggressive pressing as he usually does never let Wan Bissaka settled on the right side of defense and those crosses were brilliant. Combine them with assist for 1st goal, his 5/6 completed dribbles and 2 interceptions. Silva was equally pivotal tactically for the Manchester Derby win just like Foden. Portugal Fans will be hoping that the City star shows the same energy when Portugal enters for World Cup playoffs at the end of March.
5. When Pep Guardiola gets it right, others can watch and applaud –
Playing without a striker already, the Spanish Manager was tested early before the game when Ruben Dias was injured, the best City defender since he has joined them in 2020. But the ruthlessness wasn’t affected and Pep flexed his tactical muscles yet again. The guy is playing unprecedented football system, barring some of his mind boggling decisions in big games he is leaving legacy as one of the greatest managers of all time. High line defense, air tight pressing, no number 9, dominant ball possession, fluid passing, passion, panache and the hunger of never satisfying is what makes Pep what he is. And today he just outclassed another big coach again in Rangnick as he has done with Tuchel already twice this season and now looks to do it against Klopp. His flexibility is attack is beautiful to see and no one knows which rabbit will he pull out of his hat on the given day. Pep is what makes this Manchester City team a blockbuster, a blue chip investment and possibly Premier League Champions yet again…