1) Manchester City deserved their win
As frustrating as it was to watch Manchester United fumble their way through today’s first half, it’s tough to take this victory away from Pep Guardiola. Manchester City completely outplayed United at times, and the Spaniard had his side set up perfectly to attack the home defence frequently and dangerously. They could have made the scoreline more emphatic had they been more lethal in front of goal, despite United’s improvement after the break.
2) Mourinho got his starting XI wrong
Starting Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard, who have both been returning from injuries in the past month was a risk on paper, and in practice. It didn’t pay off. Both gave the ball away with alarming regularity, and struggled to get into the game before being deservedly substituted at half time. That’s as much on Jose Mourinho as it is on them; the Portuguese manager had Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata fit and available, but didn’t call upon them until after United had fallen behind.
3) Marcus Rashford deserves to start
Having been dropped from the senior England squad, Marcus Rashford proceeded to score a hat-trick for the under-21s last week, but despite being fit and in form, Jesse Lingard was still preferred to him on the left of attack. His inclusion after half time proved why that was a mistake; he created and might have scored if it wasn’t for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s offside intervention. He looks hungry, dangerous and should be playing more for United.
4) Big signings fail to sparkle
It’s fair to say that none of United’s four signings this summer will have enjoyed their first proper Manchester derby. Indeed, only Eric Bailly can claim to have offered a genuinely good performance. Henrikh Mkhitaryan looked wildly off the pace and was rightly hooked at half time; Paul Pogba was fairly anonymous said for the occasional burst from midfield, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked mildly disinterested in proceedings, and, despite his first half strike, offered an inconsistent threat up front. As such, this afternoon’s match certainly wasn’t the best advert for their abilities.
5) Changes needed for midweek
United’s Europa League campaign kicks off on Thursday in Holland with a trip to Feyenoord, which offers a chance to rest several members of the team who looked dead on their feet by full-time today. It also provides an opportunity for the likes of Memphis Depay, Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford to show Mourinho what they can do, whilst the United boss can rest the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in preparation for next Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Watford.