Manchester United: A lot to think after derby day disappointment

Manchester United has been dominated over Manchester City for countless number of years. But it is in the past decade or so the pendulum of dominance has been tilting towards the blue side.

The gulf between City and United had been slowly growing since the last few years, but on Sunday, Manchester City clearly demonstrated how large the difference truly is.

It was men against boys at the Etihad on Sunday, and all of United’s frailties were exposed by Pep Guardiola’s side.

The match ended – Manchester City scoring 4 and Ronaldo less United scoring 1.

Story of the match

The match had an explosive start as Kevin De Bruyne made it 1-0 to Manchester City in the 5th min of the game.

Bernardo Silva put a simple grounded pass into the box, De Bruyne reacted first and slotted it past Maguire’s legs to make it 1-0 to the home side.

The United team provided its fans a glimmer of hope as the City graduate scored for the red devils on a counter and equalized.

Jadon Sancho’s wonderful goal beat Ederson with 22 min on the clock. A curling effort from outside the box found the bottom right corner and the Red Devils were back in the game.

United’s momentum was quickly derailed as Kevin De Bruyne took the lead for the home team for the second time just after 6 min of Jadon Sancho scoring.

The half ended – Manchester City leading by 2-1.

After a decent first-half performance, United fans must have anticipated an even stronger display in the second half, but on the contrary, United failed to have even a single shot on the City goal. While completing only 16 passes In the final 10 minutes of the match!

Mahrez put the game out of United’s reach as he scored sumptuously on a half volley from a direct Kevin De Bruyne’s corner kick on the 68th min.

Mahrez applied the finishing touches by scoring in the stoppage time to make the score 4-1. The goal was initially chopped off by the linesman but a VAR check deemed the effort to be onside.

The referee blew the whistle shortly after, ending United’s misery on derby day. It was a performance to forget for Manchester United.

The Ronaldo Factor

Yes, Ronaldo was not included in the squad for Manchester United. Rangnick had declared him to be injured and he was not available for selection.

But even if Ronaldo would have been present at the Etihad, it’s hard to argue that the scoreline would have been any different. United’s problems are far deep than one man being the solution.

After Man City scored the 3rd, United stopped playing. They completely gave up after the goal. Yes, Manchester City is miles ahead in terms of quality and quantity but putting an effort is the least United could have done.

They stopped running, their heads dropped and it felt like United had accepted its derby day fate. They gave up 22 min before the game concluded.

Now that is something, that even the presence of Ronaldo would have made no difference on the result.

Top 4 hopes

Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top 4 are getting slimmer and slimmer with each match day.

If we were to assume that Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea were to remain in the top 4 until the end of the season, that leaves one spot for the taking.

United’s competition for that final berth is West Ham, Tottenham, and Arsenal. And out of the 4 clubs, it’s looking increasingly likely that it would be the Gunners to seal the final spot.

United is 5th on the table and a point behind Arsenal, but Mikel Arteta’s men have a staggering 3 games in hand.

United shouldn’t give up but their chances of playing in the Champions League next season are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Anything positive?

Franky, for United there are no positives to take from Sunday’s game. They are nowhere close to being like the old United and nowhere close to competing with their neighbors.

United has many problems on and off the field that need to be addressed before the Red Devils can start the rebuilt for the 1000th time in the last 9 years.

The only positive for United is that they are so far down that the only way they can go now is up.

They need to see off this season and then start rebuilding by getting rid of players who do not deserve to play for United. And signing a world-class manager who can instill some kind of a change.

The ride ahead is turbulent but it’s not like it was any smooth sailing earlier!