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Man U vs. Man City result 0-2 Defeat: City’s domination of Ronaldo & Co. at Old Trafford gets fans reeling against Manager, Solskjaer

  • Man United have lost three of their last four Premier League games and were thoroughly outclassed by Man City on a day fans expressed their disapproval of the manager
  • Defeat causes change in mood from some Manchester United matchgoers towards Solskjaer

It finished 2-0, but it was never really that close. Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City comfortably won this season’s first Manchester derby, dominating the possession and scoring chances at Old Trafford. The visitors capitalized on two Manchester United mistakes to move to within two points of first place.

A 7th minute own goal by Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, and a Bernardo Silva goal at the stroke of halftime capped a comprehensive first-half performance by the visitors. Then City managed the second half, often controlling possession and keeping Man United at bay. The Red Devils brought on three attacking subs, but they could not affect the match, and Man United meekly succumbed to their rivals.

The result keeps Manchester City in the English Premier League title race, but by the time the day is up Manchester United could find itself off the pace from league-leading Chelsea by as many as double digits. With Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City flying ahead after 11 matches of the 38-game season, Man United could be forced to settle for a battle for fourth place and the Champions League berth that comes with it.

Man United came out with a 3-5-2 formation, but the Red Devils were immediately pinned back and failed to disrupt Man City with any meaningful pressure. After the own goal by Bailly on a failed clearance, only Spanish netminder David De Gea prevented the deficit from ballooning with several spectacular stops. The second goal just before halftime was deserved for Man City, and it was emblematic of United’s poor play on the day. Luke Shaw allowed a cross to reach Silva and De Gea bumbled the save attempt at the near post.

Despite a change in formation after the break to a 4-2-3-1, the second half felt like more of a training exercise for Man City. Man United enjoyed slightly more possession than in the first half, but despite the entrance of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rasford and Donny van de Beek, it never troubled Man City. The visitors were closer to scoring a third and arguably should have had a penalty kick with two minutes left in the game. 

“We started the game off badly, of course. Passive. And when they get the first goal, it was always going to be a difficult game anyway,” said under-fire Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “[Man City] played well, of course. They don’t give you the opportunity to win the ball off them. Some praise goes to them, but we were not at our level. The standard needs to be raised.”  

But the Manchester Evening News captured the mood of the fans and its angst in its report of the match.

According to the newspaper: “The only rendition of ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ was from the away followers and the half-time and full-time shrills were soundtracked to boos. We have been here before with Manchester United. Just 13 days ago.

“Nothing has not changed and nothing will until The Change is made. The chasm between the Manchester clubs had not been this wide in a derby since Solskjaer’s first year as permanent manager.

“This was supposed to be the season United emerged as championship challengers when this was a contest between challengers and also-rans. United appeared flummoxed by City’s innovation and fluidity from kick-off and, like their manager, were merely clinging on for salvation from Cristiano Ronaldo. It did not arrive.

“We’re Man United and we’re never gonna stop,” the supporters sang defiantly. Only United have stopped. Their challenge this season is over before it has started and the game petered out to City fans calling for ‘five more years’ and serenading Solskjaer. A minority of United fans appeared to boo Solskjaer as he approached the tunnel.

“Those United supporters who made for the exits before full-time had ‘you’ve seen the champions, now f–k off home’ ringing in their ears. If the title stays in Manchester, it will be housed in the Etihad trophy cabinet.”

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