United’s Battle: Rising from the Ashes or a Mere Mirage?

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United are 'on the up' despite derby

The age-old rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City took another twist recently. But what makes this particular match worth a deeper dive? Let’s unpack it.

Prelude: A Historic Rivalry

Manchester has always been a city divided by football passion. Red for United and Blue for City. This recent clash wasn’t just a game; it was a battle for bragging rights, a testament of tactics, and a showcase of individual brilliance.

Ten Hag’s Gamble: Team Selection

  • Jonny Evans was chosen ahead of Raphaël Varane in central defence.
  • Victor Lindelöf was positioned on the left, bypassing Sergio Reguilón.

For many, these choices were a gamble. They questioned: Was Ten Hag making a tactical decision or was there something we didn’t know? Unfortunately, the defence struggled, making these selections even more of a hot topic post-match.

Match Highlights

First Half: The game started toe-to-toe, with both teams equally dominant. The significant point of contention was the penalty decision. Rasmus Højlund’s challenge on Rodri led to Haaland taking the lead for City. Ten Hag opted for silence when questioned about the referee’s call.

Second Half: Manchester City, showing their Premier League champion pedigree, began to dominate. Their playmaking, fluidity, and speed were too much for United. They controlled the ball, and their shots at goal tripled that of United’s.

Man City68%183
Man Utd32%60

Erling Haaland emerged as the hero for City. His stellar performance resulted in two goals. Moreover, his emotional celebration brought back memories of an old feud involving his father from 2001. As he later revealed, the chants from United fans only fueled his motivation.

Erik ten Hag explains the two changes he's made at Manchester United after

Behind the Scoreline

While the scoreboard tilted heavily in City’s favour, Ten Hag believed the contest was closer than it seemed. He drew parallels to previous matches, indicating how United had always put up a competitive front.

Remembering the Past: The Cup final loss (2-1) and last season’s victory at Old Trafford for United were the benchmarks. Despite the recent defeat, Ten Hag’s belief in his team’s capabilities was unwavering.

Challenges at Old Trafford

The Theatre of Dreams hasn’t been too dreamy for United lately. Stats reflect a concerning trend:

  • Led for only 29 minutes in six games.
  • Third home league defeat of the season.

Yet, Ten Hag’s optimism shines through. He recalls the three consecutive victories prior to this match and is confident that injured players’ return will boost team morale and performance.

The City Maestro: Bernardo Silva

While Haaland grabbed headlines with his goals, another player silently orchestrated City’s play – Bernardo Silva. His skills and work ethic didn’t go unnoticed. Guardiola, City’s manager, lauded Silva for his simplicity off the pitch and brilliance on it. A nod to Silva’s choice of not sporting flashy accessories or driving luxury cars was a testament to the player’s grounded nature.

Reflecting on the Future

While the match’s result was a setback for United, the season is far from over. The lessons learned, tactical changes to consider, and players’ return from injuries can turn the tide.

For City, this win is a morale booster. Their tactics, teamwork, and individual brilliance worked in harmony, setting a precedent for the games to come.

In Conclusion

Football isn’t just about the 90 minutes on the pitch. It’s about strategies, emotions, past legacies, and future aspirations. This Manchester Derby had it all. As fans, analysts, and the teams reflect on this game, one thing is sure: the next encounter will be eagerly awaited, with lessons from this game playing a crucial role.

Football Expert Sam Mollnet
reviewed by: Sam Mollnet (Footbal Expert)

Share this article

More News
More links
Follow us