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3 things we learnt from Manchester derby as Solskjaer defeats Guardiola

Manchester United produced arguably their best performance in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as manager to defeat champions Manchester City at the Etihad.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were enough to seal victory for the Reds, who, in truth, could have scored a few more in a rampant first-half display.

Here’s three things we learnt from the Manchester Derby:

READ MORE:  Video: Wan-Bissaka highlights from monumental defensive effort in Manchester derby

Solskjaer a big game manager

For all the criticism the Norwegian has received for United dropping points against the ‘lesser teams’, his record against the so called ‘big opposition’ is mightily impressive. The pressure was on Solskjaer with many suggesting it could be a defining week in his managerial reign. And not even the most optimistic of United fans could have predicted consecutive wins against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the space of three days, particularly after the poor showing against Aston Villa.

Solskjaer is tactically astute when coming up against these sides and knows where United’s strengths lie. With Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, the United boss has a dangerous front three at his disposal perfect for punishing teams who have most of the possession.

But the focus now has to be putting away the teams that United should be getting three points against. United’s biggest weakness remains the lack of creativity in midfield which means the Reds struggle to break deep-lying defences down.

 

Fred finally looking the player United signed

Manchester United fans are finally starting to the see the player signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for £47m last summer. The Brazilian started his ninth consecutive game for the Reds at the Etihad, a ground in which he impressed when playing in the Champions League for Shakhtar two seasons ago.

It was an industrious showing from Fred, who produced his best performance in a Manchester United shirt just when United needed it. Alongside Scott McTominay in a midfield axis, Fred looks a far better player. His insightful passing and positivity in possession led to many of United’s successful counter attacks; Marcus Rashford should have doubled United’s lead after being found superbly by the Brazilian. Fred also broke up play well and put in a huge defensive shift as the Reds held on for victory at the end.

Lindelof proves the doubters wrong

The Swede has received his fair share of criticism in recent weeks from United fans, but his performances in the games against City and Spurs were almost flawless. While he gave away possession poorly on one occasion to instigate a City attack, this was just one isolated error and otherwise Lindelof was assured and composed against one of the best attacks in the league.

It’s easy to forget one of the most crucial moments in the game as well, with City piling the pressure on David De Gea’s goal early in the second-half as United looked to maintain their two-goal advantage. With Kevin de Bruyne bearing down on goal, it seemed inevitable the net would ripple, but the Swede’s last ditch tackle was an exceptional piece of defending.

Many fans have called for Axel Tuanzebe to get his chance alongside Maguire and while the youngster should be given more game time in cup competitions, Lindelof has justified Solskjaer’s faith in selecting him in the last two key victories.

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