Daniel James

Player Ratings from Man City 1-2 Manchester United

Leave a comment

It was even closer than it looked, but Manchester United held on to defeat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: RecapJPW’s 3 things ]

It’s a significant jolt for the Red Devils and boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who bewildered City’s backs with lightning quick counters.

Were it not for Ederson, it might’ve been the sort of result that raised worldwide eyebrows. Heck, it probably is, anyway.

Here’s how the players fared as City out shot its guests 22-11 and held onto 71 percent of the ball only to lose the match.

Manchester City

Ederson — 7 — Kept City in the match early, but would’ve liked to have gotten his paw to Martial’s goal.

Kyle Walker — 7 — Quite effective at both ends, including a great intervention in the first half.

John Stones (Off 59′) — 6 — Not involved in either conceded goal before leaving with injury.

Fernandinho — 5 — Not his day.

Angelino — 6 — Lively, but will have wanted to do better on Martial’s goal.

Rodri (Off 86′)– 7 — City’s best player, with four interceptions, more tidy passing, and decisive wins in some big 50-50 challenges.

David Silva — 7 — Four key passes and two shots on target as a promising part of the attack.

Kevin De Bruyne — 7 — A fairly brilliant performance that would normally have netted an assist or two; Five key passes to go with 117 touches.

Bernardo Silva (Off 65′) — 5 — Conceded a poor penalty to Rashford; Won some duels but didn’t manage shot on target.

Raheem Sterling — 6 — Lively, but not his starring self.

Gabriel Jesus — 5 — A pretty terrible day filling in for Sergio Aguero.

Subs

Pep’s subs made a difference, led by goal scorer Nicolas Otamendi (59′). who gets an 8.

Riyad Mahrez (65′) — 7. Ilkay Gundogan (86′) — N/A


Manchester United

David De Gea — 6 — Four saves, one of them great, but failed to claim the corner that became Otamendi’s goal.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 8 — United got it right when they splashed the cash to bring this one from Crystal Palace. Might’ve saved a goal off a bad Lindelof giveaway.

Victor Lindelof — 7 — A couple of very dicey moments including a bad giveaway, but overall played his part.

Harry Maguire — 7 — Eight clearances, three interceptions, two tackles, and a blocked shot but to blame along with De Gea for the goal.

Luke Shaw (Off 89′) — 6 — A little wobbly and weary as the match wore on, but credited with six clearances.

Fred — 7 — Had a banner day offensively, dribbling well in tight spaces (4-for-4). Amazing he kept his composure while being racially abused and pelted with objects. Reprehensible.

Scott McTominay — 9 — Outstanding. Won 12 of 15 duels, drew five fouls, and made three interceptions to go with three tackles.

Daniel James — 7 — An efficient day, with some early moments of attacking power.

Marcus Rashford — 7 — Coming into his own.

Jesse Lingard (Off 89′) — 5 — Did very little on the day, one of the only odd and unrewarded decisions from Solskjaer

Anthony Martial (Off 74′) — 7 — Did well to get his shot away for United’s second goal, but that really his only moment of influence on the match.

Subs 

Andreas Pereira (74′) — 5 — Pretty poor from the Brazilian, who had a petulant foul or two on the day.

Ashley Young (89′) — N/A; Axel Tuanzebe (89′) — N/A.

Man United show how they can catch up

Leave a comment

MANCHESTER — The way Manchester United tore through Man City, especially in the first half, proved they can close the gap to those challenging for the Premier League title.

For large spells their attacking unit was reminiscent of a scalpel slicing effortlessly through Man City’s buttery defense.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

This season they’ve now beaten four of the five teams above them in Man City, Leicester City, Chelsea and Tottenham and are the only team to take points off Liverpool, as they sit five points off the top four approaching the halfway point.

The main reason they aren’t in the top four is because they’ve dropped points against teams further down the table who sit back and don’t allow them to play the way they want to.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side rose to the big occasion to beat the reigning champions, but was it as simple as that? It’s more about Man United’s style of play and the blueprint put in place and showcased by their swaggering, speedy demolition of Man City.

United are better suited to playing against the better teams with their counter attacks a well-oiled machine and teams who leave them space on the break do so at their peril.

City found that out the hard way as they did just that and the quartet of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Jesse Lingard were unstoppable.

“We could have had more goals and seen the game out. It was a tough win and I think it will help us a lot going forward,” Rashford, the chief architect in Man City’s downfall, said. “That first 30 minutes was terrific and what we played to do, the challenge is if we can do that for 80 or 90 minutes.”

If this was a glimpse into the future for Man United, it is one which proves they can indeed close the gap on Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham ahead of them.

Pep Guardiola admitted afterwards that it is “not possible to control” United’s front four, led by the irresistible Rashford.

“You cannot deny their quality when they run, they defend deep and then James and Rashford on the break…” Guardiola added.

Liverpool’s high-press bullies team. Man City’s ball possession drains opponents. Chelsea’s young attackers dazzle. Tottenham’s power and pace often sees them through.

For Man United the way forward is clear. Launch counters and use pace and quick passing to make the most of mistakes from the opposition. The balance in midfield was also spot on, with Scott McTominay and Fred doing their best to spring counters and support the back four in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

“I was so happy with the way we started the game,” Solskjaer said. “It looked like we would score every time we went forward. We go for the goal, went for the kill if you like… Quick, attacking, flowing football with the right intent.”

Solskjaer has a plan, and that all came to fruition on Saturday at Man City. It proves that progress is being made and Man United are finally making a move in the right direction.

“We’ve worked on it ever since I came to the club because that is Man United,” Solskjaer said when asked bout counter-attacking. “When we win it there is no use on keeping it or putting it back to the goalkeeper if we can play through them, with great intent of passing forwards. I wouldn’t want James, Rashford, Martial or Lingard running at me.”

If their front three stay fit and teams continue to not pay them respect on the counter, the Red Devils will surely come very close to finishing in the top four this season.

Better than that, there’s a clear masterplan. One which works and just needs fine tuning against teams who sit back with 10 men behind the ball.

“Our player get confirmation on the direction we are going,” Solskjaer beamed. “We do look like a Man United team. That is the biggest thing for me.”

Manchester United claims derby honors at Man City

1 Comment

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s incredible week continued with Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat of Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils beat Tottenham and their derby rivals City in a span of four days, and now sit fifth in the table on 24 points. That’s five points back of fourth place Chelsea, and eight back of City.

[ MORE: JPW’s 3 things learned at the Etihad ]

City is a stunning 14 points back of leaders Liverpool.


Man City worries

1. Etihad embarrassment from fans: Manchester United led 2-0 in the 66th minute when they couldn’t manage to take a corner kick due to lighters and other objects being thrown at Fred, one hitting him in the head. A remonstrations from referee Anthony Taylor stopped the object tossing, but it’s a certain black eye for the home fans.

UPDATE: Video appears to show Jesse Lingard and Fred being racially abused by a fan making monkey gestures during the incident. Man City has released an incident on the matter. Read more here.

2. City has lost its nerve: Yes, these are the two-time defending champions of England, but the amount of complaints coming from the home side was stunning. The reactions during times of trouble have not been that of a typical Pep Guardiola side, assured of its eventual perch at the end of a match. Being second (or third) is not suiting City.

3. Another CB lost? With Aymeric Laporte still out for another couple months, City saw John Stones forced off in the 59th minute with injury. That brought Nicolas Otamendi into the fray alongside Fernandinho.

Man Utd marvels

1. Rashford: He’s totally tapping into his potential, and working so much better out wide than up the middle.

2. McTominay: He’s come from nowhere to become a vital part of everything they do. Won 12 of 15 duels, drew five fouls, and made three interceptions to go with three tackles.

3. Solskjaer: Again missing Pogba, the only foot Solskjaer put wrong at the home of a major rival was starting Jesse Lingard. Organized and patient in another banner day for the Norwegian.

Man of the Match: McTominay


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Daniel James forced a fine save out of Ederson in the first minute, while Kyle Walker stymied a would-be Anthony Martial breakaway with pace and a tackle.

Jesse Lingard was the next to trouble Ederson, United clearly up to the challenge of an away derby in the first 10 minutes.

Ederson saved from Martial in the 16th minute as the Red Devils continued to fly on the counter attack. City had all of the ball, but not much of the threat.

Referee Anthony Taylor waved away penalty claims when Bernardo Silva chopped down Rashford, but VAR did its job in properly awarding the attempt. Rashford converted it for his 10th goal in 11 matches.

Rashford flubbed a chance to make it 2-0n in the 25th, City wide open at the back.

That’s when Martial made it 2-0, cranking a shot off the near post and past Ederson.

Man City finally started to look dangerous after the half-hour mark, with David Silva pumping a shot into the gut of David De Gea.

Kyle Walker’s stoppage time cross was blocked by the arm of a sliding Fred, but only a corner kick arrived after VAR had a look.

City was better in the second half, with Kevin De Bruyne seeing a shot deflect out for a corner in the 55th.

Raheem Sterling picked the pocket of Victor Lindelof, and was traced through the 18 by Aaron Wan-Bissaka en route to a corner kick.

De Gea flew through the air to deny Rodri a goal in the 64th, and Wan-Bissaka blocked an Angelino shot 11 minutes later.

Otamendi powered a header home off a corner kick when Maguire was slow to react.

That really opened things up, and De Gea stopped Mahrez on a shot through traffic.

Three things we learned: Man City v. Man United

1 Comment

MANCHESTER — Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with the Red Devils ripping apart the reigning Premier League champions on the counter.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored the goals for United in the first half as City huffed and puffed but uncharacteristically failed to have a cutting edge in the final third, as Nicolas Otamendi’s late header was no more than a consolation.

Pep Guardiola‘s side are now 14 points off leaders Liverpool, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s Man United are five points off the top four and have basically ended the title hopes of their crosstown rivals.

What did we learn from a wild Manchester Derby?


UNITED’S COUNTER ATTACK UNSTOPPABLE

Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were all denied by Ederson in the first 15 minutes and Marcus Rashford was the chief architect of United’s rapid counter attacks. It was a sign of things to come. Rashford dazzled throughout as his pace and killer passes took City’s entire defense out of the game.

United plan to be a counter-attacking team under Solskjaer and this was the perfect example of what they can become under the Norwegian coach. Everything clicked going forward as the movement and pace of Martial, James, Rashford and Lingard was a thing of beauty. United were unstoppable.


VAR CONTROVERSY ONCE AGAIN

For Man United’s penalty kick which led to their first goal VAR worked a treat. Rashford was clipped by Bernardo Silva and replays showed there was clear contact. You can have no arguments that a penalty was awarded, even though a decision going against them seemed to totally put them off their game. Then, for City, they felt even more aggrieved.

For a penalty decision right on half time VAR didn’t work so well…

Fred handled the ball in the box with his outstretched arm while he was on the floor and his hand clearly blocked the path of the ball which would have gone into the box and towards Man City’s attackers. Pep Guardiola and his players were livid, and rightly so, as VAR was put in place for key moments like this. In the first half it delivered, in the second half it did not.


CITY’S TITLE HOPES OVER; AGUERO BADLY MISSED

Man City are now 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and that is pretty much that for their hopes of winning the Premier League title for a third-straight season. All season their defensive injuries and general shoddiness at the back has suggested a title win was unlikely, and that come to the fore on Saturday as Man United ruthlessly exposed their defensive weaknesses.

At the other end, scoring goals is never usually a problem, but they missed all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero. His injury meant that Gabriel Jesus was thrust into the spotlight and quite incredibley the Brazilian striker hasn’t scored in any home game this season. All seven of his goals have come away from the Etihad and his movement was just off as Man United’s center back pairing of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire marshalled him with ease.

Jesus sent a diving header wide from Kevin De Bruyne‘s superb cross in the first half, then David Silva missed a chance off balance at the back post and Riyad Mahrez couldn’t bundle home from a similar position. Usually Aguero finds a way, especially in the big games, and nobody stepped up to fill his shoes on Saturday. City are now probably best set on focusing on winning the UEFA Champions League this season and to finish in the top four.

Rashford ruins Mourinho’s Old Trafford return

Leave a comment

Marcus Rashford scored twice to ruin Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford, as Manchester United topped Spurs 2-1 on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The win propelled United ahead of Spurs and into sixth place, eight points back of the Top Four.

Dele Alli scored a wonderful goal for Tottenham, who drops into eight with 20 points.


Three things we learned

1. Rashford ruins reunion in eye-popping fashion: Put simply, Rashford was everywhere. The English center forward scored twice, the second a conversion of a penalty he won. He also smashed a distance shot that Paulo Gazzaniga saved in outstanding fashion, and completed five dribbles. A forceful day.

2. McTominay all important to banner moment for under-fire Solskjaer: Mourinho brought Scott McTominay into United’s first team, and will rue how influential the Scottish international was in marshaling the hosts’ midfield. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s future has been in question, but his game plan worked despite the absences of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. It’s a very good moment for the Norwegian’s hopes of extending life at Old Trafford.

3. Maguire, Lindelof put clamps on Kane : Tottenham’s star center forward had an awful day at the office, completing under 60 percent of his passes and managing two shots: one off target and another blocked by United.

Man of the Match: Rashford.


United took the lead when Jesse Lingard back heeled the ball to Rashford, who was wide open thanks to the laissez-faire marking of Serge Aurier. Rashford beat Paulo Gazzaniga to the near post for 1-0 in the sixth minute. The keeper will have wanted to do much better.

Spurs seemed to snap awake after the concession, and the next big moment was a slide from Daniel James that felled Mourinho on the touch line and left the United attacker requiring medical treatment.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fred won a dangerous free kick in the 17th minute, and Rashford spun it just wide of the upper 90.

Gazzaniga made a fine low save on Mason Greenwood in the 23rd, a slight bit of redemption.

Rashford was feeling it, and tore into a 30-yard shot that Gazzaniga somehow pushed off the cross bar.

Dele continued his resurgence with a gorgeous flick in traffic to fool Fred and Ashley Young before lashing past De Gea for 1-1.

Moussa Sissoko conceded a penalty to give Rashford a chance to put United in front, and the Englishman delivered the goods after a stuttering run-up.

Gazzaniga stopped a James shot in the 69th minute to keep it 2-1. Spurs kept pressing, and De Gea made a fine denial of a Dele shot deep in stoppage time.