Player ratings: Man City v. Man United

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MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Manchester Derby on Sunday, as Pep Guardiola‘s men stayed top of the Premier League table and Jose Mourinho’s United are in eighth place and 12 points behind their bitter rivals.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned ]

It was an intense encounter at the Etihad Stadium, as City dominated but United threatened to launch yet another comeback.

Here’s how each player ranked out of 10 during a frantic derby.


Manchester City

Ederson: 5 – Didn’t have too much to do but gave away a penalty kick rashly at a pivotal moment in the match. Another rush of blood to the head.
Kyle Walker: 6 – Some decent runs forward but United always looked more dangerous down his flank. Work to do defensively.
John Stones: 7 – Some key clearances and headers and dealt with Marcus Rashford easily.
Aymeric Laporte: 7 – See above. Another easy afternoon for Laporte who continues his incredible unbeaten run.
Benjamin Mendy: 6 – Not his best afternoon going forward but more than solid defensively. Edging back to his best.
Fernandinho: 7 – Scrapped away in midfield and had a decent effort from distance. Unsung hero. Again.
Bernardo Silva: 8 – Involved in two of City’s three goals and his pass to Gundogan for the third was sublime.
David Silva: 8 – A goal from City’s captain to get things going and Silva was at his best.
Raheem Sterling: 9 – Fine individual display. Set up the first goal, ran United ragged on the break. Has it all.
Riyad Mahrez: 7 – Involved in Aguero’s goal and drifted in and of the game. Started well but faded in second half.
Sergio Aguero: 8 – Hammered home City’s second and was a constant pest. Subbed off late on to a standing ovation.

Subs
62′ Leroy Sane on for Mahrez: 6 – A few decent chances but didn’t make the most of them. Worked hard down the left.
75′ Ilkay Gundogan on for Aguero: 6 – Missed one good chance and finished another. Nice little cameo.
90+2′ Phil Foden on for D. Silva: N/A – On for the final few seconds.


Manchester United

David De Gea: 7 – A couple of decent saves down low and solid as ever. Should he have saved Aguero’s shot?
Ashley Young: 7 – Kept plugging away down the right flank and whipped in some dangerous crosses.
Chris Smalling: 6 – Headed a few balls clear but like Lindelof, never looked at ease.
Victor Lindelof: 5 – Caught out by Aguero’s one-two with Mahrez for the second goal. Didn’t look comfortable.
Luke Shaw: 5 – Caught out with Sterling’s cross for the first goal. Shaky in possession. Not his finest display.
Ander Herrera: 6 – His kind of game. Tried to snap away at City’s midfielders but ended up chasing shadows.
Nemanja Matic: 6 – Tried to start some of United’s attack and calm them down as best as he could.
Marouane Fellaini: 5 – Added little threat going forward and didn’t add much defensively.
Jesse Lingard: 4 – Apart from one good run in the first half when he was brought down, failed to impact the game. Subbed off.
Anthony Martial: 5 – A frustrating afternoon with little service out on the left. Summed up by passing the ball out of play in the first half. Scored a penalty kick but did little else.
Marcus Rashford: 4 – Some poor first touches and hooked off in the second half.

Subs
57′ Romelu Lukaku on for Lingard: 6 – Won a penalty kick but did little else
73′ Juan Mata on for Herrera: 6 – Whipped in some decent deliveries. Too little time.
73′ Alexis Sanchez on for Rashford: 5 – Struggled down the right and gave away some needless fouls.

Four things we learned from Man City v. Man United

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MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men moving 12 points ahead of United in the process and regaining their spot atop the Premier League table.

[ MORE: Player ratings

Goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva did the damage as Jose Mourinho’s men succumbed to the fluid, almost unstoppable, City attack.

Here’s what we learned from the Manchester Derby.


STERLING LEADS IMPERIOUS CITY

The past few months have underlined just how good Sterling is. After agreeing a new long-term contract at Man City earlier in the week, the 23-year-old put in a superb display which showcased his main areas of improvement. Passing and movement.

For City’s first goal his cross was weighted perfectly to unlock United’s eight-man defense on the edge of their own box, as he outrageously picked out Bernardo Silva with a stealthy swing of his right boot.

In the past Sterling could be guilty of unnecessary dribbles and wayward passes, but there is now so much more purpose to his play. His improvement under Guardiola in the past two years is stark, with only Mohamed Salah involved in more PL goals than Sterling since the start of last season.

With veterans Aguero and Silva on the scoresheet to help deliver the win, City know their attack is in safe hands for the future as Sterling will lead the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez in the future. The scary thing is, he still has plenty of room for improvement as he was guilty of not shooting as he tried to set up his teammates.


SLOW START FOR UNITED ONCE AGAIN

Add the Manchester Derby to the list of games where United have started slowly this season. That list is now almost longer than Mourinho’s arm as slow starts against Newcastle, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Juventus in recent weeks has seem them rally from losing positions.

Mourinho’s men were no doubt hampered by the loss of Pogba through injury (more on that below) but there’s no doubting that their slow starts must be eradicated if they’re going to have any chance of at least finishing in the top four. Over the course of a 10-month season at home and in Europe, United have to start getting on the front foot at the start of games. The reason they currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, is because they continue to put themselves in poor positions early on.

What is causing them to do this again and again?

Mourinho will ponder that over the international break but it is clear that many of United’s players are tentative from the get-go and that is a surefire sign of not being comfortable with how they are playing and who they are playing alongside. United’s players grow into games and seem to grow in belief after the half time break, and they did that against City as more attacking players coming off the bench gave them fresh impetus. However, there are only so many times you can launch a comeback and United looked jaded due to their recent heroics and the wizardry of City’s attackers.


RASH EDERSON

Man City’s Brazilian goalkeeper is superb with his feet and he commands his area with ease. But over the past few weeks he has got it wrong. Big time. On Sunday he raced out of his goal and took down Romelu Lukaku to concede a penalty kick in a carbon copy of the PK he gave away last week against Southampton as he took out Danny Ings.

Ederson was visibly upset with his mistake and although Pep Guardiola tried to get his head up and applaud him from the sidelines, some of City’s technical staff in the stand were far from impressed with “Eddie” for another rash decision to rush off his line. Ederson is a forward-thinking goalkeeper and that is exactly what Guardiola wants in his way of playing. But if Ederson continues to make costly errors, a sense of shakiness could impact City’s defenders. Those are the small things which add up and Ederson’s decision making has to be a little better than it has been in recent weeks.


POGBA, DE BRUYNE BADLY MISSED

Two players who can turn a game on its head in an instance were missing for the Manchester Derby through injury and it was a such a shame. Sure, this encounter was a very good spectacle. But with KDB and Pogba, you always know a moment of magic via an outstanding pass or sensational goal are just around the corner.

The midfield battle was a little too predictable on Sunday, with Fernandinho clogging up the gaps and the two Silva’s buzzing around ahead of him playing short passes. For United, the trio of Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic did their job but they all struggled to get up and support Marcus Rashford in attack the way Pogba does with his rangy, slaloming runs. De Bruyne and Pogba being back fit and available for the next Manchester Derby will give this intriguing, feisty clash yet another layer.

Mourinho explains Pogba’s Manchester Derby absence

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Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Paul Pogba in explaining why the Manchester United midfielder is missing from Sunday’s Manchester Derby.

Pogba was injured during his starring role in Manchester United’s memorable UEFA Champions League win over Juventus this week.

WATCH THE MANCHESTER DERBY LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

“Paul is injured,” he told Sky Sports. “He was injured during the game in Turin. He resisted. He felt that he could resist. He felt that it was such a crucial match for the team. He made that sacrifice for us, and then it was impossible for him to recover for this match.

“He is a very important player for us. People sometimes like to focus on the little problems in his performance, and we do the same. We try to make him the complete player. But his qualities are so, so good, and so important for the team at many different levels.”

Pogba was not just the star of the Juve win, but also the comeback defeat of City last Spring. Mourinho is starting Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, and Nemanja Matic in the midfield of his 4-3-3.

Matic explains why he will not wear poppy

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Nemanja Matic has revealed why he will not wear a poppy on his shirt in the next few weeks.

The Manchester United and Serbia midfielder was the only player not to wear an embroidered poppy on his shirt in the 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday, with many puzzled as to why this was the case.

Premier League clubs wear a poppy on their shirt to honor all of those who have served the British military and their allies over the years. Many citizens of the UK wear the poppy around Remembrance Day in November each year.

However Matic revealed that due to his hometown of Vrelo being bombed by Nato forces when he was growing up, he doesn’t feel comfortable wearing the poppy.

“I recognize fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict. However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999. Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don’t feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt,” Matic said. “I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined.”

Matic was criticized by many for not wearing a poppy and although you have to respect his reasons, the Serbian midfielder has worn a poppy on his shirt every season he has been playing in England with either Chelsea or United.

James McClean has not worn a poppy due to his Irish heritage and has been lambasted by fans across the UK for that decision since 2011 when he arrived at Sunderland. The former Premier League winger now plays with second-tier Stoke City and he is currently under investigation by the FA for his recent comments regarding his decision to not wear a poppy after Stoke’s game against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho hails Man United’s progress

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Jose Mourinho is pretty pleased with his Manchester United team. Seriously.

The Red Devils sit in 10th place in the Premier League table heading into their clash against Everton on Sunday, with Mourinho’s side outplayed and outclassed in their UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Juventus in midweek.

In his matchday programme notes, Mourinho had the following to say about United’s progress.

“We were seconds away from beating Chelsea and almost took a draw against Juventus. I believe that at the end of December we will be in a completely different position in the table,” Mourinho said.

There’s no doubting they played much better against Chelsea and blowing a 2-1 lead in the 96th minute will have hurt Mourinho and any momentum he felt his side could take from that promising display.

But to suggest United “almost took a draw against Juventus” is more than a little delusional.

Juve took the lead in the first half and eased to victory despite the 1-0 scoreline, with Paul Pogba‘s shot from outside the box which hit the post the closest United came all game.

Mourinho’s men will likely be in a top four battle this season despite their early struggles but it is a little soon to predict that they will be up at the top of the table in two months time.

What has he seen to suggest that? Romelu Lukaku is on a goal drought, while the likes of Alexis Sanchez are out of form Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba has been as inconsistent as ever.