Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the first Manchester United manager to win his first three visits to Manchester City this afternoon.
The Red Devils ran out surprising 0-2 winners against the runaway Premier League leaders the 185th Manchester derby, consequently strengthening their case to finish inside the Champions League places this season.
Bruno Fernandes, after last weekend’s struggles at Stamford Bridge, gained a semblance of revenge against his critics by putting United ahead from the spot, and Luke Shaw ensured all three points were coming home to Old Trafford while further strengthening his case to be England’s first choice left-back.
Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium.
Ederson – 5 – He’d be disappointed with how the game transpired, even though he made no fewer than four saves. Could have done better with Bruno Fernandes’ penalty. The same couldn’t be said for Luke Shaw’s effort, which left him rooted on the spot.
João Cancelo – 4 – Retained his spot in City’s line-up with a view to putting United on the backfoot though it never came to fruition. Cancelo, who’s been nothing short of excellent this season, performed well below his lofty standards.
Rúben Dias – 6 – For what it’s worth, Dias put in another commendable performance. The ‘Player of the Season’ candidate completed 99% of his passes while winning possession through both of his attempted tackles.
61. We've got to dig deep now.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 7, 2021
John Stones – 5 – Can consider himself unlucky to be on the losing side. This was another good showing from Stones, whose resurrection this season has led to a spot in England’s team at this summer’s European Championship.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5 – The once promising midfielder used his attacking instincts at left-back as we’ve come accustomed to. His rasping shot, which Henderson equally matched with a fine save, was City’s best effort in the first half.
Ilkay Gündogan – 6 – Never stopped roaming and kept finding pockets of space to bamboozle and stretch United’s midfield. He was unlucky not to breach Henderson’s goal, having managed no fewer than two shots on target.
Rodrigo – 6 – Came so close to equalising minutes into the second half. Rodri’s side-footed effort beat Henderson but crashed off the bar, leaving manager Guardiola burying his face in his hands on the touchline.
Kevin De Bruyne – 5 – Uncharacteristically sloppy at times and needlessly surrendered possession when City needed him to put in a vintage tempo setting performance.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka made more interceptions (5) than any other player on the pitch during the Manchester Derby and no Man Utd player made more tackles (3).
No Man City player successfully dribbled past him. 🕷 pic.twitter.com/Pj0E3MByHK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 7, 2021
Riyad Mahrez – 4 – An opportunity to stake a regular presence in Guardiola’s starting line-up but Mahrez fluffed his lines. Truthfully, he was kept in check by a reinvigorated Luke Shaw.
Gabriel Jesus – 3 – Conceded a clumsy penalty inside the opening seconds much to his teammates chagrin. Once behind he never caused United’s defence any problems, with City often looking wide to get back into the game and was subbed off midway in the second half.
Raheem Sterling – 4 – Another disappointing performance against Man Utd for Sterling. His record against City’s neighbours now reads zero goals across 23 appearances in all competitions.
Kyle Walker (for Cancelo 65) – 4 – Was anonymous when coming on. You can begin to understand why he’s no longer City’s first choice right-back.
Phil Foden (for Jesus 71) – 5 – Injected some life into City’s attack, leaving many to question why the Stockport-born midfielder didn’t start this game.
Dean Henderson – 8 – Arguably his biggest Premier League test in a Manchester United jersey and the 23-year-old shot-stopper, who produced no fewer than six saves to pass with flying colours.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7 – Often had a hard time dealing with Sterling but true to his character Wan-Bissaka never relented and put in another solid performance (notably making five interceptions) with England boss Gareth Southgate looking on.
Victor Lindelöf – 5 – Not much to say about the Swede’s performance this afternoon. It was inoffensive and there were no lapses in concentration, which he’s been guilty of in the past.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 7, 2021
Harry Maguire – 6 – An encouraging and commanding performance by United’s skipper, who hasn’t always been as stellar this season. Began the game by pushing United’s defence up before retreating and executing a well-executed rearguard performance.
Luke Shaw – 9 – Playing with renewed vigour during these last few months, Shaw brought that newfound confidence into the derby by playing further up the field like an extra forward, which led to him registering his second ever Premier League strike. “He has been [United’s] best player for the past month or so,” said Gary Neville on commentary after Shaw’s goal. “What a moment for him.”
Scott McTominay – 7 – Another steady performance in United’s engine room, where he once again showcased his ball-winning ability, McTominay is fast-becoming a man for the big occasions.
Fred – 7 – No one typified United’s fighting spirit more than Fred, who at times battled for possession like his life depended on it.
Daniel James – 6 – Was in the side to execute United’s counter-attacking threat, as well as keeping City’s left flank honest, and to some degree he repaid his manager’s faith. A lung-busting run before the break could have led to something special.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 7, 2021
Bruno Fernandes – 7 – All eyes were on the Portuguese midfielder given his tepid record against the other members of the so-called ‘big six’, though he didn’t seem fazed when stepping up to convert a fifth minute spot-kick. This was a far more assured performance by Fernandes who looked off the pace against Chelsea last weekend.
Marcus Rashford – 5 – Unusually quiet in a big Man Utd win, though he’d be the first to point out that others stepped up. Rashford, though, kept City’s backline honest whenever the ball came to his feet but he couldn’t finish the game due to sustaining an injury.
Anthony Martial – 5 – An eyebrow-raising selection given his indifferent showings for the Red Devils in recent months. He immediately put those doubts to bed after winning United a spot-kick mere seconds into the game. Saying that, he should have buried a second half chance to put United 3-0 up.
Mason Greenwood (for Rashford 73) – 5 – Didn’t really get into the game as by now United were preserving their hardfought lead.
Nemanja Matic (for Martial 88) – N/A – A late sub.
Brandon Williams (for Fernandes 90+3) – N/A – A late sub.