Football News

Solskjaer’s 100% is just not enough: Full player ratings as Man City squeeze by Man Utd to make third straight Carabao Cup final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:00, 29 January 2020

In a topsy-turvy night of football, Manchester United beat Manchester City 0-1 at the Etihad but it’s City who qualify for the Carabao Cup final 3-2 on aggregate.

City fail to score for just the second time this season as The Red Devils showed up, defended with resolve and broke well. Nemanja Matic went from hero to zero with a red card just when United were readying their final push. In the end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now won both of his matches at the Etihad, but in the end his 100% record wasn’t enough and City are back at Wembley again.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium:

Manchester City

Claudio Bravo – 5 – Could do little about the Matic goal. Didn’t have too much to do beyond that.

Kyle Walker – 8 – Utterly essential to defending against the counter-attack. Constantly shut United down by pouncing on their loose touches. Even forced a great save from De Gea with a rasping drive. Walker’s pace in defence as well as his superb instincts make you wonder why he hasn’t been tried here before. Especially now Laporte is fit again.

Nicolas Otamendi – 7 – Alright. Wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either.

Joao Cancelo – 7 – Impressive in his dual centre-back/full-back role. A couple of naive defensive moments but generally solid.

Rodri – 7 – Ably assisted Gundogan in controlling the game. Defended well, too, refusing to let United gain any momentum through the middle of the park.

Ilkay Gundogan – 8 – Controlled the tempo of the game for the most part. Got Nemanja Matic sent off with a surging run. An all-around positive performance from the gallant German but he did blot his copybook by hesitating and wasting an easy chance.

Kevin de Bruyne – 6 – Surprisingly quiet after that opening surge. Couldn’t penetrate the United back-line.

Bernardo Silva – 7 – Excellent at the start, marauding all over the pitch. Quietened down a bit after but still looked dangerous in possession.

Riyad Mahrez – 5 – Couldn’t get the better of Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw’s double act. Subbed off.

Raheem Sterling – 3 – Once again fell to bits in front of goal against United. Scored once but was clearly offside, then missed a sitter just short of the hour after being put clean through. Dawdled and dawdled, and in the end blazed well over.

Sergio Aguero – 6 – Kept mostly out of the game after a very bright start where only David de Gea’s excellence thwarted him. Scored a lovely goal but was correctly ruled offside.


David Silva (for Mahrez 68′) – 7 –Added a touch of serenity to City when he came on.

John Stones (for De Bruyne 90’+1) – n/a – Came on late.

Gabriel Jesus (for Aguero 90’+3) – n/a – Came on late.

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Manchester United

David de Gea – 9 – Kept United in the game early on with a litany of impressive saves, one with his feet was especially great. Dominated his box and looked very much like the old De Gea again.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7 – Locked down his flank for the most part but his weaknesses with the ball were once again apparent. United need to adjust their system to maximise his talents because he cannot offer the attacking threat the side needs.

Victor Lindelof – 7 – Pulled all over the place by City’s movement but often came back to intervene.

Harry Maguire – 8 – Stepped up  and led the back-line well. Made several well-timed recoveries, including an absolutely mammoth tackle after he himself had given the ball away with a shocking pass. The cause of and solution to United’s problems!

Luke Shaw – 7 – Quite incredibly, a solid performance from Shaw who looks more at home in a back three than in any other role.

Brandon Williams – 7 – Worked hard defensively but much like Wan-Bissaka, didn’t do enough in attack.

Nemanja Matic – 7 – A sublime volley to give United the lead. A dominant defensive display, constantly getting his body in the way and even showing a surprising amount of deftness to move the ball out from the back. Was heading for a 9 but a foolish late tackle saw him sent off for a second yellow (his first tackle was a very harsh decision, but his second was very silly knowing he was already booked) and this effectively killed any hope United had of winning the tie so he has to be bumped down.

Fred – 8 – As composed and elusive as ever despite being outnumbered by the City midfield. Maturing into the midfield leader that United have been looking for since Michael Carrick’s decline.

Jesse Lingard – 4 – Didn’t use the ball well enough on the break. Killed countless counter-attacks with touches heavier than Jupiter. An awfully timed shocker for Lingard given the imminent signing of Bruno Fernandes.

Mason Greenwood – 5 – On the periphery, waiting for a chance. Starved of service and removed at half-time with a knock.

Anthony Martial – 3 – A non-event. Never tested the City defenders, never committed anyone. Poor up the middle, poor on the left. Saw so much of the ball and did so little with it. United would have won the game if Rashford had played in his place.


Daniel James (for Greenwood 46′) – 5 – Didn’t really have a lot of chances to strut his stuff in attack.

Andreas Pereira (for Lingard 65′) – 4 – Came on for Jesse Lingard and was almost just as hopeless.

Juan Mata (for Shaw 79′) – 5 – Came on just after Matic’s red card, so couldn’t really have an impact.