With Manchester City place one hand on the Premier League trophy following a 2-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.
#5 Ole punishes under-performers
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned after his team’s 4-0 drubbing to Everton about ‘consequences’ and the Norwegian stuck true to his words. Manchester United’s starting lineup, albeit unexpected, certainly smelt a lot of punishment and consequences.
Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot all faced the axe as Solskjaer handed out opportunities to Pereira, Lingard and Matteo Darmian in a lineup that looked like it had been put together to stifle rather than to create.
#4 Cohesive United keep City at bay early
If there was one thing that stood out in United’s performance at Old Trafford, it was the cohesiveness – a far cry from the disjoint performance they put up at Goodison Park.
The Red Devils were compact and well drilled, while at the same time using the ball wisely – looking to exploit City’s obvious weakness on the counter and even though City were the better team, there was a palpable sense of excitement around Stretford End of what was to come as the first half came to a goalless end in Manchester.
#3 De Gea’s disaster showing
Boosted by their first half showing, Manchester United came out in the second-half with a renewed vigor to stop their noisy neighbors from winning the title. They showed grit, if not class and snapped at the heels of their city rivals who were, despite their best efforts, always a step ahead.
One man woefully out of form however, was Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea – player of the year for his club in 4 out of the last 5 seasons. The difference in quality between the two teams eventually showed but it was hard to miss De Gea’s culpability for both goals, beaten at his near post twice as he picked up where he left off from his woeful showing against Everton as well as against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
#2 United show heart
For all the faults in their showing at Old Trafford, one thing United certainly did not lack was heart. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted a showing where his troops could walk off the pitch with pride whatever the result and it’s certainly hard to argue they could have done any more.
This was a club decimated by 7 years of disjointed, scatter-gun policy making up against arguably the best team in Europe. In the end, the men in red had the spirit but offered little more as the huge gulf in class eventually showed – Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane wrapping up the game in the second half with aplomb.
#1 City’s title to lose
Faced with a far tougher run in going into their final five games than fellow contenders Liverpool, City have put up a title-defense fitting of Champions. No longer with a game in hand, Pep Guardiola’s Blues are now top of the pile with three games to go and it’s hard to argue they don’t deserve it.
For all of Liverpool’s ambition, this is simply a side in it’s pomp and dominating the way they did at Old Trafford, one can only stand up and applaud as City move to 3 games of an unprecedented domestic treble as well as becoming the first team to retain the title in over 10 years.