That has got to be one of the best Manchester Derbies I’ve ever seen.
A total of 32 shots! 315 passes in the attacking third! The derby was excitement and skill redefined. It also saw many of the new recruits showing off their skill, namely Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitharyan and Leroy Sané. The match was extremely physical and pacey as well, something that the newbies had trouble with.
To start off, my scoreline prediction came true. I predicted in my preview that Manchester City would win the game 2-1. And then at Old Trafford, Kevin De Bruyne, Kelechi Ihenacho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored, making my prediction come true. Hats off to David Sumpter for that prediction method.
The teams, however, weren’t smart in team picking. Mourinho should have made Wayne Rooney sit the game out and play the fast and strong Marcus Rashford. City, actually, benefited with picking Ihenacho. Thanks for not reading my material, Guardiola!
And as expected, Mourinho’s United shot several times. They took 14 of them, and scored only one. So that would give them a conversion rate of…7.1%. Inefficient. Again, United did not shoot from different areas of the pitch. 79% of shots taken by United were from the middle of the pitch. Their shot quality was terrible. I think it’s time Expected Goals should be explained to players. 64% of United shots came from outside the box. Ibrahimovic, although he scored, was particularly terrible at shooting.
As for Manchester City, they were good. City completed 484 passes. They dominated 60% of the ball. They were extremely creative in the first half.
They completed 299 passes in the first 45 minutes. However, in the second half, they were less of a tiki-taka side.
They only completed 185 passes in the second half. They sat back and defended their one-goal lead, which was smart and somewhat Mourinho-esque. They were successful. Though Guardiola is widely considered a tiki-taka man, and against the counter-attack, Pep at City has been slightly more counter-attacking. The first City goal came from a great defence-splitting long ball from Aleksander Kolarov. They also set up a lot of chances from counter-attacks. Even the ball recoveries in the second half were usually inside City’s own half.
I think Guardiola has finally been able to complement his impressive Yin with an equally good Yang. And at the forefront of the Yang was Nicolas Otamendi, like I forecasted. They were good at shutting down Mourinho’s team of skilled giants. All United attacks were quashed. United’s goal came from a mistake made by Claudio Bravo.
The main issue for Mourinho was the fact that he didn’t press. Pressing and counter-defending are the main tactical trends right now, with Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino popularizing it in England. United have a tall and physically adept team. The undoing of tiki-taka began when German sides like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and the Spanish side Atlético Madrid began pressing high and pressurizing Barcelona’s army of 5’7” superstars. These teams also had tall, strong, physical players.
Like Guardiola, if Mourinho added a bit of other tactics into the mix, they would achieve great success. Mourinho was originally a high-pressing coach at Porto, as he used to work with Louis van Gaal at Barcelona (incidentally when Guardiola was a Barça player, where Mourinho and Guardiola were inseparable friends), but he had to play a slow center-back named John Terry when he first became manager of Chelsea. There, he used sitting back and counter-attacking. Because of his success there, he made counter-attacking his standard tactic everywhere. The tactic suited the teams that he would later manage, that is Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea again, where his players were perfect for counter-attacks, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard. But at Manchester United, he has a relatively fast defence – Eric Bailly and Daley Blind – and a slow attack – Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney. Holding a high line would help Manchester United. If Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic pressed David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, they could have won.
Well, to end it off, I would like to add something ironic regarding Mourinho. ‘That’s one in the eye for Mourinho’ and ‘who’s the specialist in failure now’ were good candidates, but as a Chelsea fan, this is the best:
BLUE IS THE COLOUR.