After losing to Liverpool in one of football’s fiercest rivalries on home turf two weeks ago, the last thing United needed was to fall behind early, and they were the masters of their own downfall in doing just that. João Cancelo collected the scraps at the back post and fizzed a teasing cross into the box, which Eric Bailly turned into his own net. United were beginning to grow into the game and can count themselves unlucky not to have been on level terms at the half-hour mark. Luke Shaw’s marauding run ended with him picking out Cristiano Ronaldo in the area, but his sweet left-footed volley was beaten away by Ederson.
From being on the front-foot at one end, to some desperate defending at the other, United were all over the place. David de Gea was single handedly keeping his side in the game, producing three saves of the highest order to deny Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne and Victor Lindelöf – who came close to scoring United’s second OG of the day. However, the United stopper was to have a moment to forget seconds before the break. Cancelo’s cross drifted all the way through, and with the ball seemingly going out for a goal-kick, Bernardo Silva stuck a leg out and directed the ball goalwards and de Gea fumbled into the corner to double City’s advantage.
United offered little by way of creating chances, with a Mason Greenwood pop-shot from 30-yards about as close as the hosts came to forging a route back into the game. A 2-0 scoreline flattered United, with Phil Foden rattling the woodwork, as City were just toying with United. Victory was imperative for Pep Guardiola’s side, who closed the gap on Chelsea, potentially just for a few hours, but the pressure is now on the West-Londoners to extend their lead. Whilst for United, it’s hard to see a way back for Solskjær.