Manchester United aim to end Manchester City’s dominance in the Carabao Cup in an intense Manchester Derby semi-finals encounter to decide who plays Tottenham Hotspur in the finals. Well, it’ll be City who looks to win their gazillionth Carabao Cup after picking up a compelling 2-0 win.
The game actually started in blistering fashion, with both teams finding the net in the first 25 minutes only to see them ruled out for offside. But after watching two goals ruled out in the first half, City took the lead early in the second half when John Stones tucked in a brilliant free-kick into the back of the net in the 50th-minute. United tried their hardest to get the equalizer, but City defended really well and Fernandinho then put the game to bed with an impressive finish from outside the box in the 83rd minute.
Well, what can we say, City really are unbeatable in this tournament. Guess they love being kings of the most irrelevant trophy in England. Good for them! United need to take some learning lessons from this and must understand that they need a different, more ambitious approach to such games to start winning trophies.
Manchester United Player Ratings vs Manchester City
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4.5) –
Solskjaer probably made the right changes in bringing Lindelof and Henderson in, but should’ve given starts to Greenwood and Van de Beek or at least one of them. His side were able to counter City’s attacking threat but their poor set-piece defending led to both the goals. The most worrying aspect was being unable to split open City’s defence despite having all the best attackers on the pitch.
His subs were again wrong and too late, having little to no impact in the game. The semi-finals curse continues with United losing 4 semis under OGS. Unless he can make his team more ruthless and mentally stronger for this kind of occasions, that curse will never end. Today, however, United just didn’t look up for it and were beaten by a hungrier side.
Dean Henderson (6.0) –
Henderson gets his first start in a ‘big game’ and it’s his time to prove whether he’s really a top-class keeper or not. He did concede twice in the first half-hour but the offside flag saved his blushes. Unable to do so anything about Stones’ goal but makes a top save to deny Mahtez in the 62nd. Not really at fault for either goals and put in a decent performance actually which really won’t affect his role in the pecking order.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (5.0) –
Wan-Bissaka loves a Manc Derby and looks unfazed against the tricky Phil Foden. Making some great tackles and clearances to keep the visitors at bay. Heads the ball straight to Fernandinho for his strike. Again unimpressive going forward and apart from his timely tackles, nothing promising came off him today.
Harry Maguire (5.5) –
The United captain looks extremely focused against City’s blistering attacks and made some impressive challenges in the first half to keep them quiet. But he lost his concentration for Stones goal, allowing the cross to bypass him too easily to reach the City man. Apart from that (half) mistake, Maguire was actually decent – making some superb clutch challenges to avert disaster.
Victor Lindelof (6.0) –
Lindelof is back into the lineup after missing the last few games due to injury. Helped United see out the early pressure with some superb timely clearances. Dealt with City’s counter-attacks really well with some clutch interceptions and progressed the ball forward pretty well too.
Luke Shaw (6.5) –
Shaw goes one-v-one with Sterling tonight and seems to be enjoying the battle. Not letting the City man have any freedom on the right, making crunch challenges to frustrate him in the first half. Could’ve maybe done better to deny Stones’ opener if he positioned himself better, but Shaw looked pretty solid and put in another efficient performance today.
Scott McTominay (6.0) –
Scott loves playing in the big games and starts today because of it. Played a fancy pass to Fernandes to set up his early chance. Covering his defenders strongly and helping end City’s ambitious moves on their track. Did well defensively and maintained a flow with his forward passing before being subbed for an attacking change.
Fred (6.0) –
Fred looked to be a bit nervous during the blistering start to the game but got more involved as it went on. Played a fantastic through ball to find Rashford clear on goal in the 30th, only to see him unable to finish off the chance. Pressed the City midfielders really well and won back possession in key areas on occasion, but unable to win the midfield battle on the day.
Paul Pogba (7.0) –
Pogba retains his role in the left side of midfield after an impressive performance against Villa. Looks to be maintaining that confidence and putting in another tenacious shift. Worked really hard to gather possession and get the ball forward, making some really impressive forward passes to open up spaces for his teammates.
Used his physique to trouble City’s midfielders, did well defensively and looked the liveliest in midfield. Another solid performance irrespective of the outcome.
Bruno Fernandes (4.5) –
Looks to be buzzing because of the occasion and forces a top save from Zack Steffan with a superb curler in the 9th. Tried being overambitious with some of his attempted through balls in the first half, only to cause frustration by losing ball possession. Bruno just wans’t in his groove today. Misplaced many passes, couldn’t penetrate City’s defence properly and seemed frustrated towards the end.
Anthony Martial (4.0) –
Martial has a big task of trying to oust two in-form defenders in Stones and Dias today. Ended up getting bullied by both defenders and made things worse for himself with poor decision making in the final third. His final product was very disappointing today, as Martial lacked the hunger or ruthlessness to score today.
Marcus Rashford (5.5) –
Rashford’s operating through the right again and is trying to use his pace to trouble Zinchenko. Makes a sparky forward run before unleashing a vicious shot in the 26th, only to see his attempt blocked. Rashford looked the sharpest on the pitch with his blazing forward runs, but just couldn’t latch onto any definitive chance today.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
Greenwood was brought on too late and didn’t get much time to get accustomed to the game. Made some nice movement into the box, but his efforts were all blocked off by City’s defenders.
Donny van de Beek (N/R) –
Brought on 3 mins before FT and obviously couldn’t do anything in that short period.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Pogba was United’s best player today, but can’t win this after such a loss. This might’ve seemed bizarre a year or two ago, but John Stones was colossal today. He scored the goal and kept United’s attackers quiet and deserves the MOTM for today.