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Four reasons to keep the faith despite Man United’s crushing defeat vs Man City

by Red Billy


Manchester United were on the receiving end of a drubbing at the hands of neighbours Manchester City today, losing 6-3 at the Etihad.

Complaints of shambles and collapse are not unfair, but it could be said that there were a few mitigating factors in the defeat that United fans should take heart from going forward.

First and foremost, the second and third City goals, which effectively were the game-clinchers, were both brought about because of an injury to Raphael Varane that the referee did not stop play for and City, in unsportsman-like fashion, did not kick the ball out of play for.

Varane had to leave the pitch after treatment and United’s tallest defender was thus absent for the ensuing corner, which led to the goal.

The Frenchman’s immobility was still being evaluated when City broke for their third. Had Varane not been struggling, he would most likely have won the duel.

Had United gone into the break at 1-0 or even 2-0, it would have given Erik ten Hag a chance to change things up.

The second mitigating factor in the defeat was that there was little luck on United’s side both from the point of view of narrow decisions, but also how the ball broke. Every loose ball seemed to go to a City player, including the deflected Casemiro interception late in the game that found its way through to an offside-looking Foden.

The same goal was allowed after the ball was ruled to have stayed in play on the touchline by a fine margin. Likewise, a brilliant goal-line clearance by Tyrell Malacia was unluckily just beyond the line for Haaland’s second goal.

On another day, those few inches could have worked in United’s favour. Nothing was going their way today.

Third, despite the errors, lack of composure and lack of belief from the Red Devils, credit must be given to the performance of a team which surely at this moment is by far the best in the world.

At times, City were unplayable and it seems hard to believe that any other side would have fared much better than United did when City are in this mood. David de Gea shipped six goals and yet probably didn’t make a single mistake. It was a masterclass of brutal passing and clinical finishing, particularly from De Bruyne and Haaland, two of the world’s very best players on their very best form.

Finally, United did at least manage not one, but three consolation goals. They tried, at least, to restore some pride, which is something we have not seen under previous managers and in recent seasons. Ultimately, United lost by a narrower margin to City than they did to Brentford in August, which could be classed as some sort of progress.

None of these factors excuse United’s poor performance or mask the gulf in class between the two sides. But they could offer encouragement that Ten Hag’s men can bounce back quickly from this embarrassment and although it may be a step back, fans should take heart that their team has not gone back to square one because of this one game.

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