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Full Time: Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United

Manchester United came back from 2-0 down to beat Manchester City 3-2 and delay their march to the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s side appeared to be on course to seal the league title with a record six games to spare when they cruised into a 2-0 half-time lead.

Vincent Kompany’s thumping header broke the deadlock before Ilkay Gundogan doubled the home side’s lead five minutes later.

Yet, City spurned a lot of chances in the first-half, failing to deliver the knockout blow to United. Sterling had two golden chances during that spell in the first half. Those missed chances came back to haunt City as they let a two-goal lead slip.

Paul Pogba scored two goals between the 53rd and 56th minute to get United back on level terms before Chris Smalling scored the winner from an Alexis Sanchez free-kick, handing City a second straight defeat in all competitions.

Sterling hit the post and David De Gea saved a Sergio Aguero effort in what was a frantic last five minutes but United held on to secure three crucial points, successfully delaying City’s title celebration.

It was an absolute humdinger and is a Manchester derby that would be remembered for years to come.

Manchester United Player ratings

David De Gea – 8/10

De Gea had no chance in City’s goals and made a decent stop to deny Bernardo Silva in the first-half. In the last five minutes, he made himself big and pulled off an incredible save to deny Sergio Aguero.

Antonio Valencia – 5/10

Valencia wasn’t adventurous going forward as he had to deal with the nippy Leroy Sane, which he did well. However, his clearance gifted City the corner from which Vincent Kompany scored the opener.

Chris Smalling – 7/10

It was an eventful day for Chris Smalling. Was at fault for Kompany’s goal but attained redemption by scoring United’s winning goal.

 

Eric Bailly – 6/10

Bailly was poor in the first-half but improved massively after the break and helped United to a big win.

Ashley Young – 5/10

Saved a certain goal in the first-half but endured a torrid time against Sterling. He worked diligently and his challenge on Aguero is a debatable topic.

Nemanja Matic – 6/10

He was ineffective in the first-half as City players took utmost advantage of his immobility. Improved vastly in the second half and offered a perfect cushion to United’s back-line when City threw the kitchen sink.

Ander Herrera – 5/10

Herrera was very poor in the first half as he was all over the place. He improved in the second-half and was tidy in possession.

 

Paul Pogba – 9/10

Paul Pogba was anonymous in the first-half, just like his teammates. However, his second-half response was simply magnificent. Two goals in quick succession turned the game on its head and such kind of displays are expected from him, week in and week out.

Jesse Lingard – 6/10

Lingard had very little influence on the game in the first-half but his movement and awareness changed after the break. He was more involved and kept City’s defenders on their toes.

Alexis Sanchez – 7/10

Sanchez was off the boil in United’s calamitous first-half display. However, the Chilean was the chief architect of United’s revival after the break.

Romelu Lukaku – 6/10

Can’t blame Lukaku for his first-half display as he regularly chased shadows and lacked the supply. The big Belgian looked more involved and lively after United started to threaten.

Substitutes

Marcus Rashford – N/A

Didn’t have enough time to make an impact.

Scott McTominay – N/A

Came on to pack the midfield.

Victor Lindelof – N/A

He was sent on in the added time as Jose tried to see off the game.

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Man Utd set to welcome on-loan star in the summer

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Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez to return to Manchester United in the summer

Alexis Sanchez will return to Old Trafford in the summer, according to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. (h/t BBC)

Signed from Arsenal in 2018, Sanchez has struggled to replicate his form. The Chilean has made 38 appearances for United, scoring three goals and six assists.

This accounts for a goal contribution of 0.23 per game for United. The figure pales significantly from the 0.72 per game he achieved at Arsenal.

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez has struggled in his time at Old Trafford

The Chilean’s loan at Inter Milan hasn’t gone according to plan either, playing just 214 minutes due to injury.

The United manager stated the difficulties of signing players in the January transfer window and backed Sanchez to prove his critics wrong if given a second chance.

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United are still paying half of Sanchez’s salary while the player is on loan at Inter (h/t BBC).

The Chilean’s transfer has so far proven to be a disaster. However, if Solksjaer is to be believed, Sanchez could still have the last laugh.

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Man United face PL battle to sign 28-year-old Serie A star

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Matias Vecino

Everton to rival Man United for midfielder Matias Vecino

Manchester United face competition from Premier League rivals Everton for the signature of Inter Milan midfielder Matias Vecino, according to Gazella Dello Sport (h/t Mirror).

United are in the market for midfielders, with Paul Pogba and Scott Mctominay out injured. Inter have already rejected a loan offer from the Red Devils for the player.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Mirror), Everton have now made a move to sign the player. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti is said to be a fan of the 28-year-old having managed against him during his time at Napoli.

Matias Vecino
Matias Vecino has fallen down the pecking order at Inter Milan

The midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at Inter with Antonio Conte preferring to use Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic and Borja Valero when fit. Stefano Sensi’s good form has also seen Vecino go out of favour.

Danish Superstar Christian Eriksen is set to join the Italian giants in the coming weeks. This could further limit Vecino’s chances and he would be better off moving elsewhere.

Vecino has two goals and two assists for Inter in 17 appearances this season. (h/t Whoscored)

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Conte, however, is reluctant to let the midfielder go in this window. Inter are currently three points behind defending champions Juventus as they try to win their first Scudetto in 10 years.

The Inter manager is keen to maintain a strong squad as the season nears its business end.

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Man United keen on signing 2 players on loan to replace Marcus Rashford

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Odion Ighalo

Manchester United keen to loan Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani

Manchester United are keen on signing Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani on loan to provide cover for the injured Marcus Rashford. (h/t Sky Sports)

Ighalo plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League while Slimani is currently on loan at Monaco from Leicester City.

Both Ighalo and Slimani have the experience of playing in the Premier League, having done so on 55 and 39 occasions respectively.

Ismael Slimani Manchester United
Slimani has impressed at Monaco

Both players have done well for their current clubs so far. Ighalo has scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai whereas Slimani has registered 7 goals and 7 assists in 14 appearances for Monaco.

Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are also interested in Slimani (h/t Daily Star).

Ighalo has a better record out of the two in the Premier League. With the Chinese Super League likely to be indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic gripping the nation, it remains to be seen if the player will be allowed to travel.

Low-key but effective?

The injury to Marcus Rashford has left United without a reliable striker upfront. United have played both Liverpool and Burnley since the striker’s injury and have failed to hit the net in both games.

Given the nature of the January transfer window, it makes sense for the club to pursue a loan deal for an established forward until the summer.

Ighalo and Slimani are in their 30s but both players are physically imposing and are capable of playing as a target man upfront.

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United are currently 5th in the table with 14 games left to go. We face Chelsea in the league in February, which will give us a chance to close the gap on a top-four spot.

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Man United keen on landing Ligue 1 star for a fee of about £43million

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Moussa Dembele

Manchester United prepare £43 million bid for Moussa Dembele 

Manchester United are interested in Lyon striker Moussa Dembele (h/t Mirror)

According to Foot Mercato (h/t Mirror), United have identified the French striker as a target to replace the injured Marcus Rashford.

The 23-year old has enjoyed a stellar season for Lyon and has scored 15 goals and 1 assist in 28 appearances. (h/t Whoscored)

Dembele is expected to cost in the region of £43 and is also drawing interest from Chelsea.

The Red Devils had failed to replace the outgoing Romelu Lukaku in the summer and were extremely reliant on the young Rashford for goals.

Rashford has scored 19 goals and 5 assists this season. He is the club’s top scorer and the second top assist maker. United have lacked a cutting edge in the Englishman’s absence and had been playing through injury of late.

Solksjaer was forced to bring on the striker against Wolves which unfortunately led to worsening the extent of his injury.

Moussa Dembele

United currently lack a clinical player upfront. The result against Liverpool could have been different had Martial taken the chances afforded to him.

Lack of a plan?

United should have gone for a striker immediately after the signing of Lukaku. Rashford has had to play through injury and now finds himself out for 3 months.

The injury could also affect the youngster’s chances of making the England squad for the Euros. Rashford has made 201 appearances for United by the age of 22 and needs to be handled better to prevent him from burning out.

Prodigious youngsters such as Robbie Fowler and Micheal Own never got to reach the levels expected of them as they were burnt out and beset by injuries.

Dembele is an excellent player who will be an asset to United. But considering the position the club is in, it can be considered to be a step back for the Frenchman if he joins them.

The fact that the clubs has been linked to the player only after Rashford’s injury and not in spite of it reeks of a lack of long term planning.

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Dembele already has experience of playing in England for Fulham and Celtic. The 23-year old made 64 appearances for Fulham,with 2 of them coming in the English Premier League.

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