Manchester Derby: 3 Talking Points of 1st Derby [2023]

Ten Hag clapping hands after Derby win
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The Manchester Derby is one of the most intense rivalries in world football and in the most recent encounter, it was an exciting battle on the pitch. Manchester United had been struggling in the early part of the season, but they managed to show their resilience and fought back against neighbors. Despite Manchester City having more possession in the match, United were more clinical. The result meant that Manchester City drop points again in their title defense. Premier League lunch time game showed that United are still a force to be reckoned with and they will be looking to make a statement as the season progresses. Old Trafford atmosphere was electric throughout the match and both sides were desperate to get the win.

Manchester Derby Talking Points

Manchester United had not won against Manchester City at Old Trafford since March 2019. The last Manchester derby at Old Trafford before this one was won by Manchester City 2-1 in December 2019.

Fred Made The Artist Play

As the man once said "I carry the piano for artists to play". Well today those words came true. Fred defense work made the artist play with some beautiful long passes by Bruno Fernandez. The artists up front made Manchester United win their first Manchester Derby since March 2019. The last Manchester derby at Old Trafford before January 14 2023 was won by Manchester City 2-1 in December 2019.

Fred was nothing short of sensational in his first Premier League appearance in some time. The Brazilian midfielder injected his signature energy in the middle of the park, covering the ground with ease and displaying a composed presence on the ball. His primary job was to neutralize Kevin de Bruyne and he did it with aplomb, sticking to the Belgium like glue, limiting his touches and keeping him quiet in the first half. Fred turn out to be to be Park Ji Sung in the Manchester Derby. Fred's passing was excellent and his defensive output was impeccable. He provided support to Malacia against Mahrez and made sure he was not double teamed by the opposition.

Fred Manchester United
Fred was a rock in the Manchester Derby. Photo

According to Opta data, Fred completed 81.2% of his passes, made two tackles and won four duels. He also had a 100% success rate in dribbling winning all four of his attempted take-ons. Fred set the tempo in the first 10 minutes today of the match. He made a double tackle on Kevin de Bruyne which lead to a big cheer from the Old Trafford crowd. On the other hand, since the World Cup 2022, Kevin de Bruyne have not been the same as he have not scored or assist in 6 matches, counting today Manchester Derby.

United Best First Half in 22/23 Season?

Manchester United put in an outstanding showing in the opening 45 minutes, limiting their noisy neighbours to just two shots without a single one on target. United had four shots, two on target, and their defensive display was solid, restricting City to crumbs. The midfield was led by Casemiro and a rampant Fred, who found himself in all sorts of areas on the pitch. Varane and Shaw also did well in marking Erling Haaland out of the game, while Malacia and Wan-Bissaka kept Phil Foden quiet.

Marcus Rashford had the two best chances of the first half, but should have done better with both, including an open goal with only one centre-back to bypass after Ederson found himself in no man’s land. According to Opta data, United managed 13 shots and 8 corners, while City had 21 shots and 3 corners.

Manchester City Firing Blanks

In the pass few games Manchester City have been out of forms for late. Since last season Manchester City needed a proper true number 9 and guess what they got one in Haaland. Lately, City have been firing blanks. They lost to Southampton in the EPL cup a fortnight ago without having a proper shot on target. In the first Manchester Derby for 2023, City have fewer shots on target than United. However City always have the possession. This season City are having the most possession of any team in the Premier League as well.

In the second half, one of the best managers in the world made a few tactical changes and City had more purpose and direction in attack. City in the second half made more diagonally passes, more long passes to the wingers for 1 v 1 situations. But by dropping points again, and behind 6 points now and played a game more is a minor step back to their title defense. Any way City have a great manager who will figure out how to start making those possession into better chances. According to Opta Joe, Pep has won 379 of his 499 games to date (76%), with this the most wins and best win rate (100+ games) of any manager in Europe’s big-five leagues since his first season in 2008-09.

The Derby Final Thoughts

First derby in Manchester of 2023 was intense. It is nice to see United finding their identity with Ten Hag. It is good to see Manchester City getting some competitor around them this seasons. Good to see City play some beautiful passes in the second half. Overall it is the derby you need in the in the beginning for the year. Check out the guide for the Premier League in the New Year.

At the end who knows tomorrow Arsenal win they can be a new champion in the end of the season 22/23. Got to find out tomorrow!

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