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Five things we’ve learnt from United vs City

Juan-Mata-scores-for-Manc-008Manchester United clinched only their third win in 10 games against City on Sunday, as they bounced back from 1-0 down to win 4-2 as Louis Van Gaal’s men cemented their grasp on third place.

Here’s five things we learnt on Sunday.

1) Time to give Young some credit

Ashley Young has rarely been considered an asset by Manchester United fans. Having started his United career in fine form, the former Villa man disappeared off the radar in Fergie’s second season and was a shadow of himself under David Moyes.

However, since Louis Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford, Young has looked like a complete different player and Sunday’s performance against City further cemented his status as one of the most improved players this season.

Manchester-United-v-Manchester-City (1)

Having scored a crucial goal against Newcastle, Young netted the equaliser against City and chalked up two assists. If that’s not a transformed player, then we don’t know what is…

2) LVG works his magic again

United arrived into the derby having won twice in their last nine games against City, having won just once at home since 2011.

Last season, David Moyes suggested that United should aspire to be like City and when Sergio Aguero scored after seven minutes City looked on course to clinch another famous win at Old Trafford.

However, that’s where Van Gaal’s team is different from any of its predecessor, particularly compared with last season. Not only did United bounce back after going one goal down, they absolutely dominated the game and trusted their game plan, while City’s came unstuck.

Last season, United folded like a pack of cards against City. Today, they stuck to their guns and took City on, rather than sit back and await the predictable onslaught, showing Manuel Pellegrini a completely different United.

3) Marouane Fellaini is a superb asset

When he signed for United, Fellaini was laughed at for his clumsiness and soon began to epitomise David Moyes’ wretched tenure at the club. However, this season, the Belgian has looked like a completely different player and has dominated opponents in front of him time and again, particularly in big games.

Yaya Toure bullied United off the park virtually every time the two sides have faced each other in recent years but he struggled to impose himself against Fellaini, who won a number of aerial duels and absolutely dominated City’s midfield for large parts of the game.

The Belgian’s combination down the left flank with Daley Blind and Ashley Young was a sight to behold, as they created countless problems for City, with the ball in the air and on the floor. It was his fourth derby and, arguably, his finest.

Fellaini is now a proper United player.

4) Jones and Smalling are dangerous

Chris Smalling headed in United’s fourth and Phil Jones looked more assured than in previous appearances but both of them remain dangerous for United.


It might sound harsh to criticise them after such a comprehensive win, particularly since Smalling netted United’s fourth, but both of them looked particularly shaky under City’s early pressure.

United equalised almost immediately and put City under the cosh, but Smalling and Jones remained far from comfortable in front of David De Gea and you have to wonder whether they would be good enough to sustain a title challenge.

5) It’s you Juan Juan Juan

Juan Mata hasn’t enjoyed a great time since joining United in January 2014, but the former Chelsea man has been instrumental in Van Gaal’s team renaissance this season, scoring goals for fun and playing a pivotal role in his team’s resurgence.

Against City, Mata drifted in and out of the game in the first half, before leaving his mark on the game by clinching United’s third goal

Often accused of struggling to impose himself on games, the Spaniard laid down a marker against City, scoring United’s third and increasingly growing into the game.

He might have been an expensive signing and he might have not always worked, but Juan Mata is shaping up to be one of Unted’s best players.