What happened? City crashed out of the EFL Cup after a 1-0 defeat to United at Old Trafford. Pep Guardiola made nine changes to the side that drew with Southampton at the weekend – and they started more brightly than United, moving the ball quicker than the home side and looking more dangerous in the final third. The final ball was lacking, though, and City were struggling to create clear-cut chances. Kelechi Iheanacho’s early header aside, they failed to test United as much as they would have expected given their possession. United eventually got foothold in the game. A goal from Juan Mata 10 minutes into the second half broke the deadlock and City just couldn’t find their way back into the game.
Key moment Iheanacho’s header in the opening seconds was City’s best chance. If the Nigerian had found the net with at that stage, it would have changed the dynamic completely.
Man of the Match: Aleix Garcia Jesus Navas gave Luke Shaw a torrid time in the first half, twisting and turning the United full-back who couldn’t get near him. The Spaniard whipped a number of dangerous balls into the box, including an absolute beauty in the first minute that Kelechi Iheanacho headed over, and was one of City’s most potent attacking threats. However, Aleix Garcia’s performance eclipsed Navas'. He was wonderfully composed in a deep-lying midfield role just in front of the back four, constantly demanding the ball and playing neat one-twos with his team-mates. He kept City’s play fluid and incisive. He has an excellent range of passing and real football intelligence. He’s given Guardiola something to think about ahead of City’s upcoming domestic matches. Pablo Maffeo also deserves a special mention. He showed great awareness, read the game brilliantly and denied United on a number of occasions.
What next? City go to West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday, before a huge Champions League match against Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium three days later.
Manchester United (1): De Gea, Shaw, Valencia, Blind, Rojo, Carrick, Rashford (Lingard 82'), Mata (Schneiderlin 73'), Herrera, Pogba, Ibrahimovic
Manchester City (0): Caballero, Maffeo, Clichy, Kompany (Kolarov 45'), Otamendi, García, Navas, Fernando, Nolito (Agüero 71'), Iheanacho, Sané (Sterling 63')
Goal: Mata (54´)
Referee: Mike Dean. Bookings: Iheanacho, Valencia, Ibrahimovic, Pogba