Manchester United won themselves a life-line to save their stuttering season as they just managed to edge past their city rivals Manchester City in a crunch tie at the Etihad this weekend. Marcus Rashford continued his brilliant league form and his only goal in the 16th minute was enough to settle this tie taking United to within just a point of their opponents who are in the 4th place.
This victory will lift the pressure off Van Gaal who will now look for some consistency from his team. Here are the player ratings for both sides:
Joe Hart (2.5):
Made a superb safe off Anthony Martial but his evening came to an end abruptly as he picked up an ugly looking injury.
B Sagna (2.5):
Was shaky at the back against Martial for the whole game but put in some decent crosses at the other end of the field.
M Demichelis (1):
Had a horrible day as he hardly did anything right. Was beaten too easily by Rashford for his goal and also almost gave away a couple of penalties on a forgettable night.
E Mangala (2.5):
Was drawn out of position a number of times but was solid with his defensive duties when called upon.
G Clichy (2.5):
Stuck to his task at the back but hardly had any impact on the game at either ends.
Was a mere spectator at times as Manchester United flew past him with ease in the mid-field.
Yaya Toure (3.5):
Almost scored of a curling effort only to be stopped by a stretching Hart to top off a good game for the Ivory Coast international who tried his best till the dying moments of the game.
J Navas (3):
Used his pace well on the flanks but as often criticized, failed to provide the end product at the end of some good work.
R Sterling (2.5):
Started brightly on the flank but his evening came to an end in the 25th minute after he picked up an injury from Mata’s tackle.
D Silva (3):
Was not his usual self on the ball but managed to create a number of half chances for his side on a frustrating night.
S Aguero (3.5):
The brightest player for the home side on the night, Aguero twisted, turned and troubled the United back line all night long and also came close to scoring and was denied only by the frame of the goal.
W Bony (2)
W Caballero (2.5)
David de Gea (3):
Had little to do on the night as he stuck to his task and bossed his penalty area when called upon.
M Darmian (3):
A solid display at the back as he stood strong against the likes of Sterling and Silva and also made a number of forward runs to provide width in the attack.
C Smalling (3):
Was troubled all night long by Aguero but stood tall and managed to keep a clean sheet in a solid performance.
D Blind (3.5):
Made a number of crucial interceptions and clearances to keep the home side away from the goal for the whole game.
M Rojo (2.5):
Gave away the ball a couple of times in dangerous areas but was solid in general as he marshaled his flank with authority.
M Schneiderlin (4):
Took control of the mid-field and gave plenty of cover to his back four as City found it hard to go past the ex-Southampton man.
M Carrick (3.5):
Had loads of possession of the ball and managed to pick the right past most times in a commanding performance in the middle of the field.
J Lingard (3.5):
Did not contribute directly to the result of the game but his movement on and off the ball were important in United’s victory at the Etihad.
J Mata (3.5):
Did a great job in behind the front line and set up the only goal of the game in a matured performance from the Spaniard.
A Martial (3):
Tried to use his pace and tricks inside the penalty box as he kept the home side pinned in their own half in yet another good performance from the youngster.
M Rashford (4):
Just took 16 minutes to open the scoring as he became the youngest player to score in a Manchester derby. Also looked dangerous every time he was on the ball and made life difficult for the home side in a Man of the Match performance from the 18-year old.
A Valencia (2.5)
B Schweinsteiger (2.5)
T Fosu-Mensah (2.5)