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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United: Skinner, Reds unravel again on big stage

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Marc Skinner’s Manchester United put in a flat performance in the Manchester derby against Manchester City, losing 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the WSL.

United came into the game after a win over Bristol but that had come after a failure to beat West Ham and rivals Arsenal. With the top three very much at stake, a win on Saturday was important but the performance was fairly unimpressive.

Skinner made only one change from the win over Bristol, as Geyse found her place again in place of Melvine Malard. Ella Toone started behind Nikita Parris and Lucia Garcia kept her place on the left.

Katie Zelem and Lisa Naalsund started again in midfield, in front of Jayde Riviere, Maya le Tissier, Millie Turner, and Hannah Blundell.

United had an early chance to take the lead. After a bright start, United won a corner that was taken well by Zelem and it put in at the near post. An Ella Toone touch could’ve seen United take the lead but the English forward missed the delivery by a matter of inches.

City were soon quick to regain possession and began dominating possession, dictating play and leaving United to operate on the counterattack.

Another opportunity fell United’s way in the 13th minute, as Riviere did brilliantly on the right to make an effective run. She managed to play a part inside to Parris, whose attempt at the near post was saved by City goalkeeper Khiara Keating.

A similar chance fell United’s way in the 33rd minute. Riviere had won it back in the final third and played it into Garcia inside quickly. The Spaniard took a touch to steady herself and while the shot was blocked, Keating fumbled the save and parried it out for a corner.

City made United’s missed chances count in the 37th minute. Earps’ poor goal kick fell right to a City player and about five passes later, Jess Park found herself free inside the box and she stroked past Earps to hand City a lead. There was a suspicion of Shaw being offside in the build-up up and it raised eyebrows.

Shaw did put City 2-0 up only a minute later but she was offside and the goal was chalked off.

City did make it two for the day just before halftime and it came through a short corner. After it was played short, a cross was played in and was flicked on to Park at the near post. The City goalscorer was at the right place, and time, and safely side-footed past Earps from close range.

The start to the second half was as poor as it could have been for United.

Shaw showed a clean pair of heels at the edge of the box to evade two United defenders after receiving and she finished coolly into the bottom corner to bring about City’s third goal. It was a goal Shaw would be proud of.

United did grow into the game later in the half and the dominance of possession was rewarded by a fortunate goal. Blundell made an overlap down the left and while she intended to cross it in for Geyse, the shot took a huge deflection and completely outwitted Keating.

United did have a chance to pull another back after City had failed to clear a corner. Turner’s attempt from the edge of the box was blocked and it fell to Geyse, who slipped and her attempt flew well over the bar.

The Reds failed to create anything of the note in the rest of the game despite controlling a majority of possession. Geyse showed some glimpses of her brilliance throughout the game but it was a flat performance from many.

The loss left United at fourth in the table but level on points with Liverpool, who have a game in hand and could well overtake their great rivals, if they beat Everton tomorrow. Marc Skinner’s comes under threat further but it remains to be seen if any decision will be made immediately.

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