• February 5, 2023

Man City 0-2 Man Utd: It’s not a lack of ability that has cost Manchester United the title – Shearer analysis

Manchester United have been an odd side this season and it is their inconsistency that has cost them their chance to win the title – not a lack of skill.

If they had played the way they did in 2-0 win on Sunday At Etihad Stadium, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at the top of the Premier League was much closer to Manchester City.

Snapshot shows the top of the Premier League table: 1st Man City, 2nd Man Utd, 3rd Leicester, 4th Chelsea, 5th Everton and 6th Tottenham

But while they did a brilliant team effort to end City’s 21-game win, United have been bad lately against smaller teams like Sheffield United, West Brom and Crystal Palace.

United are unbeaten in their last 22 away games which is a great achievement. They’re obviously very hard to beat, but the problem with them is that they didn’t always offer enough to win these games.

I’ve been watching them Draw 0-0 with Palace on Wednesday at Selhurst Park and they almost slept through the 90 minutes.

It has been the same story in a few games since they topped the table in January. They have looked flat at times and lacked energy and ideas.

Snapshot of the top of the Premier League on January 12th: 1st Man Utd, 2nd Liverpool, 3rd Leicester, 4th Everton, 5th Tottenham and 6h Man CityUnited defeated Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor on January 12, replacing Liverpool at the top of the table. Before beating City, they lost points in seven of their next ten league games – to Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, West Brom, Chelsea and Crystal Palace, and lost at home to Sheffield United

It’s hard to know what to expect from them and that’s why they won’t win the Premier League this season even though we saw how good they can be against City.

“United had the faith and desire to go there and win”

United really deserved the win against City on Sunday and every man played his part.

It was a great result and it was about much more than just scoring goals in the counterattack. In the past, they have occasionally scored points from Pep Guardiola’s town.

They still did very well, of course – they were so well organized defensively and they were excellent all afternoon during the break.

Beyond that, however, they had a belief that they could win the game and a desire to carry it out. We were used to them being cautious about the other Big Six clubs as they were hit by their 6-1 loss to Tottenham earlier this season, but this time it was different.

From the start, United showed their intent by continuing the attack, which resulted in them receiving their penalty in the first few seconds – and scoring it.

I expected an answer from the runaway leaders, but United wiped them out without ever looking like they were in danger. They were so well organized that City couldn’t get through most of the game.

In times of City looming, it was great to see Marcus Rashford sprint back to steal possession from Riyad Mahrez on the edge of United States territory – that was how much victory meant to him.

Rashford wasn’t the only United player to give it his all. They can go straight through their team and everyone worked extremely hard, individually or in numbers, if they had to.

“Delighted” Solskjaer praises “Man of the Game” Martial

The early goal suited them because it gave them something to protect, but let’s not forget how well United were moving forward too.

They always thought on the forefoot, as we saw in the role their goalkeeper Dean Henderson played on their second goal of keeping the ball alive and then galloping Luke Shaw forward.

This time United had no problem creating chances and they had much better chances than City. They could and should have scored more than two goals.

How City has set standards this season

Defeat a ‘good lesson’ – Guardiola

The city had a day off by its high standards, but it was just a slip.

Their long winning run had to come to an end at some point, and Pep will be annoyed that it happened against their neighbors and rivals, but this is not the beginning of a breakdown, far from it.

With 10 games remaining, they are 11 points on top and will win the Premier League.

When I talk about the fact that United don’t have the consistency they need to take the title, I see City as the team that set the standard there this year. Nobody but them made it.

After an inconsistent start, Guardiola’s side have been absolutely relentless for the past three months. That’s the level United needs to be aiming for because that’s what it takes.

Alan Shearer spoke to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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Jack

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