Manchester United Manchester City Premier League tactical analysis
Artwork by @chapulana

Manchester City put in a dominant display to pressure-cook a Manchester United side into more turmoil. City controlled the game and United were able to keep them at bay until the second half, but eventually Manchester City’s dominance paid off and they were justly rewarded.

David Silva and Fernandinho shone for Manchester City, with them both displaying the kind of pocket play and tactical nous that they and Guardiola’s teams have become notorious for. In this tactical analysis, we will look at how United managed to hold out initially and why Manchester City dominated United both in and out of possession, in large parts thanks to the brilliance of David Silva.


Manchester United lined up in a 5-3-2 formation, making several changes after the embarrassing defeat to Everton at the weekend. It was clear to see from the lineups that United would look to use the pace of Rashford on the counter-attack, regardless of Solskjær’s comments on Guardiola’s tactical fouls.

This formation initially worked well against City, as I will explain in more detail later on. City lined up in a familiar 4-3-3, which when out of possession became more of a 4-2-3-1, with David Silva stepping out and becoming a pressing player.

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