Man United 0 Man City 0: Three talking points as Marcos Rojo impresses
Kieran Beckles assesses Manchester United's goalless draw with Manchester City at Old Trafford
New signings quiet
It has been a tale of summer signings for both Manchester clubs this season. Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling completed deals totalling in excess of £100m in the summer. The injection of some young, exciting talent has propelled Manuel Pellegrini’s men to the top of the Premier League table. Anthony Martial was the big talking point on transfer deadline day after his surprise £36m move to Old Trafford from Monaco. The 19-year-old hasn’t been fazed by the prospect of playing for English football’s most-successful club. The striker’s return of five goals after nine games has transformed the teenager into a key United player already. And unsurprisingly given is unflappable temperament, it was Martial who impressed the most of the summer signings. Sterling lasted just 55 minutes before he was replaced by Jesus Navas after an inconsistent first Manchester derby. His team-mate De Bruyne was more influential and his passing range was good, but United defender Anthony Valencia ensured the £55m man couldn’t have a sustained impact on the derby. Martial, though, proved a thorn in City’s side with his gliding run as he slalomed past opponents with the ball at his feet. However, Louis van Gaal’s decision to play Martial on the left limited the say that the teenager could have on the derby.
Rojo making Shaw of left-back spot
Kenny Cunningham questioned Rojo’s defensive capabilities in the lead up to the derby. The Argentina international impressed at left-back at Goodison Park after Rojo teed up Ander Herrera for the opener in a 3-0 win. The 25-year-old centre-half was fortunate not to concede a second-half penalty in a 1-1 draw in Moscow mid-week in an unconvincing performance. But the South American bounced back in the derby to tame Manchester City’s starlets Sterling and De Bruyne. The former Sporting Lisbon won all three of his aerial duals and completed seven successful tackles. The Argentine also won 100 per cent of his attempted interceptions. These defensive stats suggest Rojo is getting to grips with his primary duties and could rival Luke Shaw for the left-back spot with a season to prove his value in the position while the England man recovers from a broken leg.
Arsenal the Manchester derby winners
Arsenal may have been demoted to second place after City’s superior goal difference saw Manuel Pellegrini’s men reclaim top spot, but Arsene Wenger’s side are the real Manchester derby winners. The Gunners are primed to have a sustained push in the coming weeks with winnable fixtures against Swansea City, Norwich City, West Brom and Aston Villa in four of their next five games before their clash against City at The Emirates on 21 December. Arsenal are playing the best football in the Premier League at the moment and have more key players in good form with United overly reliant on Anthony Martial, whilst De Bruyne is shouldering the attacking burden in the absence of Sergio Aguero and David Silva. It looks like supporters are going to be treated to a close-fought title race this season.