Something is not working, and the City victory over United with a striking 3-1 scoreline clearly reveals it. Jose Mourinho's team is passing through a mild crisis, so to speak, because they are ranking at eighth and have a negative goal score of -1, which clearly shows that their performance has been declining, and after this recent match, it only keeps going down.
The picture does not look good, of course, but what exactly is not working? What needs a fix? What needs to be done to return the Manchester United to their former glory?
City vs. United: A victory foretold
Anyone who watched the match can say that the Manchester City had an easy win over United. It was not hard - not even a bit. In fact, all betting websites like free-bets.net had City as the clear favourite for winning. A victory foretold.
It is clear that Guardiola's tiki-taka style wins games, and in this case, United could not do anything about it. City had all the elements necessary for an easy win: superior possession, a high-pressure attacking style, a smart defence and effective counter-attacking.
Guardiola's game style and strategy worked wonderfully well against the Manchester United because it was impossible for them to capitalise on bounces of the ball, and generally, City simply eclipsed all of their chances. With a superior and strategic attack, a responsive defence and agile and smart counter-attacks, United didn't stand a chance.
If we add the fact that Pogba couldn't play due to an injury, it is easy to understand why the match finished this way. Even though the team cannot depend on a single player, he is the one who can bring enough security and confidence to them - something that was absent in this game.
On top of that, it was impossible to get the ball through midfield due to Pogba's absence. Herrera, Matic and Fellaini did not know how to solve this problem, and this element contributed to their defeat. Many variables came into play.
It is evident that something is not okay, but what are the reasons for this detrimental performance?
Is Jose Mourinho the one to blame?
It is easy to point the finger at Mourinho and blame him for the deficient results during this season, but in fact, the Manchester United has a serious structural problem, the same one that neither Louis van Gaal nor David Moyes couldn't solve.
Mourinho has a proven record of success with 20 titles won, and from all the managers the United has had, he is the most successful by far.
One of the biggest obstacles is that he is stuck with the players brought in by previous managers, something that does not allow him to create the strategies he has in mind.
United has a structural problem that deserves the attention of all the board and the coaches. They need to sit down to analyse it and discover how to fix it, as it is something that Mourinho alone cannot solve - he needs the entire team to support him in this gigantic task.
However, citing back the City vs. United match, it showed that he is confused about the optimal lineup, especially for important matches against leading teams. He came up with a strong and bulky midfield, but as we all saw, they could not do much without Pogba. They lacked mobility and dexterity, which are essential elements.
It was incredible to see how easy it was for the Manchester City to filter passes through the midfield. Herrera couldn't do anything against Leroy Sane, who did whatever he pleased. The inefficient midfield, and weak performance overall, made it easy for the City to find incredible opportunities to exploit - which of course, they turned into goals.
What to do?
It all starts with consensus and talking about the structural problem that is damaging the club. Without it, nothing can be fixed, because the real elements that are wrecking the performance must be addressed.
Second, Mourinho should have more freedom to hire new players and make the adjustments that he needs. It is clearly known that many of the players brought in by previous managers are not ideal for his strategies, and this is costing him many victories. He must sign players who fit in.
Finally, he needs to rethink his lineups, especially regarding the midfield, because he is depending too much on luck and bounces of the ball, something that can be easily neutralised by teams like the Manchester City.
Manchester United stand little chance of coming out on top this season, but now the aim must be to fix this structural problem before it becomes too big and sends the club into a terrible crisis, because this is how it starts.