Fifteen visits to Manchester, fifteen defeats. Are we getting closer? Maybe, but the difference in quality was palpable. The best team in Europe remains the benchmark.
Pope – 6 – Had remarkably little to do, considering how the game went, especially in the first half. Saved a couple of times with his feet, but the only time he was extended was the goal. Got fingertips to it, but no more. Fine margins.
Trippier – 7 – Lively, active, and involved as always. A vital presence, both at right back and captain. Unable to get forward as much as normal.
Schär – 8 – One recovery tackle on Haaland was outstanding, and part of an outstanding partnership with Sven. Got in early tonight with his obligatory lengthy time being treated after beating the Norwegian colossus to an early header. Did he lose Alvarez for the goal?
Botman – 9 – Imperious. Went head to head, muscle to muscle with Haaland and came out on top. The scoop across to the left to get out of trouble is worth an extra mark alone.
Burn – 7 – Defended very narrowly to support the centre backs and left Walker to Gordon and Barnes. Solid defensively if limited in possession. Plus ça change.
Bruno – 6 – Fewer concentration lapses than of late and not caught in possession as he has been. But unable to impose himself and presumably most at fault for the space Foden exploited in the pocket. Not an enforcer at the base of midfield.
Tonali – 5 – As anonymous tonight as he was brilliant last weekend. Neat and compact as always, but part of a midfield that really struggled in the first half.
Joelinton – 5 – Gave the ball away a couple of times and unable to use his physicality to stem the tide in the first half. Limped off after a yellow card that possibly saved Gordon.
Almirón – 6.5 – By far the most lively United player first half, and offered an outlet in the second. But betrayed by a lack of quality on the ball, not least when Trippier ran length of pitch only to see Miggy give it away.
Isak – 5 – Not a sniff.
Gordon – 6 – Pinned back by Walker’s advanced position but still had the best chance of the match. Should surely have shot first time at the far post, rather than trying to control the ball. Another who didn’t get close to last week’s heights. Lucky to stay on the pitch until he was hooked to protect himself?
Longstaff (for Joelinton, 56) – 5 – Seemed rusty. Had little influence.
Barnes (for Gordon, 56) – 6 – More assured than Gordon, but also less involved.
Wilson (for Isak, 66) – 5 – Poor when things opened up in the second half. Will be ruing making such an almighty pig’s arse of the 2 on 1 he was presented with by Rodri.
Anderson (for Tonali, 66) – 7 – The best of our midfielders on the night. Got on the ball and influenced the match more than his more fabled peers.
Livramento (for Almirón, 86) – n/a – No chance to get involved, but interesting that he was Howe’s cover to replace Miggy on the right in Murphy’s absence.