Jermaine Jenas has singled out Aaron Wan-Bissaka for praise after the ‘annoying’ Manchester United full-back got the better of Raheem Sterling in the side’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City on Sunday.
Anthony Martial latched on to Bruno Fernandes’ sublime quick free-kick and volleyed home to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark before Scott McTominay capitalised on Ederson’s wayward throw to put the Red Devils out of sight in the final minute of stoppage time.
It’s the first time United have completed the Premier League double over their city rivals since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down back in 2013 and January arrival Fernandes once again received widespread acclaim for the role he played at Old Trafford. After all, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are yet to suffer defeat since the Portuguese signed on the dotted line.
Former England and Tottenham midfielder Jenas instead chose to highlight the impressive performance of Wan-Bissaka at right-back who managed to keep Sterling quiet for the most part at the Theatre of Dreams.
‘We know he’s good at defending but the one-vs-one battle between him and Sterling was something I was really looking forward to and it was something that Wan-Bissaka came out on top of during the game,’ Jenas said on Match of the Day 2.
‘It was a difficult afternoon for Sterling, especially in the first half. Wan-Bissaka’s body shape here (above) is telling Sterling where he wants him to go. He’s dictating this movement here. He’s saying, “Go on, you go down there and I’ll take it off you” and obviously people like Fred are biting at people’s heels all day long.
‘This one (below) I particularly like because it’s the inside run from Sterling. Sterling is being clever now, he’s trying different things but Wan-Bissaka’s body shape is good again and you can see where Sterling trying to come from.
‘He’s saying to Sterling, “You try it and I’m gonna be on you”. He’s got that reach of his legs, he must be so annoying to play against because he doesn’t give you a second to breathe. His legs are everywhere.
‘This is the side of his game (below) that he needs to work on. Going forward it’s brilliant but that’s not a difficult ball – he needs to be calm in these situations, he needs to get his head up and pick people out.
‘He was a bit rash and got a little bit too excited in a really important moment but he does show that he is capable of doing it. He can play lovely delicate balls for his strikers to go and attack.
‘But this (below) was the moment of the match for me from his point of view. It was the first time that they actually lost him, Gabriel Jesus got the other side of him, but look at the ground he makes up to make the tackle.
‘It was a big tackle in a big moment during the game. What a performance.’
United head coach Solskjaer praised the character of his players after their win and heralded Fernandes’ display in the middle of the park.
On Fernandes’ impact, the Norwegian said: ‘The whole club [has been lifted]. Because he has everything I spoke about.
‘He works hard, he is humble enough, he’s got the desire and commitment, but he’s also got the X-factor.
‘He is a risk-taker, he’s got the courage to make mistakes and if you make enough mistakes it’ll be corrected into fantastic assists or goals.
‘You need a character here, you need character at this club, but this team they have got that.
‘They have learned through some hard times this season, because we have been a young team and we have started something we believe in and Bruno has helped that.’
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