The Manchester Derby: More Than Just Bragging Rights On The Line

Arch-rivals Manchester United and Manchester City will meet in this weekend’s blockbuster Premier League encounter at Old Trafford.

The two foes will square up in Sunday’s top of the league clash and their meeting will not have any intent of harmonising their long running enmity as United will be hoping to close the gap between the two sides while City will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of the league.

Sitting at 43 points, Man City are 8 points ahead of second placed Man United and are yet to lose a game this season dropping points just once against Everton in a 1 all stalemate, but they will face an uphill battle at Old Trafford.

 

KEY BATTLES

José Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola

Rivalry will be renewed between the two impressively decorated managers in a tactical battle.

When José joined Manchester United last year he dismissed talks of reigniting his rivalry with Pep that began in 2010 when the former took charges of Real Madrid in an aim to end Pep’s Barcelona dominance and during their time in Spain, the duo were often involved in a war of words.

While it is unlikely that a war of words will be repeated this season, rest assured a masterclass tactical battle will dawn upon us.

 

Red Wall vs Blue Sharks

Free scoring City attacking forward line will put up an arduous test for United’s back line.

Manchester City’s David Silva remains a major doubt for Sunday’s game according to their manager, something United fans will be hoping is true and not just mind games.

Silva’s absence could affect City but not as much as Pogba and Bailly’s absence for United. Pogba, who has been playing a pivotal role for the Red Devils scoring 3 goals and providing 5 assists in 8 games, is ruled out through suspension after getting a red card in last weekend’s win over Arsenal while Bailly is out injured.

City’s formidable attacking force have scored 46 goals, more than any team in the league. While on the other hand, United have conceded least number of goals in the league with 9 goals. The best attack will come against the best defence on Sunday.

 

Midfield battle

The biggest battle will be in the midfield and that is where the game will be won. It is not yet clear who will partner Matic in the midfield to fill up Pogba’s place for the home side.

Fellaini, who has been declared fit for the derby, could be deployed in to add aerial threat forward and neutralise City’s against big guys like Otamendi and Kompany on set-pieces. Herrera could take his position for the man-marking job on City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

United could also opt for 3 central midfielders with Matic, Fellaini and Herrera pairing to allow wingers to have more access to move forward fluidly. City, on the other hand, may have to turn to Gundogan or Yaya Toure to pair up with Fernandinho depending on the Gaffer’s plans on the day. The latter would be much ideal if United approach the game with a defensive set-up.

Fernandinho will play a big role defensively as will Matic for Man United, they will both be anchoring their midfields and guiding their backlines.

 

Record-breaking derby

Manchester City need one more win to beat the Premier League record of 13 consecutive wins in a single season, while Manchester United need one more scalp to beat their club record of 40 games unbeaten at Old-Trafford.

Interestingly, the last team to beat Manchester United at home was Manchester City.

 

Written by Bonno Macheng

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