Manchester United are set to meet Manchester City for the second time this season. This time, however, it will be the first leg of the League Cup semifinal that the sides will play. When they met last time, it was exactly one month before this game, on 7 December.
Now, several things have happened in between and we will be making a look into Manchester City and their problems and what we would like to see from United at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will not have an easy task, but it will still be a good opportunity for the players to show that the win from a month ago was not a coincidence.
Losing The League
Even before that match against Man United, it was becoming more and more obvious that Man City’s grip on their title was getting weaker. The Manchester Derby had set them back for another three points and then they lost against Wolves some three weeks later. Since then, no one really believes there is any team capable of stopping Liverpool. This means Man City’s chances of winning three consecutive titles had vanished before the New Year.
That is a big hit for Pep Guardiola’s team who won 198 points in the last two campaigns alone, winning the most and second most points in a Premier League campaign ever. Against United, they will definitely feel an urge for revenge.
Man City have also shown that their defensive frailties have not been this bad since Pep Guardiola’s first season at the club. They conceded 24 goals in Premier League, one less than United, and they have been struggling to keep the clean sheets. There were the three goals against Wolves, two against Newcastle and in the Manchester Derby, single goals against Burnley, Leicester…
It is not that they always lose points when they concede, it is just that they too often become incredibly nervous when they concede first and often that leads to more individual errors from their defenders.
Watch Out For De Bruyne
If there is only one player to choose from all Man City players, one that is the most dangerous for opposition sides, that player should not be Raheem Sterling or even Sergio Aguero. That player is definitely Kevin De Bruyne, especially when he is in such form as he is right now. He is able to run games with ease, both from deep and from more attacking positions.
He is able to play almost like a number 10, but to also move left and right and even create incredible goalscoring opportunities when he is in the position of a right midfielder, 40 yards away from goal. De Bruyne’s dead ball deliveries is also something United should pay attention to, as Solskjaer’s team is not well versed with defending corners and free kicks. We will be in for a really interesting game on Tuesday, but it should be noted that United should not rush anything, with the second leg also to be played.