The Manchester Derby is looming. Two teams and two great rivals will be testing each other in a much-awaited clash that could prove to be a decisive match of the season. Manchester City have a lead of eight points, while Manchester United have an impeccable record at Old Trafford this season.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping his team will show another great performance in attacking areas of the pitch. They did that to great effect against Arsenal last weekend and a win over Pep Guardiola’s team will not be important only for Mourinho’s post-match press conference. It would be important for Manchester United staying in the title race, especially now when Chelsea have lost against West Ham United on Saturday.
There is no other team to catch Manchester City now. It is either United or no one. Chelsea are 11 points behind league leaders with a match in hand and it is almost impossible seeing such a turnaround. So, the whole title race is now concentrated on Manchester United trying to get back in it.
Stopping Creative Outlets
To do that, Manchester United would need to win on Sunday. A draw would still be a decent result and eight points would still be a not-to-bad kind of distance. For that, Manchester United must stop City’s creative outlets.
First and foremost, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. The Belgian-Spanish duo is playing remarkably this season. They were part of 22 goals for Man City already, with De Bruyne scoring four and assisting eight and Silva scoring two and assisting eight goals.
Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera will probably be the ones with the task of stopping them. “When [Kevin] De Bruyne’s on the ball, he’s always got that eye for a killer pass that can put a player one-on-one with the keeper”, Jesse Lingard pointed out ahead of the clash. And the Englishman has a point. The Man City duo must be put into positions where they are of a less danger. They should not be allowed any space, because even the tiniest space could be exploited by them.
Manchester United Should Try The Press Early On
Another thing that is very interesting about Man City is that they are not 100 per cent unbreakable at the back. Their attack has been so good it gave them enough options to keep winning in tight matches. However, City conceded in their last four matches and lost a meaningless game against Shakhtar.
Manchester United could therefore try and replicate the opening 15 minutes of the Arsenal match. Mourinho’s players harassed Arsenal defenders high up the pitch, hurrying them into making mistakes. From their two mistakes, Manchester United scored two goals in opening 11 minutes, setting the tone of the match.
Having in mind that John Stones will not be playing for the visitors, this could be real possibility for Mourinho. Their remaining centre-backs are not as confident on the ball as the former Everton player. Both Danilo and Fabian Delph are not left-footed playing at left-back, so that is another area that could possibly be exploited during the opening press.
It is a tough ask, but Manchester United must do anything they can to win the derby. The whole Premier League wants that as well.