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Manchester Derby Preview: Can Stubborn United Stop The City Juggernaut?

Manchester Derby Preview: Can Stubborn United Stop The City Juggernaut?
Thursday,November 8,2018

Bragging rights are up for grabs on Sunday, as City and United do battle in the Manchester derby. Both sides are coming off the back of impressive Champions League wins, with City thrashing Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 and United leaving it late to come away from Juventus with an outstanding 2-1 victory. But attention quickly turns to Sunday, in a match with plenty riding on it, and not just three vital points.


Pep Guardiola will be desperate to end City’s poor recent record against United, which includes just two wins in their last eight in all competitions, and they’re without victory in their last three league meetings at the Etihad. The last time they met was the memorable encounter in April, when United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and deny City the pleasure of clinching the title at home to their fiercest rivals. But since that defeat, City have been in unstoppable form, unbeaten in 17 league games, winning 14, including three by five goal margins this season.


It promises to be another fascinating clash on Sunday, but can Jose Mourinho’s men come out on top once more?



Can stubborn United defence stop City’s attacking juggernaut?


Man City have been in irresistible form this season, particular at home in the Premier League. Since that aberration in April, Pep’s men have won eight of nine home league games including all six this season. They thrashed Huddersfield and Southampton 6-1, while smashing five past Burnley, but United will be the first so called big six side to visit the Etihad this season.


But City have collected seven points from a potential nine available away to fellow title contenders, although as United showed on Wednesday they can be a hard nut to crack away from home with the way they set up.


That said, City are a different beast with goals from multiple sources. Six players have netted five or more goals in all competitions so far this season, with Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling leading the way, scoring 10 and seven respectively. The ability to rotate their front men has seen second choice options Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus, all chip in with at least five goals each. What makes them even more seemingly unbeatable, is how they’ve become difficult to break down which has been their biggest weakness in recent years. John Stokes and Aymeric Laporte are forming an excellent partnership in the centre of defence, with skipper Vincent Kompany a reliable option when called upon. They’ve kept clean sheets at Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham already, and clearly have all bases covered, well on their way to retaining their title.


It’s no secret that Man Utd have come under massive scrutiny so far, but recent results have proved that all isn’t as bad as it seems. Since their 3-1 defeat to West Ham, United have won three in four league games, and became the first team in nine years to beat Juventus away from home in the Champions League group stage. That victory, as well as wins against Newcastle and Bournemouth, suggests this United side has plenty of character coming from behind and leaving it late in each encounter.


You could argue that United have only turned up when falling behind, but Jose Mourinho must also take credit for his impact on the game with substitutes proving to be match winners. Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the winner at Bournemouth, while Juan Mata netted a free-kick soon after coming on against Juventus, with Mourine Fellaini playing a big part in the second goal. They also brushed off a poor start to come away from Stamford Bridge with a credible 2-2 draw, and have proven to be a stubborn force to break down on the road in recent weeks.


United are blessed with some great attacking options, with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, as well as Alexis Sanchez - slowing getting back to form - and Romelu Lukaku - when on song. That attacking prowess has led to them looking dangerous on the counter, while the addition of Ander Herrera to play alongside Nemanja Matic on Wednesday, made it hard for Juventus to break them down. You’d expect the same 4-3-3 system and gameplan to be deployed on Sunday, which although might not make for the most entertaining game especially in the early stages, means you certainly can’t rule out United coming away with a positive result, and they’re going to need it, currently four points off the top four in seventh place.


How do you see the action unfolding?


As ever we’re running a match predictor for Sunday’s huge clash, with seven questions to answer on how you see the match playing out, including predicting the match result, how many goals will be scored and an anytime goalscorer.


It’ll be hard to look past a City win, while in terms of goals, three or more seems like a good compromise between an on fire City attack and a stubborn United defence. Aguero is among the favourites to score at anytime, and seems like a decent shout with seven league goals to his name already this season. Martial too is among the most likely to net, with five goals to his name, but Sterling could be the shrewdest option, fresh off three goals in the last week, and is better value at x2, meaning he’ll score double points.


A City 2-1 win with Sterling to score is how we see it going, but what about you? Tweet us @ipoolsHQ or comment below with your predictions!


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