Battle of minds: Jose and Pep are both famous for showcasing a tactical masterclass in their head to head matches. Sunday’s derby will be no different.
One of the most iconic fixtures in the football calendar, the Manchester Derby will take place at the Etihad stadium with both teams having very differing starts to the campaign.
Guardiola’s City have gotten off to a flying start. Scoring more goals than any other club in the league, City also boast the highest number of clean sheets in the league this season. Unbeaten in the league with 9 wins out of 11, City sit comfortably at the top. It is only November but it seems hard to believe that any other team can clinch the title from City this season. It is an impeccable Guardiola side that will not lose easily to any team, especially at home.
Mourinho’s United sit in 8th place; stark contrast to their neighbors. The season has started poorly for English football’s most successful side; 6 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses from their 11 games so far. Goal scoring hasn’t come easy either with many questioning Jose’s naivety in sticking to defensive football despite having much better attacking players compared to the out of form defenders. However, United’s recent red hot form credit to Mourinho’s expert tactical maneuvers coupled with brilliant performances from in form players such as Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof make it clear that the derby won’t be a walkover for City.
Kevin De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo and Eliaquim Mangala all remain sidelined due to injuries. Ilkay Gundogan is available meaning Pep faces a tough choice in choosing his midfield for the derby. The front three chooses itself and it’s hard to imagine Pep would drop any of his defenders.
Predicted lineup: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Stones, Mendy; B.Silva, Fernandinho, D.Silva;Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.
Paul Pogba is a doubt for United having not featured in Friday’s Carrington training session as well as not being seen yesterday at the Lowry. Of course, this could be a ruse my Mourinho in an attempt to confuse City as was done with Rashford at Chelsea last season. There are no other new injuries to the squad. Romelu Lukaku is fit though it’s hard to see him featuring. Hard to see Mourinho changing the side too much.
Predicted lineup: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Pogba, Matic, Herrera; Mata, Sanchez, Martial.
Pogba was instrumental in United’s comeback at the Etihad last season to win 3-2.
The Manchester Derby has had it all and it promises to provide even more this Sunday. From late dramatic comebacks. 6-1 walkovers to Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick: this fixture never disappoints. Expect a fierce contest come Sunday: fireworks await. The domination of Manchester and all the bragging rights are at stake in this fixture which could be a turning point in either team’s seasons so far.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-2 Manchester United