Saturday 10 November 2018

Manchester derby match preview

United go into the 177th Manchester derby meeting as underdogs as Pep Guardiola's unbeaten champions look well equipped to successfully defend the title this season.
Having smashed every record in the book on the way to the most dominant title win the land has ever seen last time, City have ominously picked up where they left off having already moved two points clear in the league, winning their last two ties 12-1 on aggregate. Last season's corresponding fixture will live long in the memory as we ruined City's coronation day with a climb off the canvas 3-2 win despite trailing 0-2 at half time in April.

United head into the game in much improved form, though, and off the back of superb win in Turin. will set out to nullify City, similar to how they approached the match against Juve, but even more emphasis will be on our defensive shape. Guardiola’s side will dominate possession and wait patiently for gaps to appear, so each and every United player will need to be disciplined throughout. The players will believe that if they can go to Juventus and turn over one off the best sides in Europe on their own patch, then they can beat anyone in world football.

Reds boss Jose Mourinho has no fresh injury concerns to deal with, but  there is a chance that Romelu Lukaku could return from his recent lay-off having trained on Friday. With Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini all helping to turn the tide at the Allianz Stadium, Mourinho has plenty of options as he considers how to shock our all-conquering neighbours.
City will be without string-puller in chief Kevin de Bruyne after he suffered another knee problem, with centre-half Nicolas Otamendi (knee) and Ilkay Gundogan - a scorer in this game last time - set to be sidelined. Long term absentees Claudio Bravo and Eliaquim Mangala are both out.

Mourinho lauded his United side as ‘a team that always finds a way to fight back' in the wake of a series of  recent comeback wins against Newcastle, Bournemouth and Juve.
He said: “If you want to go in a positive way, we are not a team that gives up,”
“We are a team that always finds a way to fight back. We can also go to the other side: why do we always concede before the opponent?
 “Sometimes changing results, sometimes not, we are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back. But it is not always possible so if we keep conceding goals before the opponent, the day when we cannot come back will arrive.”
Mourinho played down allegations over City's illegal financial activity that has cast a shadow over the blue side of Manchester in the past few days.
He added: "I cannot say what is behind but in this moment I am only focused on the four lines of football, if you want to speak about their football potential we can speak and football potential starts with investment." 

Form guide: Man City W W W W W W Man Utd W D L W W W 
Match odds: Man City 2/5 Draw 19/5 Man Utd 8/1
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Altrincham) 

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