The biggest match of the season is coming up on Saturday, with Manchester United taking on their neighbors and rivals, Manchester City. The stakes are high for both teams as they battle it out in the race to qualify for next year’s Champions League. Meanwhile, rivalries have been renewed between Pep Guardiola’s side and Jose Mourinho’s men following a tetchy summer transfer window that saw Paul Pogba return to Old Trafford amid rumors over his potential move to City.
Manchester United and Manchester City are the top 2 teams in England and will face off Saturday for a spot at the FA Cup Final. Both clubs have had rough seasons, but they’ll be facing each other knowing this is their chance to make it right. The big issues going into the match?The Manchester derby is always a big game, but this season there are so many questions. The Reds have failed to win in the league since September and United will be without Pogba for the first time ever. Can Pep’s side take advantage of their star player? How did City do last year against Everton after they lost KDB to injury? What key match-ups could decide who wins on Sunday?Manchester United are currently sitting in second place, while Manchester City are in third. The big issue going into the Manchester derby is that both teams have a lot of attacking options. Read more in detail here: man utd transfer news.
The 186th Manchester derby at Old Trafford will have considerably more on the line than local pride, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s status as Manchester United manager still under examination and Chelsea pouring pressure on in the Premier League championship chase.
The game is framed by United’s humiliating 5-0 home loss to Liverpool a week ago, which has cast a pall over the hosts on Saturday.
United – and Solskjaer – will find it tough to digest another defeat against a significant rival so soon after. However, considering City’s early-season record, loss has ramifications for them as well.
Last season, both teams won one game away from home and drew the other in three matches. United have won four of the past seven in all competitions, while Pep Guardiola has won five of his eight Manchester derbies as City manager.
But can Solskjaer take another setback, and how important would a third defeat of the season be for United’s championship hopes?
Has Solskjaer been able to ride the pressure wave?
The difficulty for United is that the magnitude of Liverpool’s setback means that nothing can be taken for granted.
According to United insiders, everything is well and the club is still behind the Norwegian. However, if Guardiola’s side were to inflict a similar level of pain, it’s tough to see Solskjaer surviving, particularly considering that even some of those who have supported the former striker despite widespread criticism now believe his term should come to an end.
United has also positioned itself in a position where any unfavorable outcome will almost certainly lead to an exaggerated response.
For example, after Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Atalanta, the club received a barrage of harsh social media feedback and external media inquisitions. Despite this, the Italians defeated Liverpool last season and drew with Manchester City the previous season.
United’s draw would have been considered as a positive in a different environment, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s late equalizer a respectable demonstration of their resolve to be defeated despite not playing well.
Instead, there is a greater emphasis on an apparent absence of a game plan, as well as comparisons to other coaches’ approaches.
Although United’s senior staff, headed by the Glazer family and departing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, has shown commendable support for Solskjaer, the storm has yet to pass.
United and City will be even on points if they defeat one other. If they lose, though, United might drop as as low as 10th place in the league rankings.
The roles reflect the current state of uncertainty at Old Trafford. And, with Antonio Conte settling in at Tottenham, if United do need to make a move, the biggest name available in the immediate aftermath of the Liverpool disaster is now unavailable.
Is it possible for City to lose any more distance in the fight for the title?
City’s championship defense is in jeopardy after last weekend’s home loss by Crystal Palace.
Despite overcoming Chelsea in September at Stamford Bridge, they are presently five points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side. Furthermore, they have a nine-goal advantage over Chelsea.
City are two points ahead of where they were after ten games last season, when it was generally believed that they had had a slow start. City only lost three points in their following 19 games after drawing their next two games.
With Chelsea expected to surpass City’s 86 points from last season – after dropping only five points in their first ten games – a similar run might be necessary for Guardiola’s side to defend their title.
The main issue is if this is achievable, considering Guardiola’s failure to acquire the striker he wanted last summer when Borussia Dortmund refused to sell Erling Braut Haaland, and City’s efforts to get Harry Kane, despite the player’s evident desire to leave Tottenham, were unsuccessful.
City has clearly shown that a ‘false nine’ can be beneficial both last season and this season.
Guardiola, on the other hand, has already talked about the unique characteristics of elite attackers, such as the ability to’smell’ opportunities, as the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach puts it.
Guardiola has challenges to contend with, with Kevin de Bruyne not yet at his best and Jack Grealish delivering in spurts rather than on a steady basis since his record £100 million purchase from Aston Villa. Ones that go beyond his assertion that City receives no ‘assistance,’ which he did not explain on following City’s 4-1 triumph over Club Brugge in midweek despite being pressed repeatedly.
Will City’s failure to sign Ronaldo come back to bite them?
Guardiola was also asked to appraise United after Club Brugge’s victory.
He stated that he had not watched the Atalanta game, but said he knew they were excellent and that they possessed ‘one of the finest players in history, a man who can be a scoring machine.’
It may take some time to find out just how close City came to signing Ronaldo in August. The club, on the other hand, was clearly after him. United only made their approach after it became evident that one of their greatest-ever players may be joining their arch-rivals.
Given Guardiola’s desire for a striker and the fact that Ronaldo was available, it’s reasonable to think he would have preferred him. However, there are two schools of thought regarding his influence on the pitch since returning to United.
One might just look at his nine goals in 11 games and their significance – late wins against Villarreal and Atalanta, as well as Tuesday’s magnificent stoppage-time effort to secure a point in Italy – and pronounce the case closed.
There is, however, a different school of thinking. Specifically, Solskjaer has been assembling an offense of swift, youthful players capable of performing the high press that many teams favor, such as City, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
He had spent £73 million on England winger Jadon Sancho and had convinced Edinson Cavani to stay at the club, so he had some experience to help the young players.
That pattern was basically torn up by Ronaldo’s entrance. For the time being, Sancho and Cavani have been utilized sparingly.
Even if it had been his game in the first place, Ronaldo, at 36, is unable to press in the manner that the current game needs. Ronaldo has always been a player who is more efficient when he is in possession than when he is not.
Sir Alex Ferguson moved Wayne Rooney out wide and moved Cristiano Ronaldo to center-forward during his first spell at the club, believing that the England player would not be found lacking on the defensive side of the game.
Many former players regarded United’s illogical press as a big factor in their thrashing by Liverpool.
So, is Ronaldo helping United, or just rescuing them from a position in which his presence was a big role in their inception?
The “john stones wife” is a topic that has been discussed for quite some time. There are many different issues that have been brought up, but the most important one is how Man City will defend.
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