Manchester Derby

Manchester Derby Match Preview – Can Rangnick carry Solskjaer’s legacy of Etihad dominance?

Manchester Derby has been one of Premier League Royalties every season. Even though the tides are heavily favoring the hosts this time around, you just never know about this one. Same tides were favoring Manchester City last season as well. But the visitors showed their tactical class to outclass Guardiola (watch here) and Co’s high defensive line. This time the difference is huge, pretty huge for Manchester United Fans to feel confident. Though, with Guardiola’s tactics and Manchester United’s unpredictability you just can’t be too sure of a one sided contest.

Last season’s Manchester Derby win took Manchester United to within 11 points of their local rivals while they go into this weekend’s game 19 points and three places back. This indicates clearly that things haven’t been great with them lately. Manchester City though just like last season have been buttery smooth with their campaign. Netting five past Sporting CP in 1st leg they’ve finished the tie already and are leaders in Premier League as well. Though, with the slip ups against Southampton and Tottenham (watch here) have made it a two horse vs Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s men unlike them have been clumsy in the Manchester Derby especially at the Etihad Stadium. During his reign as City manager, Pep Guardiola has hosted Manchester United six times in all competitions and won just once, a 3-1 Premier League win in November 2018. That was in the dying embers of Jose Mourinho’s tenure. While surprisingly Ole Gunner Solskjaer was unbeaten in Manchester Derbies at Etihad (3 Wins) and the tenure also included a Premier League double over Manchester City in 2019-20.

Manchester Derby Double over Manchester City

Preview for Manchester City – 

With Pep Guardiola, the master tactician you never know anything. The fact that Manchester City is playing the season with no real striker in starting eleven gives even more wings to Pep’s unpredictability. He can even walk past Manchester United with 5-6 goals, with the ruthless aggression he can deliver in team’s attack. He can even concede 1 or 2 and his men unable to find their mojo in the final 3rd. One thing is for sure, City will play a high line and will press hard because that’s the hallmark of Josep’s managing legacy.

Manchester City have can have one notable snub in form of Ruben Dias after the defender “felt something in his leg” as per Pep during the game vs Peterborough and was substituted during half time (Update – After our article Ruben Dias is indeed out for 4-6 weeks ruling him out of Derby). This can give a knock to City if he missed as Laporte and Cancelo have been underwhelming while defending causing problems for home side. Manchester City were very impressive in the 0-2 victory at Old Trafford last year in November and could’ve added more to their tally but De Gea and some missed luck halted their chances. Gabriel Jesus started on the right wing in that match, just an explanation of Pep pulling out anything on the Boxing Day.

Manchester City are recently starting with John Stones as a Right back with Laporte and Dias in the heart of their defense and Cancelo as LB who’s naturally a RB. Now with Dias’s injury Stones will return to his natural position and Walker at RB most probably. Except for Rodri playing the holding midfielder role everything else in the attack can be switched as per the needs of a particular game and at the given moment of match as per situation. In the last match, Foden-Silva-Sterling were at the top of attack but as the match eventually progressed and Everton made Pep desperate for goals the attack was changed to Sterling-Foden-Silva. Riyad Mahrez can too come from the bench for a cameo if needed as he was in the last 2 premier league games.

Predicted 11 (4-3-3)

Ederson(GK), Walker(RB), Stones(CB), Laporte(CB), Cancelo(LB), Gundogan(CM), Kevin De Brunye(CM), Rodri (CDM), Foden(LW), Silva(CF), Sterling(RW)

Preview for Manchester United –

A lot has changed since Manchester United last thrashed local rivals in Manchester Derby at Etihad by 0-2. Varane, Telles, Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo, De Gea and Matic are among the new faces who are expected to start on Sunday who were not a part of that sweet victory last season. Nemanja Matic is expected to start due to his impressive start against Watford. Elanga has been impressive as a Super Sub as well especially that invaluable goal against Atletico Madrid and got a call up to start the last match in place of Rashford. Rashford having a poor run of form is expected to be limited to bench. De Gea being in his best form means no start for Dean Henderson yet again as it’s been the entire 2022. The midfield with the introduction of Paul Pogba has been difficult to predict as Rangnick has used 3 different combinations at the heart of Double Pivot Midfield in last 3 matches ( Fred-Matic, Pogba-Fred, Pogba-McTominay).

When United last time won Manchester Derby in 2020-21
When Manchester United last time won Manchester Derby in 2020-21 season.

Rangnick’s United is missing the trick upfront while finishing with Cristiano Ronaldo being in poor form in terms of finishing chances. Though against Watford even the likes of Bruno and Elanga were below average in front of goal. As a result Manchester United were forced to drop 2 points in a stalemate. The team’s creation has been brilliant but the lack of quality in finishing has frustrated the fans for a long time now. The Big Boys will need to step up on Sunday if Rangnick’s Reds want even a smell of victory against Manchester City.

Can Manchester United convert chances in Manchester Derby ?

Predicted 11 (4-3-3) – De Gea(GK), Wan Bissaka(RB), Varane(CB), Maguire(CB), Telles(LB), Pogba(CM), Matic(CDM), Bruno(CM), Sancho(LW), Elanga(RW), Ronaldo(ST)

How can Rangnick take inspiration from Solskjaer Manchester Derby Tactics ?

Ole might had his managerial loops at times, but he used to get this one right in Manchester Derby. Playing with a low block, compact, frustrating the attack and using counter attacks to beat high line of Manchester City is a great option. This was shown by Tottenham, especially Harry Kane splitting that City defense from center of attack and even by Everton who missed the limited chances they made. If Rangnick can take the page out of Ole’s book, this match on Sunday can turn out to be a popcorn fest for the fans who currently expect City to win comprehensively.

Our Prediction for Manchester Derby – Manchester City (3) – Manchester United (1)

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