Manchester Derby. Blue vs Red. Manchester City vs Manchester United. The battle of the heavyweights of Manchester.
The Manchester Derby is one of the most iconic fixtures of English top-flight football. With rivalry spanning over centuries, the match never fails to deliver on its hype. Ever since Machester City’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, City has been reborn from the ashes and climbed its way up into Europe’s elites. On the other hand, Manchester United have been in a decline ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The battle between these two looks very one-sided on paper but Ole has managed to be unbeaten against Guardiola for the past two seasons in the Premier League. With the top 4 of the PL table still looking pretty congested, both the sides will want to give it their all to get all 3 points and the bragging rights from this high profile fixture.
Both the teams have had a topsy turvy season. City sit above United in the league table at the moment.
After facing a defeat against Crystal Palace last weekend, City bounced back with a 4-1 win against Club Brugge in the Champions League. They will be looking to continue that form into this match and get the better of United to close the gap between them and Chelsea and Liverpool.
United has been clouded by managerial troubles all season. With OleOut shouts looming all over the media, the manager will be under intense pressure to win this match and keep a hold of his seat. United managed to defeat Tottenham 3-0 last weekend and followed it up with a 2-2 draw against Atalanta after a Ronaldo masterclass. The team will be going all-in to win this game and put up a fight for a place in the higher rankings in the table.
Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjær have had an evenly matched record against each other in the Premier League. The Norweigan has not been beaten by Guardiola in the Premie League since April 2019. He was also the one to end City’s winning run last season when Guardiola’s team seemed unstoppable.
In their 8 meetings in the Premier League, Ole has managed to get the better of Guardiola on 4 occasions whereas the Spaniard has won thrice against the Red Devils. The match this weekend is evenly poised and could prove to be pivotal in this season’s race for the title.
Both of the teams are filled with superstars. It is almost impossible to pick out one or two players from the teams who can prove to be the difference in this match. With City having the firepower of the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden and with United having influential players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and David De Gea, the match is sure to be all fireworks and explosions.
City’s players to watch this season are Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden. Joao Cancelo has been amazing at the left-back role this season, defending brilliantly and causing havoc on the left side of the field as well. The player pairing up with him will be Phil Foden who also plays on the left side of the field as a left-winger or a left-centre mid. The link-up between the two is phenomenal and good enough to turn the game on its head. The Stockport Iniesta has 8 goal contributions in 12 matches this season and looks to be on his way to being a pure City legend. If we’re mentioning link up, it is hard to not talk about Bernardo Silva. He has been City’s best player this season with his excellent link-up play and industrious work rate. The Portuguese have been the most consistent player in the City roster.
Manchester United have a player. That player’s name is Cristiano Ronaldo. When you have one of the greatest players of all time on your team, no matter how the team plays, this man can single-handedly win you matches. With 4 goals and 1 assist in 7 matches this season, CR7 is a force to be reckoned with. Assisting him from the midfield is Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese have shot up to fame ever since he joined the Premier League. With his pinpointed passes, crosses and through balls, this duo can wreak havoc against the City’s defence, which has looked fragile at times this season. Even with City’s immense attacking prowess, the man to beat will be David De Gea. The Spaniard has been in the Premier League for ages now and he is the epitome of consistency. With lightning-quick reflexes and amazing positioning, the Sky Blues are going to have a hard time getting past him.
This match is one of the most awaited fixtures in the Premier League with both of the sides entering the field to prove who is the better Manchester side and whose name will reverberate in the streets of Manchester as well as in fan clubs worldwide. The defending champions will be poised to win this fixture as they look to make a run for their 4th title in 5 seasons. The Red Devils on the other hand will be looking for a point to prove that they are still the bigger club in the city and can cause upsets when you least expect them to.