football

The Manchester Derby: But not as we know it

September 08, 2016

- Grant Whittington

The 2016 Manchester Derby

Let’s face facts; this seasons’ EPL promises to be a competition unlike any other we have seen in history. We should not be surprised of this, of course, particularly after in excess of £1 billion was spent to shatter last summer’s transfer window record and some of the world’s greatest managers decided to ply their trade in England’s top-flight.

Two of these greats go head-to-head this weekend, as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola do battle in the 172nd Manchester derby. Leading out United and City respectively, both managers will be desperate to stake an early claim for the EPL title while also maintaining their side’s 100% records at the start of the new season.

A Derby Like no Other: Preparing for a Unique Encounter

This will surely be a derby unlike any of the 171 that have gone before it, with the managers taking centre stage during the pre-match build up. The game itself is also harder to call than ever, particularly when you consider the clashes in style and philosophy that underpin the rivalry between Mourinho and Guardiola.

A quick glance at the Manchester United vs Manchester City odds hardly helps matters, with the hosts priced at 11/8 for the win and the visitors listed at 19/8. The draw at 12/5 seems the safest option, but both managers are born winners and it is hard to see a decisive outcome at Old Trafford this weekend.

Form and Class: Who will Prevail at Old Trafford?

Both sides are also confident and in good form, having won all three of their league matches prior to the international break. While City have been in excellent goal scoring form, their talisman Sergio Aguero will miss the derby as he begins a three-game ban, leaving them bereft of a world class presence in attack. In contrast, United have been outstanding defensively so far this term, while their attacking players have been efficient and clinical rather than dazzling.

The absence of Aguero coupled with United’s solid back line and home advantage could give the Reds a crucial competitive edge against the Citizens, who looked decidedly vulnerable defensively during the second half against West Ham at the Etihad last time out. With the stage also set for Paul Pogba to begin realising his immense potential and justifying his enormous price tag, we feel as though it is the Red half of Manchester that may well be celebrating come the weekend.

 

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