This Saturday, December 7, Old Trafford hosts this season’s first Manchester Derby as Pep Guardiola and his men head across the city to take on a Manchester United team in a fixture that hasn’t looked this favourably on the sky-blue team in a very long time.
City are current English champions, winning a trio of domestic trophies last season and have become one of the greatest teams in Europe under the tutelage of the Spaniard. United, on the other hand, are floundering in mid table with over 20 points separating them from table toppers Liverpool. Their fall from grace has been well documented and rumours of their manager’s tenure being on the line in the coming weeks abounding.
Now, we know the old adage of ‘form means nothing on derby day’, which has rung true over the past few seasons, as Manchester United were just one of two teams to beat City during their 100 points tallying 17/18 season. Going into this fixture though, things are looking a little different.
Manchester City have not hit the heights of the two previous seasons, with 3 losses against them already this season with just 15 games played. Injuries to key players such as Laporte and Leroy Sane and an inability to adapt their game plan when under pressure has meant the otherwise unbeatable team have looked vulnerable at the back costing them points along the way.
United have their own struggles too. Under new manager Ole Gunnar Solsksjaer they have been lacklustre, only able to manage 4 wins from their first 14 games of the season. Major injuries to star players such as Paul Pogba and Martial have hampered them, true, but a lack of form even with those players present has placed the former striker under great pressure to turn the teams’ fortunes around. And what better place to do that than in the Manchester derby?
A win for the red devils could see the Cityzens fall even further behind league leaders Liverpool, a team that are proving that they won’t be ignored easily as they have lead the pack from day one this season, and are yet to lose a game so far.
What are your predictions for the Manchester derby on Saturday? Will Ole be able to hang on to his job a while longer or will Pep’s protégés be too much to handle?