This Sunday marks the first Manchester derby of 2018/19, as Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions City face off with their most bitter rivals, neighbours United – still under the reins of Jose Mourinho despite a somewhat rocky start to the season.
Last season saw both teams have success in the derby; December 10th saw City defeat United 1-2 at Old Trafford, while the return fixture in April saw United pull off a stunning 2-3 victory at the Etihad – inflicting one of just two defeats all season on Guardiola’s men.
City are currently unbeaten in the Premier League and sit atop the table with 29 points, while United are 9 points behind them and are currently in 7th – but that doesn’t mean that the game won’t be a close one. With that said, I still expect City to pull off the win – and here are 3 reasons why.
#1: Pep Guardiola has a great record against Jose Mourinho
Of course, it goes without saying that on the pitch, it’s the players who have to face each other, not the managers. But one big advantage that City have over United is undoubtedly the record that their boss Pep Guardiola has against his counterpart, Jose Mourinho.
The two men have clashed numerous times in their storied careers – Guardiola has in fact faced Mourinho on 21 occasions, more than any other opponent. 11 of those matches were Spain’s famous ‘El Clasico’, with Mourinho managing Real Madrid against Pep’s Barcelona side, but they’ve also faced each other while managing Chelsea, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and of course, the Manchester clubs.
Of those 21 games, Guardiola’s sides have come out on top on 10 occasions and have only lost on 5, giving City’s manager a big psychological advantage over his rival. In fact, it could well be argued that the 5-0 defeat that Guardiola’s Barcelona inflicted on Mourinho’s Real in 2010/11 remains the most humiliating in the Portuguese manager’s career.
Sure, that game was 8 years ago, and in England, the duo’s teams have gone 2-2-1 – but it still suggests that Pep knows how to deal with Mourinho’s teams better than most – giving City an advantage on Sunday.