5 reasons why Manchester United can beat Manchester City today

Marcus Rashford (left) and Erling Haaland (right)
Marcus Rashford (left) and Erling Haaland (right)

Manchester United will travel to the Etihad to take on Manchester City today (October 2). The Red Devils will be vying for revenge after being thrashed by their rivals in both their league meetings last season. United were beaten 2-0 at home and 4-1 by City at the Etihad in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign.

But things have changed quite a bit for Manchester United since then. After an extremely underwhelming 2021-22 season, they are now on the path to recovery under new manager Erik ten Hag.

They have quite a few promising players and experienced veterans and look capable of taking the game to the top teams in the country. In fact, United have already beaten the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal int he Premier League already this term.

It wouldn't be advisable to put beating Pep Guardiola's side past this Manchester United side. Without further ado, let's take a look at five reasons why Manchester United can beat Manchester City today.

#5 Manchester United's record at the Etihad

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United have won three of their last four visits to the Etihad. They have a pretty good record at Manchester City's stadium and that ought to worry Pep Guardiola. Something about the atmosphere seems to bring out the best in United and they will try to ensure things are no different this time.

United have won 11 of their 22 games played at the Etihad. They have drawn two and lost nine. Ten Hag's side has also won their last three away games across all competitions and will fancy their chances against their cross-city rivals.

#4 Manchester United attack in full strength with Rashford and Martial fit

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Anthony Martial has looked an entirely different player under Erik ten Hag. United have missed him dearly in his absence. The Frenchman's exquisite ball control and hold-up play enables the Red Devils to be efficient in attack.

Ten Hag revealed in the pre-match press conference that Martial has been training with the team all week. Rashford was reportedly doubtful for the game but he could be fit to play against Manchester city. Ten Hag said (United in Focus):

β€œFor the rest, we have some doubts with Anthony Martial but he was training all week with the group, so we are really happy with that situation and he is performing really well in training.
β€œHe makes a good impression. Rashford returns into training so also we are happy with that."

With Rashford, Sancho, Martial and Antony fit and raring to go, Ten Hag has plenty of pacy options in attack. He'll also have Cristiano Ronaldo to use as an impact-sub. The Dutch coach has already showcased his ability to make key decisions during the course of a game. This depth will help him greatly today.

#3 Manchester United have been solid at the back

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United have conceded only a single goal from open-play in their last six games. That's quite an improvement for a side that leaked six goals in their first two matches of the season.

The centre-back combination of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez has proved to be solid. Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia have been tenacious on the flanks and have shown a warrior-like mentality during defensive transitions.

United have also managed to hold their shape very well in recent outings. This level of discipline was lacking in the 2021-22 season but they've definitely made an improvement on that front this term.

#2 This is Manchester City's first real test in the Premier League this season

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League

Manchester City have got off to a pretty decent start to their title defense. Guardiola's men have beaten West Ham United, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They were held to a 3-3 draw by Newcastle United.

However, it's worth noting that all the teams they've beaten are in the bottom half of the table. City are yet to face any of the Premier League's top six sides this season. Manchester United, on the other hand, have already registered wins over Liverpool and Arsenal.

There is a chance that United are better prepared for this contest than City. They've already had to raise their game against tough opposition this term and will know exactly what level of intensity they will need to bring to beat City.

The last time Erling Haaland faced Lisandro Martinez, Martinez kept a clean sheet and walked away with a 4-0 victory πŸ‘€

#1 Manchester City's possession-based style could play right into United's hands

Bruno Fernandes celebrates a United goal against Arsenal FC - Premier League
Bruno Fernandes celebrates a United goal against Arsenal FC - Premier League

Manchester United have shown that they can break teams down with their passing game as evidenced by their opening goals against Liverpool and Arsenal. But the fact remains that they are simply better at counter attacking than stitching expansive moves together.

Few teams are more menacing on the counter than United. They killed both Liverpool and Arsenal off with expertly executed counters. With Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes, Ten Hag has two innovative midfielders. Neither Eriksen nor Fernandes shies away from busting their lungs either.

Up ahead of them would be the likes of Martial, Sancho and one of Antony or Rashford. City will play their possession-based game and every time they lose the ball, they run the risk of getting played through by United's pacy counter attack.

Despite scoring 2 goals against Arsenal, Rashford has said his favorite moment from September was his assist for Antony's goal, because it would help Antony settle in.Love the attitude and team spirit. Players putting the team before themselves. #mufc

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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