Five ways Manchester United can beat Manchester City
It’s the Manchester Derby this Sunday! Excitement is building up all across the world as both teams are set to lock horns at the Etihad at 1:30 pm BST tomorrow. I`d like nothing better than a United win however and here are five ways in which that can happen:
Don’t Back Off:
United must not allow the City players to settle on the ball. They must be harried from the outset and players like Toure, Silva (if he plays) who are yet to find form must not be given the time and space to work their magic. City are three points behind United and they must be made to feel the gap every second of the match. This match is more about psychological blows than about the points. There are 22 matches to go after this so there is a lot of time for either side to catch the other.
United will need to be smart in their attacking play if they are to put City under the mat. Assuming Ashley Young and Daniel Welbeck play on the right and left flank, it will be very important for United to put balls in for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to attack. Welbeck isn’t that good at crossing, so he’ll take Patrice Evra‘s help for the same.
Chances will be at a premium in this game and having a predator like van Persie means that should United put in balls, the chances of a goal will go up manifold. The flanks will be United’s biggest source of strength. Young will need to wriggle free of Pablo Zabaleta and put in balls in the danger zone i.e. the area between Hart and the centre-backs. This is the space van Persie and Rooney will look to attack and score goals from.
Defend Solidly as a team:
United have hardly had any clean sheets this season but the ones that they had at home to West Ham and especially the one at St. James` park were noteworthy for the way that the team defended as a whole and hence we saw a much improved and solid defensive performance from the side. The back four will most likely be: Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.
These four will have to be at the top of their game as the stakes are high and defeat is unfathomable for the United faithful. Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher (assuming he starts) will need to be very efficient on the ball and on high alert off it as players like Silva need but a moment to wreak havoc on the opposition.
Play de Gea:
David De Gea has his faults. True. But his shot-stopping skills are simply amazing and he is improving his game as time passes by. He is just 22 but has been a first team player for about four years now and therefore has the experience to cope with such a high pressure situation. Both the keeper and the defenders will need to keep each other`s morale up by doing their best in the game and De Gea will get a huge boost if he is picked for this match. Anders has been pretty good as well but the Reading match showed his weaker side and De Gea’s decent shift in the Cluj defeat should see him get the nod.
The United Spirit:
United`s history is built on the unerring faith the club has in coming back from tough situations. The spirit is what has never changed even though the personnel have. United`s players need to win this game to send a message out to all those who think that City are the best team in the country. They aren’t. It’s United. It almost always has been United. The Manchester United spirit is what the world must see in this game and the players must fill the hearts and minds of the supporters with pride and joy with a performance that befits the name and tradition of the club.
A performance that the City players won’t forget.