How Manchester United plan to beat Manchester City
There was once a time when Manchester City were overwhelming underdogs in the Manchester derby. Tables have turned since. The Red Devils will approach Sunday’s fixture imbibed with the knowledge that they’re the overwhelming underdogs – regardless of that dramatic Champions League win against Juventus.
It’s safe to say Manchester United are beginning to get into their stride. Through sheer will, they’ve won their last three games in all competitions. The effect of such consecutive victories plays fondly on a team’s moral and sparks belief. That’s why there isn’t a good time to face a rampant Manchester City side who are yet to taste domestic defeat.
Jose Mourinho has a plan for City
Typical of Jose Mourinho, when faced with a tough challenge he conjures a plan for surmounting it. The former Real Madrid gaffer knows it’ll be tough for his team to match City for flair or panache. Mourinho’s only lifeline is to outsmart and out-think Pep Guardiola.
Despite their poor start to the campaign, United has been brilliant against the big teams they’ve played away from home. We can quickly flash our minds to two of those – the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and the 1-0 win in Turin. From a long way out those games looked certain to end in defeat. Bookmakers had slashed odds on United coming off with anything besides defeat.
The trip to the Etihad is indeed daunting but no more daunting than the trip to Stamford Bridge or Turin. On both occasions, there was a blueprint that worked to the T. Mourinho abandoned his traditional pragmatic approach which depended on sitting back and hitting on the break. He urged his wards to take the game to Chelsea, Juventus. The Red Devils matched the top dogs' stride for stride. The effect was glaring – United got the goals that mattered in those games.
About scoring, the Cityzens have been flooding their opponents with goals lately; they’ve racked up 23 in their last five outings. Manchester United’s rearguard must perform at optimum to keep the sheets clean or at least a little less muddied by the time the game is over.
Here’s a hint on how Mourinho plans to win:
“And this is the feeling the Manchester United supporters around the world want to have that feeling; switch on the television, and it doesn’t matter where we play, they know we are going to compete.” – Mourinho.
The rest can be deduced from Mourinho’s comments. Manchester United will take the high road and play attacking football against Manchester City. It was exactly what they did to earn a famous 3-2 victory in the same venue last season. Cross your fingers and expect the same this weekend.
Tough times has morphed Jose Mourinho into a manager who dares to be dynamic. Even if Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba aren’t fit enough to compete in the mouth-watering fixture, Mourinho wouldn’t be leading a group that cowers under the lights at the Etihad.
If Jose Mourinho keeps his word and deploys a 4-3-3 attacking formation, outsiders will enjoy a derby that is far from drab. Given that it’ll be the last fixture of the weekend, it’s not too much to ask for some goal-laden end-to-end encounter.