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The Manchester Derby: 5 factors that could decide the game

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2.20K   //    10 Nov 2018, 17:26 IST

Always an interesting affair: The Manchester Derby
Always an interesting affair: The Manchester Derby

This Sunday afternoon, Manchester City and Manchester United will go toe-to-toe at the Etihad Stadium in the Manchester Derby. Both teams are coming off impressive wins in the Champions League. Manchester City tramped over Shakhtar Donetsk with a 6-0 win. Manchester United fought hard at Turin but came out on top somehow in the end.

Despite Ronaldo’s stunning goal that Juve the lead, Manchester waited for their opportunity and pounced at the right time. It was an impressive showing by United opposed to what many think it was. The last derby took place at the same venue. Manchester City got a 2-0 lead at half-time before Jose Mourinho’s United came back to win 3-2 at full-time. We look at 5 factors which will be key in the derby.

#5 City’s possession game

Manchester City broke the Premier League possession record last year
Manchester City broke the Premier League possession record last year

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola likes having possession of the ball. They move with purpose with each pass being a meaningful one. But City doesn’t really have the players who could bypass a good press. At Barcelona, Pep had Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets who would not be under pressure no matter how you press them.

However, in the current City midfield, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho all are not very good at playing through the press. Manchester City fell under Lyon’s press and ended up conceding Nabil Fekir’s goal.

It is evident from City’s previous fixtures that if they have possession of the ball, they will have no problem in moving and scoring. But when they don’t have much possession, like it was against Liverpool and Tottenham, City don’t dominate proceedings. Their pass percentage lowers a lot when they don’t keep possession and thus their build-up and attacks are not much lethal.

If City is allowed to dominate possession, in case they are trailing, Manchester United need to have a rock-solid defence. But United are not very good at defending and tend to choke in the nick of time.

They didn’t hold against Juventus and against Chelsea as well. Manchester United also allow their oppositions to hold possession. It was a mistake they made against Chelsea and also against Juventus. This tactic could backfire heavily against City.

If Manchester United don’t sit back and try to play end to end, they could be successful. The Special One has a big headache to stop this possession game, either by pressing hard or by playing a fluid way of football that forces City to be alert on the defensive end as well. Both of which is not how Mourinho likes to play. 

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