Manchester United will make the short trip to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow looking to pile more misery on the wounded men in blue. The Red Devils have won 6 on the trot and will be backing themselves to get a favourable result against City, who are currently in an uncertain state of mind after all their calculations went awry at Anfield.
Pep had his blueprint set with the main focus on the Champions League tie against Liverpool. But he would not have bargained for a 0-3 deficit to take home to the Etihad. The Spaniard will now have to decide on whether he can afford another blow to the morale naming a weakened team and losing to Jose’s boys or whether he will take one game at a time and hope his superstars can gather all their will and might and be up and ready for both the challenges in space of 4 days.
Without further ado, let us take a look at the 3 key battles which will shape the outcome of the match.
LEROY SANE VS ANTONIO VALENCIA
Trent Alexandre Arnold completely nullified Sane’s threat on Wednesday and we could see the impact it had on the Sky Blues as they had seemingly put all their eggs in one basket having stationed Ilkay Gundogan on the right side. Sane is likely to have another crack tomorrow and this time he will have to deal with the experienced and wily Antonio Valencia, who will have studied the Anfield game thoroughly and will have his own plan set up.
For City to hit United on the counter and for them to be able to utilise the left side of the field at all, Sane has to fire and this will be THE battle to watch out for.
PAUL POGBA VS KEVIN DE BRUYNE
De Bruyne’s assist count and highlights reel might not suggest so, but the Belgian spends most of his time in the big ticket matches running the show in central midfield. He will again be tasked with something similar and it is imperative that he fires and prevails over Pogba, from City’s point of view.
Meanwhile, Pogba has a handful of matches to garner some positive reviews and a star turn against City will go a long way in silencing his doubters. He will be up and charged for this encounter for sure.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ VS DANILO
Walker is likely to be given a breather which will see Danilo take up his favoured right-back spot. The Brazilian hasn’t been given too many opportunities and he will be raring to go out and prove himself.
But his task will not be easy by any means as he will have to contend with an in-form Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has found some form after an uneven start and will be eager to prove himself against a team who backed out from signing him due to his astronomical wage demands. Good chance to show what you missed out on, eh?