The 179th Manchester derby will take place this Saturday, and although the two teams may be far away in terms of quality, it will still be a passionate and intense match at the Etihad. Manchester United are struggling, while Manchester City have had several blips this season as well.
Both sides have struggled with injuries this season, losing key personnel, and that could play a part in the outcome of this game as well even though Ole’s record against the top 6 sides bodes well for the visitors.
Let’s take a look at 3 things to look forward to in the Manchester derby.
Potential return of Paul Pogba
Ahead of the game against Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that there is a slender chance of Paul Pogba returning to the Manchester United team. The United manager revealed that there is a 1% chance of the Frenchman returning to the side. Solskjaer has previously ruled out players but they eventually did start in the following fixture.
Pogba’s return could be a huge boost for United, who have generally looked lacklustre in the middle of the park and have struggled to create chances or dictate the tempo of the game from the middle. He will also offer a goalscoring threat from midfield, which is currently lacking.
But other than the obvious offensive threat he brings, Ole might well be content with the defensive solidity Fred and McTominay will bring especially after their solid display against Tottenham Hotspur.
How Manchester City will cope without Sergio Aguero
One of the biggest absentees for City in the Manchester derby will be striker Sergio Aguero. His replacement Gabriel Jesus, scored twice in the game against Burnley, helping the champions to a 4-1 win.
But, Jesus is no Aguero, even though the Argentine striker is not the player that he was 5 years ago. Aguero has a great record against Manchester United, scoring 8 times in 10 games against them.
He will be especially missed if United sit deep and don’t afford the City attackers space to exploit.
Manchester United’s tactics
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only manager to have taken points off of Liverpool in the league this season, and he did so with good tactics. The Red Devils manager decided to play a five-man defence, with pacey attackers in Marcus Rashford and Daniel James. Will he go for similar tactics against Pep Guardiola’s City? Or stick to a four-man defence and look to stifle City’s midfield?
City will play for the win, but Manchester United may want to go to the Etihad to play spoilsport and disrupt City’s attack by sitting deep. It will be interesting to see what Solskjaer does to stop Raheem Sterling and co.