TOUCHLINEUI: THE WEATHER FORECAST FROM MANCHESTER

The second Manchester Derby of the season sees Van Gaal’s United side head into this weekend’s fixture in much better form than their noisy neighbors in the blue half of Manchester. Things look rosy at the red half of the city with the Red Devils coming into this blockbuster on the back of five successive league victories which puts them second in the form log behind Arsenal. The charge by the Red Devils has been led by an inspired and goal-scoring Wayne Rooney and a rejuvenated trio of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini and of course a much more settled starting eleven. Manchester United has scored 11 goals and leaked in just two in their five game winning streak.

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However for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, it’s been a different and gloomy case. The Citizens loss at Selhurst Park on Monday which all but ended their title hopes. There’s been the talk of an ageing squad, the Chilean Boss being too much of a Mr. Nice Guy and of course the lack of structure at Eastland but one thing that cannot be denied is how Manchester City has once again choked in the defence of their English Premier League Crown. They will however be desperate to put things straight this weekend and the opportunity to do so could not be any better. The Sky Blues have had an upper hand in recent meetings, winning the last four on the trot. Should the League Champions manage to win at Old Trafford, they will consign their rivals to an unprecedented fifth straight derby defeat.

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Would the Red of Manchester move four points clear or will the Blues slow down their momentum in a game that will have telling consequences in the race for an automatic slot for next season’s UEFA Champions League? Come along, let’s see what the weather looks like at Manchester.

FORM

HOME FORM

MANCHESTER UNITED

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

 

P

 

W

 

D

 

L

 

GS

 

GA

 

GD

 

PTS

 

HOME FORM POSITION

16 13 1 2 36 11 +25 40 1st

 

 

AWAY FORM

MANCHESTER CITY

 

MANCHESTER CITY

 

P

 

W

 

D

 

L

 

GS

 

GA

 

GD

 

PTS

AWAY FORM POSITION
16 8 4 4 32 18 +14 28 2nd

 

OVERALL FORM (LAST SIX GAMES)

MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United 2 V Sunderland 0

Newcastle United 0 V Manchester United 1

Manchester United 1 V Arsenal 2

Manchester United 3 V Tottenham 0

Manchester United 3 V Aston Villa

MANCHESTER CITY

Liverpool 2 V Manchester City 1

Manchester City 2 V Leicester City 0

Burnley 1 V Manchester City 0

Barcelona 1 V Manchester City 0

Manchester 3 V West Bromwich Albion

Crystal Palace 2 V Manchester City 1

 

LEAGUE GOAL SCORERS

MANCHESTER UNITED

  1. ROONEY-12

R.V. PERSIE -10

J.MATA-7

A.HERRERA- 5

M.FELLAINI- 4

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MANCHESTER CITY

S.AGUERO- 17

D.SILVA-11

Y.TOURE- 8

S.JOVETIC- 5

F.LAMPARD- 5

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ASSISTS

MANCHESTER UNITED

A.D. MARIA- 10

W.ROONEY-4

FALCAO- 4

A.HERRERA- 4

J.MATA- 4

MANCHESTER CITY

  1. NAVAS- 7

S.AGUERO- 6

S.NASRI- 6

  1. MILNER 6

D.SILVA -3

SELECTION

POSSIBLE STARTING ELEVEN

MANCHESTER UNITED

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It will be unwise for Van Gaal to tinker with his starting eleven considering how settled it’s looked of late. Only injuries or illness should force a change.

GOALKEEPER- DAVID DE GEA

DEFENDERS- ANTONIO VALENCIA- PHIL JONES- MARCO ROJO-DANNY BLIND

MIDFIELDERS- ANDER HERRERA- MICHAEL CARRICK-MAROUANE FELLAINI

FORWARDS-JUAN MATA-WAYNE ROONEY- ASHLEY YOUNG

manchester-united-manchester-city-12042015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MANCHESTER CITY

Manuel Pellegrini might not have any injury concern but he’ll nonetheless have big selection problems given how poor some of his players have been in recent weeks. Bacary Sagna could make way for Pablo Zabaleta while the Chilean must decide whether to stick with the experience of Martin Demichelis or bring in Mangala who’s in the race to win the flop signing of the season award (The Wooden Boot?). In the midfield, Navas will most likely make way for James Milner as the consequence of a poor showing at Selhurst Park while upfront Edin Dzeko might be sacrificed for Wilfried Bony.

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GOALKEEPER- JOE HART

DEFENDERS- PABLO ZABALETA- VINCENT KOMPANY- MARTIN DEMICHELIS- GAEL CLICHY

MIDFIELDERS- JAMES MILNER- YAYA TOURE- FERNANDINHO- DAVID SILVA

FORWARDS-SERGIO AGUERO- WILFRIED BONY

manchester-city-manchester-united-12042015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT EACH SIDE SHOULD DO?

Manchester United

Take Advantage of the Extra Man in Midfield

United switch to a 4-3-3 has been a key factor in their recent upsurge in form while Pellegrini’s insistence on playing the old fashioned 4-4-2 has been one reason for their alarming drop in form. On Sunday, except the Chilean does the unlikely, the Red Devils can capitalize on the disadvantage of a two man-midfield. Man City’s duo of Toure and Fernandinho will have their hands full trying to curtail Fellaini’s playing off Rooney, Herrera’s late runs to the box and of course Carrick sitting deep and dictating the tempo.  Will the extra man count? Sunday will tell

Take Advantage of the Flanks

Man City plays with a narrow midfield with Navas the one who provides any sort of width. This means the fullbacks have to push up to create that width. That unfortunately leaves them prone to being caught on the break, something United can take full advantage of. By exploiting the space, United will stretch the backline of City with the pace of Young and of course the inside-run of Juan Mata. This will leave City short of numbers and disorganized which could also allow Herrera make those late runs.

Furthermore, when United go on the attack, they could double up the flanks especially the left as David Silva, while dangerous offensively, is not known for his defensive and tracking back ability.

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Manchester City

Close down Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick is one of the best ball passers in his position in Europe with only Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso ranking higher. He’s key to dictating the tempo and switching the ball to the flanks. It is against this background that City will do well to close the Englishman down anytime he gets on the ball. This will stop him from having any rhythm and also from switching the ball. With City most likely to play two in the midfield, Aguero or Bony could back to harry the former Spurs man off the ball.

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Track Ander’s late runs

City must track Ander’s late runs to the box, something the Spaniard has this season become adept at doing, as evidenced by his brace against Aston Villa.

United tend to feed the ball left (to cross through Blind or Young), or right to play it back in across the ground (through Mata). Mata is very adept at picking out the right option while creeping toward the byline.

With Fellaini a wrecking ball in the box and Rooney a clever near-post runner, it’s very easy to forget about Ander waiting to sweep home another finish from 18 yards. City must trust themselves to deal with Fellaini and Rooney one vs. one and must task Fernandinho/Fernando with gluing themselves to Herrera in these situations. They’ll be 1-0 down swiftly if they don’t organize themselves properly. Per Sam Tighe.

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Well, the forecast says the devils are out of hell and will do everything possible to ensure the Mancs remain citizens of hell.

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MATCH STATS
For the first time since November, 2013, Manchester United sit above their city rivals in the Premier League table after having played the same number of games.

Wayne Rooney is the all time leading goal scorer in this fixture with 11

Sergio Aguero has scored six goals in his last seven derby appearances

Manchester City has won four consecutive league games against United for the first time since December 21 1970.

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, the aggregate scoreline in this league fixture stands at 25-14 to the Citizens.

United have won 8 of their last 10 in the League while Manchester City has lost 3 of their last 4 in all competition.

Manchester City has lost each of their last 3 Premier League away at Liverpool, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

No City manager has lost four successive away matches since Stuart Pearce in September 2006 per premierleague.com

PREDICTION

Both sides know the importance of this game not just for a top four finish but also for bragging right.  It could make for a cagey opening 30 minutes but where the game comes to life; it is the team who shows greater discipline and composure that will walk away with the three points.

Talking about scoreline, United certainly has the form but City has the recent history so we expect it to end in- between- a score draw.

Stats per www.whoscored.com, www.premierleague.com and www.soccerstats.com

 

 

 

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