PL: How Man Utd can stop Man City’s onslaught

PL: How Man Utd can stop Man City’s onslaught

Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium will be the 192nd encounter between Manchester City and Manchester United.

It promises to be another breathtaking encounter between the two English powerhouses.

In recent times, Manchester City,  have had the upper hand over the more historic and successful Red Devils, with six wins, one draw, and three losses in their last ten matches, including four wins from eight Premier League games.

Pep Guardiola’s side head into Sunday’s game as the outright favourites as they continue to push for a fourth consecutive league title, but United, who have been lukewarm this season will need to have a near-perfect game to stop their rivals.

The Red Devils have lost just one of their nine games since the turn of the New Year, a 2-1 home defeat to Fulham at Old Trafford last week, but with more injuries to the 20-time English champions, they have a big mountain to surmount at the Etihad Stadium to keep their hopes of securing a UEFA Champions League spot alive.

Manchester United will most likely be without Harry Maguire and the team’s leading scorer, Rasmus Hojlund, who both picked up new injuries, as well as six other stars who will be out for a longer time.

Ten Hag also said on Thursday that Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane will be fit for the game despite initially being doubtful for their FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest.

Ten Hag, who is under immense scrutiny due to his side’s uninspiring performances, must approach the Manchester derby a bit pragmatically, as they have been outdone for possession in all three away games in the Premier League this year.

City currently lead the league in possession percentage, with an average of 65.4 per game, and with the form of Kevin De Bruyne and leading marksman and league’s top scorer Erling Haaland, they are bound to pose serious threats to the shaky United defence that has conceded at least a goal in five of their six league games this year.

The Dutch manager would need to try as much as possible to get De Bruyne off the ball to stop him from picking out defence-splitting passes.

Ten Hag should particularly deploy a man-mark on the Belgian, who has had 11 assists in his last 10 games.

As for Haaland, the United backline needs to be as alert as possible and stop the final passes from coming into the Norwegian, who has already bagged 17 goals in the league this season.

On the offensive end, United should look to use their pace up front to exploit City’s high line with Bruno Fernandes feeding Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho.

The task seems herculean but if the Red Devils players stick to their tasks and match City strength to strength, they could well repeat the feat which they achieved at Old Trafford last season when they defeated their neighbours 2-1.

The two teams will face off at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, March 3 at 4:30pm WAT, with City hoping to keep the pressure on Liverpool for top spot, while United will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Fulham and continue their hunt for a top-four finish.

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