Friday, September 29, 2023

Where The Manchester Derby Could Be Won Or Lost This Weekend

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

A rivalry of the highest order in world football has now found a new platform in Manchester. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, two of the most successful managers in Europe will now go head to head in the clash between inter-city rivals Manchester City and Manchester United in one of the most anticipated games of the new season. Both managers are in their first season of the Premier League with their respective clubs and Old Trafford, the venue for the derby this weekend, will witness some extraordinary football. Both teams have started the new season with 3 victories and 9 points and Mourinho will be under pressure to get maximum points from the home tie against the rivals.

The 90 minutes at Old Trafford on Saturday will see some quality football between two sets of star players who are in great form. Pep Guardiola will set his team up to frustrate the home side and starve them of possession and will hope that the stars in the team can open the opposition defence up over the course of the game. It will not be easy for the Citizens to dominate the game at the ‘Theater of Dreams’ and if they give into the atmosphere, they will have a long night. This is where the whole game can be won and lost on Saturday.


Jose Mourinho is not really hell bent on keeping possession of the ball and will want his team to stay compact at the back. He will want the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba to sit back and break up play to disrupt the flow the game. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial will all be responsible for breaking the Manchester City defence on the night and they will have plenty of chances to do so if they stop them from keeping the ball for long periods.

City will press high and try to win the ball as quickly as possible and though it is an away game which might reduce their effect, they will not allow the home side to dwell on the ball. Manchester United’s midfield has a strong presence that can outfox the City midfield but the crisp passing moves that City have already got accustomed to will be hard to keep track off. With the quality they have, United will believe that they can outscore City but Mourinho has not had to set his team up to defend so far this season and if such a situation arises on Saturday, United may just be on the receiving end.

With two teams managed by two people who hate to lose to each other facing off, the derby on Saturday may not be the smoothest game, but it will surely provide loads of entertainment for the fans. The quality in the midfield will cancel each other out so the decisions made in the final third might be the difference on the night. Guardiola will hope that his team can dominate the game at Old Trafford but the Manchester United manager will want his side to frustrate them and rattle their rythm. These are fine margins that can decide the outcome of the game and also provide for a great viewing even for the neutral. Where do you think the game will be decided this Saturday?

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