Monday, August 8, 2022

Part Two Of Manchester United Vs Man City: The Biggest Key Battles That Could Decide The Outcome

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester City make their way to the Theatre of Dreams in what will be the Round 2 of this season’s fiercely contested Manchester derbies. As things stand, the circumstances on both sides of Manchester could be far better and arguably they will be, down the line. But as of now, the two world class managers have to dish into their avalanche of experience and tactical acumen and navigate their teams through this tricky period which sees both the clubs stuck in.

The EFL Cup does not feature at the top of either team’s priority list but a derby always has to be fought for and things won’t be any different on Wednesday. Though there are changes to be expected from both sides, nonetheless we have interesting subplots within the game to look forward to.

Let us take a brief glance at the three key battles which are likely to affect the eventual outcome of the game.

JUAN MATA VS GAEL CLICHY

Mata was surprisingly left out of the first Manchester derby despite being in decent form and given an opportunity this time around, he will look to be United’s solution to their recent woes. On his wing, the Spaniard will likely face Gael Clichy who will be eager to impress in a game of this magnitude. Both the players will be looking to have a good game and Clichy’s success or the lack of it in containing Mata will go a long way into deciding United’s attacking impetus on the day.

CHRIS SMALLING VS KELECHI IHEANACHO

The England international had a shocker against Chelsea and looked more Chris than Mike from last year. An unfortunate injury to Eric Bailly however, is likely to hand him another start and he will be expected to keep the young Iheanacho quiet for the 90 minutes.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

Though it is seemingly easier to navigate Iheanacho rather than maybe a Diego Costa or an Aguero, Smalling still has a job on his hands if he is to marshall the backline anywhere near the standard Mourinho expects him to.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC VS NICOLAS OTAMENDI

The towering Swede is likely to get an extended run to break his goal drought and he will be faced with the erratic Otamendi, who is in line for a recall. The Argentine backs himself to get the ball via his lunges and all-action defending and the usually dominating Ibrahimovic will look to be his usual self which might lead to a bit of sparring along the way.

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