Manchester United vs Manchester City
It’s one of the biggest fixtures in world football, and when Manchester City turn up to meet United at Old Trafford we can expect fireworks.
There’s more than just pride to this fixture, but Premier League: Manchester United vs Manchester City always ups the ante in the factories, offices, pubs and homes across Greater Manchester and beyond. We have a least one United fan in the SBOTOP writing team and I know he’ll be celebrating come Sunday night if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can inspire his team to pull off a surprise win.
But would a Manchester United victory really be such a shock?
Red Devils will rise to the occasion
It would have been sacrilege to even suggest Manchester United were underdogs during the long reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, but times have changed in Manchester, and the Sky Blue side has held the upper hand for almost a decade. But the Red Devils have just begun to show signs they can compete again, in fact in the last three meetings, over the past three months, Pep Guardiola’s side have struggled to impose themselves in five of the six halves. City were at their scintillating best to blow United away in the EFL first leg at Old Trafford in January. But that 1-3 win was sandwiched by two defeats at the Etihad Stadium.
The Red Devils inflicted a near fatal blow to City’s league title aspirations with a 1-2 win which left the Sky Blues trailing Liverpool by 14 points. And they responded well to make a fight of the EFL Cup semi-final, with another 0-1 win at their neighbours’ gaff.
Marcus Rashford was on target during the league win, but he’s out for the season and the heat will be on Anthony Martial to put City’s inconsistent defence under pressure.
Bruno’s great start has United fans dreaming again
The Red Devils have been looking for a hero for too long, but they might just have found one. Since his transfer from Sporting Lisbon, midfield ace Bruno Fernandes has made a huge impact, and he’s another reason Manchester United fans will not fear this game. He’s scored three goals and made two assists in his first five starts for the club, and the players around him have responded by upping their game.
Brazil star Fred was already enjoying this season much more than the last. Following his £52m transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk, he took much longer to settle in Manchester than Bruno has. But now the defensive midfield man is one of the first names on the team sheet. He’s doing much of the work Paul Pogba did before his injury, and with less fuss, making 21 consecutive appearances since October, and in January he was the club’s player of the month.
City aiming for Cup clean sweep
While the Red Devils are in the hunt for a Champions League spot, the Sky Blues Premier League season is pretty much over. But they have their eyes on two more pieces of silverware, leading Real Madrid in the Champions League and in the FA Cup quarter finals.
Young midfield star Phil Foden was outstanding when City picked up their first cup of the season in the EFL Cup final win over Aston Villa. Guardiola has previously said Foden is the player he would least like to lose, and he’s likely to start featuring regularly, particularly as David Silva’s sparkling career at the Etihad draws to a close.
And he has the best in the business, in England anyway, to work alongside. Kevin de Bruyne has been in unbelievable form again, with an incredible 17 assists and he was at his best in the recent win over West Ham making one assist and scoring a goal while creating chance after chance for his strikers.
He also bagged the winner in City’s 1-2 win over Real Madrid.
While the Sky Blues have taken over the mantle of Manchester’s top club over the last few seasons, they still have some way to go to catch up in the head to heads. The Red Devils have had the better of the Manchester United vs Manchester City results over the last 27 seasons, winning 28 of the 53 meetings with City bagging 18 victories.
Recent form suggests we’re in for a great game. The Red Devils are unbeaten in eight, in all competitions, while City are on a winning run of five, three away from home.
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