The English Premier League is getting close to the final weeks, and the battle between Man City vs Man United is becoming intense. Some weeks ago, what seemed closed off was suddenly open, after Harry Kane’s late winner when City hosted Tottenham.
With Liverpool lurking, waiting to usurp the top position, Manchester City cannot afford to drop any points, especially against their city rivals. Therefore, this Sunday game has everything on the line for Pep Guardiola’s team, as only three points would work if they do not want to lose out on winning back-to-back championships.
Although they have a six-point gap, Liverpool have a game in hand, and dropping points against United means Liverpool can quickly close the gap. A victory in this game would help Manchester City maintain a healthy lead on the top of the log.
United’s trip to the Etihad has all the buildup we want for any Manchester derby. Both teams are fighting to hold on to their current positions. Even though United are still mathematically in the race for the title, it will take a major miracle for that to happen. So, they’re realistically fighting for the top four.
With Arsenal, Wolves, West Ham and Tottenham skulking around fourth place, it’s also a must-win game for United. Any slip means they are farther down the log and perhaps missing any of the European spots. In that case, they would want to see out their city rivals.
Aside from playing for the top four, any Manchester derby victory is an ego booster for the players and the fans. So, there’s always a big hype around the game. And since United already lost the first leg against Sunday’s opponent, they would want revenge, since a double from the noisy neighbors can affect the team’s spirit.
With both teams still in the UEFA Champions League, their respective games might cause some distractions, and maybe squad rotation. We don’t expect coaches to change much for this must-
win match. City are in a good position, as they’re already 5-0 against round of 16 opponents.
On the other hand, Man. United have Atletico Madrid, who tied, 1-1, in the first leg, meaning there is all to play for in the second leg, now since there are no more away goals. However, we don’t expect Ralf Rangnick to rest any players.
Manchester City would be with their first-team squad, as only Cole Palmer is injured. However, Manchester United would be without their veteran striker Edison Cavani, out since the turn of the year. Both teams would otherwise be able to field their strongest 11 for this match.
Manchester derbies have always been a sight for everyone, including neutral fans. Energy and end-to-end play are not understated. Form and current performance are almost always inconsequential to the outcome, and it is always down to who wants it more. We’ve seen many derbies over the years, but this one has all the subplots.
With both teams fighting to maintain their spots, it will be a tight encounter and would be down to individual brilliance, which both teams don’t lack. If we go by form and recent performances, the spread is justified, with City leagues above United right now. Since this is a Manchester derby, it’s crazy to think it will be a walk in the park for City, however.