Your Manchester Derby Preview

Manchester United scores in Champions League

Is it Christmas in October? No? Oh it’s just the Manchester Derby. The Reds and Blues of Manchester will go head-to-head Sunday at Old Trafford with a chance to go top of the table with a victory. In this titanic battle, will it be City or United taking home the spoils?

The man in the spotlight for United is their 19-year-old striker Anthony Martial. Ever since joining the Red Devils on deadline day, the young Frenchman has electrified the league with his magnificent skill and strength on the ball while scoring goals left and right. In the team’s midweek clash against CSKA Moscow, Martial atoned for an earlier defensive mistake with a world-class diving header that secured a draw in Russia. Even when he’s not amongst the goals, Martial is without a doubt United’s most dangerous player in the attacking third and his influence on Sunday’s derby could spark a massive United victory.

Paired with Martial uptop for the Red Devils is their captain, Wayne Rooney. While Martial has been tearing it up, Rooney has struggled to rediscover the form that once allowed him to score this beauty against City. United’s captain often looks off the pace of the match, and has been caught in possession on too many occasions in the midfield. This poor form has led to numerous fans and media pundits calling for Rooney to get the boot, but Louis Van Gaal has consistently maintained faith in his talismanic striker. A goal against Everton in the club’s last league fixture allayed some of this criticism, but Rooney will have to put together a solid performance against City if he hopes to regain the faith of United’s supporters.

Injuries could prove to be the downfall of City in this year’s first Manchester Derby. The Sky Blues will be without the likes of David Silva, Sergio Agüero and potentially Vincent Kompany. The loss of these key cogs leave City without arguably two of their most important attacking players and it puts the offensive pressure on Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfried Bony and Raheem Sterling. In years past, City’s attack appeared to completely fall apart when just one of these players was out of action, so it will be interesting to see if they can compete against a formidable United defensive unit.

One player in particular that has stood out recently for City has been newboy Raheem Sterling. The former Liverpool prodigy has quickly settled into his new surroundings and he looks set for perhaps his best professional year to date. In City’s fixture against Bournemouth last week, the 20-year-old netted a first half hat trick and brought his goal tally to six between all competitions. The loss of Agüero in attack opens a place for Sterling in the starting 11, and gives him a chance to establish himself as a star at the Etihad. Sterling is no stranger to derby matches with United through his days with Liverpool. Can he shine in his first derby in a City shirt?

Could you really expect me to pick anyone but United to win this match? My fandom may be getting the best of me, but I think Van Gaal’s men will eek out a narrow victory to continue their push for a long-awaited title. Final score: United 3-2 City

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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