The excitement is building as tomorrow the two Manchester clubs will meet at Old Trafford in the first derby under their new retrospective managers.
Ever since Jose and Pep locked horns in the Champions league and then La Liga , we have waited for their fierce rivalry to grace the Premier league, and finally tomorrow we get to experience first hand the Special one and the Intelligent one (my made up nickname) play football chess on Saturday Afternoon.
Overall, Guardiola has the better record against Jose Mourinho, however I expect the game to be like all the other showpiece games we have every season; a cagey and cautious affair with few chances for either side and this will play into Mourinho’s hands. I rate Guardiola highly but .I watched, on the opening day of the season, when Sunderland played a defensive formation and Manchester City struggled to break down the Black Cats.
We saw it when Pep’s Barcelona was beaten in the Champions League first by Jose’s Inter Milan and again 2 years later by Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea. Both Inter Milan and Chelsea were defensively disciplined and, on both occasions, Pep Guardiola failed to find a solution to break the teams down. This is the type of football we see in the Premier League and Mourinho has mastered this and uses it to his advantage.
We will see a more patient and direct Manchester United tomorrow. Expect the ball whipped in from the wings towards Fellaini and Ibrahimovic with Rooney and Mata making runs into the box looking for the drop downs, letting Manchester City have the ball and using the pace of Valencia and quality of Pogba to counter.
Manchester City will be hoping that the derby atmosphere gets to Manchester United and Jose Mourinho and they come out punching. If Manchester United engage and try to dominate City, then Manchester City may run away with it. The Pep Guardiola philosophy of play, possession and position mean that every City player knows their job, give them space and they will hurt Manchester United.
Everything aside tomorrow, as football fans we will get to sit back and enjoy the most the toxic and engaging football rivalry to grace the Premier League in 15 years.
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