Many have questioned Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s team selections in recent weeks, particularly in their two Champions League quarter-finals clashes against Tottenham. In the end, the Catalan’s team selection had a big say in the Citizens exit from the competition.
On Wednesday night, City once again faces a massive clash, as they make the short distance to Old Trafford to face city rivals Manchester United in a crucial derby clash. With league leaders, Liverpool two points clear, City have to win their game in hand, which just happens to be Wednesday’s clash. The City boss must get it right this time around.
City not as assured as last season
No doubt, Manchester City are a different team to the one that broke all sorts of records last season. Last season’s campaign was always going to be difficult to top. However, this season the Citizens seem less assured.
Maybe it is the fact that title rivals Liverpool have been relentless this season. Maybe it is a touch of complacency setting into the players. The Citizens have lost more games this season and have looked far more tense in recent matches.
Could it be that the nerves are getting to the players? They suddenly have a team that is putting pressure on them to win constantly, something they did not have last season. If the players are feeling the pressure, then a Manchester derby is not a great nerve settler that’s for sure.
United may well up their game
Manchester United looked like they were already on the beach in their 4-0 mauling at Everton on Sunday. It was not the first time the Red Devils have struggled to pick up a result, as six defeats from their last eight competitive games suggest they are struggling for form.
Usually, derby games are close ones. Despite seemingly the majority of United fans wanting City to win the league ahead of bitter-rivals Liverpool, they will still want their team to put in an improved performance in the derby on home soil.
Everybody connected with United must be expecting a reaction from the team after such a terrible weekend display. However, whether the current team have it in them to produce enough quality to give City a game is questionable.
There was no questioning of the attitudes in United teams under Sir Alex Ferguson. If a player had a poor attitude, he simply did not last at the club. However, the current group of players poor performances at times this season has led to big question marks over their desire to play for United.
City big favourites for victory
Unsurprisingly, Manchester City are big favourites at odds of 4/9 to beat United on their own patch. Those odds are taking into account the two teams recent form and sheer difference in quality.
On paper, the Manchester derby looks to be City’s biggest hurdle to retaining their Premier League title. United’s recent poor form suggests that it may well not be such a difficult game for Pep Guardiola’s charges.
The big worries for City are that it is a derby and United will be hurting from the mauling on Merseyside. Those two factors added to the pressure that City are under to win, may work massively against the Citizens.
For me, despite City being a far better team and having a far more experienced boss, I still believe that the reaction factor could well throw a spanner in the works of City’s challenge for the Premier League title.
Can Manchester United halt City’s title charge?
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