If I asked for a reason why City have lost their Premier League crown to Liverpool this season, what would yours be? I suspect the majority of you would say it has something to do with their central defence, or lack thereof. That injury to Aymeric Laporte. The failure to replace Vincent Kompany.
That has been their achilles’ heel, and the reason why Liverpool have been able to have a wobble and not be afraid. That defence, with Fernandinho forced to fill in, is why you might also question City’s chances of winning the Champions League. Maguire, however, has started well since his £80million summer move from Leicester.
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is the sort of figure that Manchester City lack
The good news for City is that, up front, they can be unplayable on their day. As vulnerable as the defence is, the attack could simply out-score you, with Kevin De Bruyne spraying passes, Raheem Sterling making runs and Sergio Aguero providing the finish.
For United, David De Gea looks a different goalkeeper to the one who had us thinking he was better than Manuel Neuer and Co, so City may relish testing his reflexes.
This derby is big. Suddenly, after seeming out of it, United are back in the race for the top four — or five, should we say, given the implications of City’s European ban.
City’s failure to replace former captain Vincent Kompany has been their achilles’ heel to date
The good news for Man City is that, up front, they can be absolutely unplayable on their day
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side seem to like getting the better of their neighbours, too, winning 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in December.
Maybe because United are at home they will feel the need to take the game to City, and that could work against them. United’s win percentage when they have had the majority of the possession this season is 25 per cent, compared to 75 per cent when their opponents dominate the ball.
So they might be better working off counter-attacks. In new boy Bruno Fernandes, they have a threat from midfield. He has a certain intelligence that allows him to unlock doors — and United will need that against City.
PREDICTION: Man City to win 2-1