The arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and that of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United is going to add a new edge to the Manchester derby when the first of the ongoing season is played at Old Trafford on 10th September.
Compared to the last couple of seasons when the Citizens were led by Manuel Pellegrini and the Red Devils by Louis van Gaal, the football is likely to be enthralling, with the rivalry between the two new managers adding another layer of sheen to the proceedings.
The two teams’ summer transfers appear to have gone in diametrically opposite directions. While Guardiola has put his faith in young players like Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Marlos Moreno amongst others; true to form, Mourinho has put his faith in established stars.
The Portuguese has acquired midfield star Paul Pogba from Juventus for a world record transfer fee, as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively. Eric Bailey has been his other signing.
The inclusion of new players and treatment of some of the older players – as Joe Hart is made to fight for a first team spot and Yaya Toure struggles to get a look in – has dramatically changed the look of the Citizens’ first team. The Red Devils also bear a new look with all four new faces finding first team spots.
If there is one surety in football it is that a Guardiola side will always lend itself to a possession-based attacking football. It is his philosophy of building attack from the back that has seen the demotion of Hart and the quite frequent drop of Fernandinho in between the two central defenders to carry out passing from the back.
Mourinho, for the majority of his career, has relied on counter attacking football. However, proactive football is what the Old Trafford faithful demand and with the quality of the side under his stewardship, the Portuguese should have no excuses in not taking the attack to the Citizens, especially at home.
This game promises to be a fascinating tactical battle between two of the leading managers in the game.
Guardiola has spoken very fondly of Raheem Sterling even before he first formally met the England international and it is likely that the former Liverpool man will be amongst Guardiola’s key players. Ilkay Gundogan was the first signing of the Catalan’s Manchester City regime and the Germany international is likely to play a key role in central midfield akin to Xavi Hernandez’s at Barcelona.
Paul Pogba is undoubtedly the lynchpin of Manchester United midfield and Mourinho will be keen to unleash the full power of the France international in the first derby of the season. The Mkhitaryan’s scorchingpace, which often troubled Guardiola’s Bayern Munich when the Armenian was at Borussia Dortmund, is likely to give more headaches to the Manchester City boss.
Guardiola vs. Mourinho head-to-head
The two managers have met each other in the dugout on 16 separate occasions. Guardiola has a slight edge with seven wins. Mourinho has won three times, while six matches have ended in draws.
Predicted Manchester United line-up in the Manchester Derby
De Gea, Shaw, Bailly, Blind, Valencia, Pogba, Fellaini, Martial, Rooney, Mata and Ibrahimovic
Predicted Manchester City line-up in the Manchester Derby
Bravo, Clichy, Otamendi, Stones, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Iheanacho and Nolito
Best Bet: Score/Win casts (Zlatan Ibrahimovic)
Manchester United wins and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores – Anytime (Odds – 5/2) – William Hill (Link Below)
Wasi is a keen fan with loads of knowledge about the game. He has written for some of the world’s leading soccer websites and is a major Barcelona and Pune City FC fan. He loves the Champions League and watches 200+ EPL games & La Liga games per season.