THERE is lots to be careful for in tomorrow’s Manchester derby as two nice tactical managers go face to face.
SunSport’s skilled analyst and former Manchester United, Stoke and Southampton defender Danny Higginbotham analyses the place the sport shall be received and misplaced.
1. Martial and Pogba gel
Anthony Martial has come to the celebration for United of late and the French winger could possibly be key to tomorrow’s bash – in additional methods than one.
Not solely is Martial in tremendous goal-scoring kind, however he additionally helps fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba to shine in a manner Alexis Sanchez doesn’t.
When Martial and Pogba have began collectively (for the reason that begin of final season), Pogba has 10 assists in 20 video games.
When Pogba has began with Sanchez (for the reason that Chilean joined in January) he has one help in 14.
That’s an enormous hole. And it’s right down to how Sanchez and Pogba get in one another’s manner.
Martial performs as a winger, who, till he receives the ball, retains broad. He hugs the touchline and that creates area for Pogba.
Sanchez cuts infield, out and in of possession, and into Pogba territory. They cramp one another’s fashion.
They need to be United’s two most potent attackers but when they’re in the identical space it’s a lot simpler for the oppo to crowd them out.
Martial retains his width and that may be a downside for a full-back.
If I used to be marking Martial I’d need to be on him as quickly as he takes his first contact. Get tight. Ship him again in direction of his personal objective.
However my downside is that creates a spot between me and my centre-back. And that’s the place Pogba can go.
If I keep slim, it permits Martial to get the ball and run at me. If I’m on Sanchez and he comes slim into Pogba’s area – downside solved.
2. Striker Sanchez fits Pogba
If Sanchez performs up entrance that fits Pogba because the Chilean tends to float proper – creating much more area for Pogba in that inside left channel.
That’s the place Pogba arrange Marcus Rashford for his winner towards Bournemouth final weekend.
three. Will Metropolis stick or twist?
So if it’s Martial and Pogba down United’s left, Pep Guardiola has a choice to make.
A workforce’s power can be its weak spot. And pretty much as good as Martial goes ahead he can swap off defensively.
Metropolis like one among their full-backs to assault. This season it’s largely been left-back, Benjamin Mendy.
That has left right-back Kyle Walker to push into midfield making certain Metropolis have 4 gamers – Walker, two centre-halves and Fernandinho who has been immense for Metropolis – behind the ball to snuff out counter-attacks.
Mendy has been excellent going ahead. He has the joint most assists (5) within the league alongside Ryan Fraser and Raheem Sterling.
However it is going to be attention-grabbing to see if Guardiola sacrifices that to attempt to make the most of Martial.
Guardiola might ask Walker to push on and Mendy to take a seat in. United left-back Luke Shaw might then have an issue if it’s 2 v1 towards him.
Sterling hugs the proper touchline and with Walker steaming previous him Shaw might have a choice to make. Or if it’s Ryhad Mahrez chopping inside and Walker outdoors him who does Shaw decide up if Martial is just not monitoring again?
four. Mourinho’s central downside
It was no secret Jose Mourinho needed a centre-back in the summertime. But it surely was not all about somebody to cease targets. That they had the second finest defensive document within the league final season in any case.
Somewhat, it was somebody to play from the again. And that shall be key towards Metropolis.
With Metropolis’s excessive press, you want a defender who can play fast neat passes by the press or convey the ball out. Somebody like Harry McGuire or Toby Alderweireld for instance!
In any other case, you find yourself lumping it lengthy to an remoted striker with the inevitable consequence that it retains coming again at you.
Watch Metropolis stress Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof at any time when they get the ball. They’re good defenders however they don’t actually step out with the ball.
If these two can convey the ball out or decide a cross they’ll spring a United assault. Maintain lumping it and it could possibly be a protracted afternoon for the boys in pink.
5. Bouncing again
In United’s final six video games they’ve gone behind 5 instances however solely misplaced as soon as.
OK, it’s not ultimate to be conceding first however the fightbacks present two issues: Firstly, Mourinho’s intelligent substitutions have affected the sport.
Secondly, he has not misplaced the gamers or they’d be downing instruments on the first signal of hassle. As a substitute, they’re preventing tooth and nail to tug United again.