After a very turbulent summer transfer window and two teams today worth over £320 million, this Saturday’s clash seeing Manchester United face Manchester City already promises to be one of the highlights of this Premier League season.
At home at Old Trafford, the Red Devils are fearing no one. Stronger under the management of the former Chelsea manager José Mourinho, the northerners have had a fantastic transfer window. Already strenghtened with the addition of the Swedish self-proclaimed-god that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they more recently treated themselves with the Euros 2016 sensation Paul Pogba, 23 years-old french striker and officially world’s most expensive transfer with a selling price of £89.3 million from Juventus.
The striker and midfielder are set to start the game along with the british wunderkind Marcus Rashford who shined during the U-21 World Cup qualifiers’ opener by scoring a hat-trick helping smash Norway 6-1 just yesterday. Deprived of a Champions League participation after finishing 5th last season, the team is all in for the Premier League and defeating one of their most historical ennemies would be the perfect stepping stone towards yet another title.
While they remain formidable opponents, the ability of the Citizens’ squad to smash their rivals is yet to be determined. Bringing in Pep Guardiola from the Bayern Munich to replace Pellegrini has indeed seen the team completely transform. After kindly suggesting England International Joe Hart to leave despite 10 years goalkeeping for the Citizens (bringing in Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo instead), the Catalan manager has loaned out no more than 3 of his seemingly key players Samir Nasri, Eliaquin Mangala and Wilfried Bony after a disappointing couple of seasons.
But if this squad renovation (although expected from a manager such as Guardiola) has surprised some, the Citizens still remain on paper one of the best, if not the best, team in the league. For the past month, new and old talents learned how to play and win together with an unstoppable Kelechi Iehanacho who will have to shine on his own after Sergio Aguero’s 3-games ban, a rejuvenated Raheem Sterling who’ll want to maximise his potential and a newbie Nolito who’ll fight to stay in Pep’s good graces. This attack backed up by Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and new signing John Stones explains how City stands as a serious title contestant once again this season.
Manchester as a battleground
Stats go both way: Man United lost four derbies in a row but has been unbeaten in the last three ones. Both sides won their first three games of the season with Man City showing a spectacularly better teamwork although none of the teams they played so far (Sunderland FC, Stoke City FC and West Ham United) had the caliber of this week-end’s opponents. But more than being a race to the title between two outstanding teams, Saturday’s game is a much-anticipated clash between two managers who will try to upstage one another and come out winner of their historical rivalry. Strong personalities and even stronger desire to win, both men heated up during several games of the Champions League and La Liga, especially with Guardiola formerly managing the FC Barcelona and Mourinho its greatest rival the Real Madrid.
Like their managers eager to come out on top once and for all, both red and blue sides of the city will be looking for a dramatic win this Saturday at Old Trafford, a game that could already determine the future title holders.