Manchester City have been on fire recently, and Shakhtar Donetsk felt the full force of their attacking ability in the Champions League on Wednesday as City ran out 6-0 winners.
In the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s side sit at the top of the pile with 29 points from their first 11 games. In fact, last weekend City also scored six as they cantered to a straight-forward win over struggling Southampton, with the visitors to the Etihad only able to score once from the penalty spot in reply.
However, the Citizens have faced some sterner tests already this season, and yet last season’s Champions still remain unbeaten. On the opening day of the season, City brushed aside Unai Emery’s Arsenal with a 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
Liverpool were the side who many at the start of the season thought could challenge the blue half of Manchester for the title, but although they took points off City with a 0-0 draw at Anfield, Riyad Mahrez should have won the game late on when the Algerian blazed his penalty well over the bar.
Despite these tough games though, Sunday’s home tie with Manchester United will be their biggest test yet, and here at Football FanCast we wouldn’t be surprised if City slipped up against their neighbours.
United boss Jose Mourinho relishes the games where his team are forced to sit deep and frustrate a supposedly superior opponent, as we saw to some effect when they stole a 2-1 win away at Juventus in the Champions League.
The Red Devils will come to the Etihad with eight or nine outfield players behind the ball at all times, leaving their pacy attacking players to go directly at City’s exposed centre-backs on the counter attack.
This was similar to the tactic deployed by Wolves when they drew 1-1 with the champions in just their third game back in the Premier League, and United should have more quality with the in-form Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
Tottenham also caused City problems recently at Wembley and their 1-0 loss could have been completely different if Harry Kane’s touch had been better when through on goal and Erik Lamela had kept his late shot below the crossbar.
On that occasion the City back four looked extremely shaky and was often left exposed, so if Mourinho does allow his side to break their rigid formation then they could make the atmosphere a nervous one at the Etihad.
The way things are going this season, it looks as though Liverpool and Tottenham will both finish above United in the league. However, the way that both Manchester clubs play, with completely contrasting styles, could make this City’s most difficult game of their entire season.