Manchester teams United and City will lock horns again on Saturday when the red side travel to the Etihad Stadium with an aim to draw last blood. City will be coming into this game following a humiliating defeat at Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final and will look for a rejuvenating win against their cross-town rivals.
The game is also a significant part of the personal rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola with the Spaniard having the upper hand in terms of the head-to-head record, winning seven of 16 games compared to the Portuguese’s three wins and six draws.
Mourinho’s men have been in good form in the league, winning five of their last six games including victories against Chelsea and Liverpool, and will look to strengthen their position by winning at their rivals. United have become a team playing cautiously under Mourinho – unlike City, who are a far more attacking team – and his preferred tactics cost them the ticket to the Champions League quarter-final.
City’s attacking play has got them where they are right now, just one win away from claiming the league title with a margin of 16 points. The Citizens are on their way to making history by becoming the first ever team in the Premier League to cross the 100-point mark.
Sir Alex Ferguson once famously said “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” Mourinho seems to have taken this mantra into effect after taking over at Old Trafford and has often applied his ‘park the bus’ treatment in big games. United fans have expressed their dissatisfaction of the defensive play and have chanted ‘attack, attack, attack’ in some games, but Mourinho has been content with sticking to his methods.
Former United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan took a dig at Mourinho, mentioning he decided to leave Old Trafford due the lack of offensive play. On certain occasions, United have changed their style because they’re trailing and when attacking, United have often come away with convincing wins. But Mourinho has usually remained reluctant to move away from his pragmatic philosophy.
It is unlikely that the Portuguese manager will change his obstinate mind and go for an offensive play – at least not from the off. However, Liverpool have shown how positive football can quickly unhinge this City side, and if opportunities allow Mourinho must look to replicate that in Saturday’s 5.30pm kickoff.