With the derby on the horizon, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United could well be facing the executioner of their title hopes with a defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.
Although City haven’t been at their fluid best over the last three games, finding it difficult to overcome Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham, but still managing to take all three points. As a result, this is close to a must-win derby for United, who are still eight points behind the league leaders. Not closing the gap whilst City are in their worst form of the season so far would certainly be a missed opportunity.
And yet, United have problems of their own. Paul Pogba will be suspended after his sending-off against Arsenal, whilst Romelu Lukaku is struggling. In the absence of the Frenchman earlier in the season, United have looked less threatening on the counter-attack and much more disjointed in possession, and that’s been part of the problem for the Belgian striker, who has been ineffective and scored only once since the end of September.
Against City, United will likely play on the counter, attempting to stifle their attack with deep defending like the Blues’ last three opponents have done.
So far this season, however, Mourinho has mostly played with one of either Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford in the side. At the weekend, if they’re going to play deep and spring counters on City when they can, they’ll need pace. In the absence of Pogba’s technical ability and his power, the pure pace of both Martial and Rashford playing up front in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation could be United’s best chance of getting at City.
With that in mind, perhaps Mourinho should opt to drop Lukaku in favour of his two other young, pacey attackers. Have your say below…