Man Utd vs Man City: 3 Keys to Win or Lose
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|Manchester United vs Manchester City at Old Trafford|
Manchester will come to a standstill on Saturday (Jan.14, 2023) lunchtime when Man United host Man City at Old Trafford in the first derby match of the season, with kick-off at 12:30pm.
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1.Weaknesses of Man City's Defense
Man City's defensive record has actually fallen behind compared to last season. In 38 Premier League matches in the 2021-2022 season, the army under Pep Guardiola conceded 0.69 goals per game, compared with 0.94 goals per game from the beginning of the season.
Man City have conceded 16 goals in 17 games, just 10 fewer than last season. With such a performance, Man City will concede 36 times in the Premier League this season - the club's highest number of goals in a season since being led by Guardiola.
Over the years, Man City fans have always been proud of the fact that the home team owns one of the strongest defenses in Europe, despite not pursuing a defensive style. Under Guardiola, Man City always entered the game with the policy that the best way to defend was to control the ball and attack.
The Spanish coach often arranges the squad in such a way that Man City can press high and win the ball back most effectively. To do this, Guardiola will put a full-back in the middle and play alongside Rodri. The opposite full-back will drop deeper and combine with the central defender duo to form a three-man defence. At that time, Man City will switch from 4-3-3 to 3-2-5.
Guardiola arranges full-backs in such a way that there are more defensive players in the midfield who can block counterattacks, ready for the opponent to steal the ball. Basically, when losing the ball, Man City usually has four defenders and a defensive midfielder in the back to block and choke the midfield.
However, this caused a big problem when the Manchester club defended. With two full-backs stuck in the middle, and two wingers rising high, Man City revealed many gaps on the two sides. Everton used to exploit this weakness, with Demarai Gray's super product to hold Man City 1-1 in the last day of 2022.
Man Utd have many wingers with the speed to capitalize on these spaces. Marcus Rashford sublimated when he scored for the first time in six consecutive matches, while the $ 100 million striker Antony Santos just made a super product to cut the left foot in a 3-0 win over third-place club Charlton in the quarterfinals of the League Cup on the evening of 10. /first.
2.Man Utd's Ability to Escape Pressing
The ability to raise pressing was the highlight of Man City in a jubilant 4-0 victory over Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup on the evening of January 8. The army under Graham Potter could not even control and deploy the ball in the home field under the suffocating pressure of Man City. Guardiola's men continued to rise, with Kyle Walker even playing as a winger, regularly appearing in the opposing third of the pitch to put pressure on Chelsea left-back Lewis Hall.
In 90 minutes, Chelsea lost the ball 26 times in a third of the home field. In fact, this is not a surprising statistic when Man City is the club that makes the opponent make the most passing errors in this area, according to the British newspaper Sunsport.
On the opposite side, Man Utd has significantly improved the ability to control and deploy the ball from the home field - a style that goalkeeper David de Gea and his teammates had difficulty adapting to at the beginning of the season. This was most evident when the "Red Devils" continuously lost the ball in their own half and conceded four times in the first half in the defeat to Brenford in August 2022.
Over time, Man Utd has improved and won 8 consecutive matches in all competitions with a new style of play. At this point, even De Gea started to become more involved in the team's play. The central defenders played wider, the full-backs pushed higher, and Casemiro moved wide to try to receive the ball and continue to deploy up front. Confidently holding the ball has greatly improved Man Utd's overall construction, and even scored goals from the goalkeeper position.
Next Man City - the team with the best pressing ability in the league - will test the strength and progress of Man Utd. If they stand up to the constant pressure of the opponent, Ten Hag's teachers and students can claim the debt they lost 3-6 at Etihad in the first leg. Otherwise, Man Utd's sublimation streak could be stopped today.
3.Who is Paired with Casemiro?
Scott McTominay and Fred started the match against Charlton, but in general Man Utd's play was affected. When the match had 30 minutes left, Ten Hag threw Casemiro and Christian Eriksen into the field - deciding to help Man Utd makeover. With two 2022 summer contracts on the field with Marcus Rashford in high form, the "Red Devils" exploded, scoring two more goals to finish the opponent.
This victory helps Man Utd become the number one candidate after Man City was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2022-2023 English League Cup. They will meet Premier League rookie Nottingham in the semi-finals, with the other match being a confrontation between Newcastle and Southampton.
The last time Man Utd won the title came from the time under coach Jose Mourinho, with a 2-0 victory over Ajax in the Europa League final on May 24, 2017. The last time Man Utd won the League Cup took place in the 2016-2017 season, beating Southampton 3-2 in the final.
In the 3-6 defeat in the first leg, Casemiro just arrived at Man Utd and has yet to start a single match in the Premier League. From the next round against Everton, the Brazilian midfielder came on from the bench, impressed and was voted the best player of the match. Since then, Ten Hag has locked down Man Utd's central midfield trio, Casemiro, Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes.
But Sunsport said that the Dutch coach will have to change his preferred midfield when he meets Man City. Eriksen flourished from the beginning of the season, but did not suit the style of a team that stayed deep for most of the game. With City expected to dominate the ball, Ten Hag was forced to adjust his approach and bring in a more contestable player in the midfield, alongside Casemiro.
Guardiola's army is very strong in exploiting the space to create opportunities in the penalty area. The central midfielders and full-backs regularly cross down and overlap with the wingers, before dropping in for Erling Haaland's explosive point or passing back into the second line. Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are very strong in such situations, when they can both create and have good finishing ability.
Therefore, Ten Hag can let Fred or McTominay play a defensive midfield pairing with Casemiro. Despite the loss of Eriksen's rotations and passes, it was important for United to have one more player to share the defensive duties from a distance with Casemiro.
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