The Premier League is back once again this weekend for what could turn out to be the most exciting set of top flight fixtures so far this season. In a month like December there are always a whole lot of highs and lows, if only because there are so many games, and the two teams we’re going to be taking a look at today understand that better than most.
Manchester United and Manchester City will meet tomorrow night at Old Trafford, and they’ll do so in a derby that we’ve seen many times over the years – especially in the Premier League.
It has changed substantially from year to year but in the present day, we’d argue that there’s a higher sense of the unknown surrounding both clubs than we’ve seen in a long time.
United, under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have been forced to face some harsh truths so far this season – both in the Champions League and domestically. Many wonder whether or not the Norwegian is even the right man for the job but at this stage in proceedings, it seems as if it’d take a total capitulation for him to be sacked. Well, that or Mauricio Pochettino coming into the discussion.
On the flip side, Pep Guardiola’s new contract serves as a clear indication of his ambitions at the Etihad. He wants to stay and fight for the Premier League title, but beyond that, he also wants to try and bring them their first European Cup.
It’s going to be easier said than done but he definitely has the resources necessary to do it, and that’ll become even more evident if he succeeds in luring Lionel Messi over to English football.
In terms of this game, both sides find themselves in a tricky position as they are outside of the title race looking in. City could perhaps mount a challenge but United’s best hope, realistically, is going to be qualifying for the top four, and we don’t think that’s too harsh to say.
It’s all about managing expectations in the grand scheme of things but within the context of this game, we actually don’t think the Red Devils have anything to fear. City are a fantastic side but we’ve already seen some of their frailties on display already throughout the campaign, and while the same can be said for United, they always seem to play a little bit better when they’re expected to lose.
The likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes will be integral to either the success or failure of these clubs and in our opinion, we think United are going to cause something of an upset in what would be one hell of a rebound from their Champions League exit.
It’s not going to be the prettiest game of football you’ve ever seen, as we should all expect within the constraints of a derby, but it’ll be entertaining enough, and we believe Manchester United fans will be smiling at the end of it.