We look at all the player vs player battles that will take place in the Manchester Derby – Man United vs Man City!
Man United take on Man City in the Manchester Derby this weekend and in this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the Player vs Player battles that will be taking place in the game!
It’s the first big Manchester Derby of the season and it’s sure to be a good test for both Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, who are both taking charge of their first ever Manchester Derby.
Both teams are also contenders to win the Premier League title this year, so winning this game could give the winning side an early advantage over their opposite number.
With some of English football’s best players going head-to-head in this game, we have decided to take a look at some of the key player battles that will be taking place.
Man United vs Man City – Player vs Player battles
David De Gea vs Claudio Bravo
In the battle of the goalkeepers, it’s De Gea vs Bravo.
The former has been a key member of the Man United team for several seasons now and has slowly established himself not just as one of the best number ones in the Premier League but also in Europe and the world.
Although a bit shaky at the beginning of his Red Devils career, he has become one of the best shot-stoppers and he is extremely hard to beat due to his superb reflexes and positioning.
Bravo is only just beginning his life at the Etihad Stadium but he arrives with plenty of top-level experience and he is sure to be a more than capable replacement for Joe Hart and Willy Caballero. Bravo has not only played first-team football for Barcelona, where he did quite well for the Catalan side, but he is also Chile’s number one too.
Like De Gea, he is capable of dealing with shots of any kind and keeping his team in the game with tremendous shot-stopping ability.
One thing is for sure – both keepers are more than capable of pulling off top saves to deny the opposition and keep their side in the game. It will be intriguing to see who comes out on top.
Eric Bailly vs John Stones
Both defenders made the move to their respective clubs this summer and both have undoubted potential. Eric Bailly has shone massively since joining United, so much so that he has kept Chris Smalling out of the side.
He was extremely impressive in his first Premier League showing, as he picked up the MOTM award and he has continued to put in some good performances.
Stones has also adapted quite well to his new surroundings at Man City. At Everton, many tipped him to become the next big defensive star and with a big money move to the Etihad secured, he has continued to go from strength to strength.
Although error prone at times, he likes the ball at his feet and would rather play it out of the back than hoof it forward – something which is very valuable in this modern era of football with the style of play.
In this game, both men really will have to be on top of their game to ensure that their side picks up a clean sheet and the three points that both sides will be desperate for.
Wayne Rooney vs Kevin De Bruyne
The battle of the CAMs should be a good one. Red Devils captain Rooney – who has been moved further back into the attacking midfield position this season – can be an absolute menace on his day and if he finds that form against Man City, they will have a hard time trying to deal with him.
Capable not just of setting up his teammates but scoring from long range too, Rooney will be a huge threat to City – especially with his successful history in Manchester derbies.
The same can be said about De Bruyne. Sold by Chelsea for next to nothing several years back, he has since gone from strength-to-strength and is now one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe.
He is a constant thorn in the side of any opponent and like Rooney, he is capable of assisting his teammates and scoring some sensational goals too.
If both teams can control their respective attacking midfielders, then a huge threat to their goal will have been dealt with.
Paul Pogba vs Fernandinho
Paul Pogba is the heart of the Red Devils midfield. The club’s record signing is one of the best players in the world, no doubt about it and he is capable of affecting entire games on his own.
His passing range is extraordinary and he rarely puts a pass wrong. He is another player who can not only setup his teammates with a wide range of passing and crossing but he can also hit the back of the net himself. He is a huge asset for Jose Mourinho’s side to have.
Fernandinho seems to have found his rhythm so far this season, impressing in most of City’s games so far. He’s been a mainstay in the Man City team over the last few seasons and he has slowly become one of City’s main midfielders, if not THE main central midfielder/defensive midfielder.
He, like Pogba, has a wide range of passing in his arsenal and he is capable of reading the game well and making interceptions or tackles at the right time to stop an attack and then use his passing to help start his own side attacking.
Both men can help their own side control the game – whoever has the better day of these two, could decide which team wins. Pogba has the upper hand slightly in this one I think but Fernandinho is more than capable of massively helping his side out and on the day, he could have much more of an influence than Pogba. We’ll just have to wait and see!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Kelechi Iheanacho
What is there that you can say about Zlatan? The Swedish striker has been one of the best forwards in world football for quite some time now and he has finally graced the English shores and he will be hoping to do what he did in each other country he has played in – score goals and win trophies.
He has started well on that front so far – he’s bagged four goals in four games so far (including the Community Shield) and he will be hoping to add to that tally in his first Manchester derby. He can create a piece of magic out of nowhere – his side can be on the back foot but give the ball to Ibrahimovic and a little bit of skill and a shot at goal later and you can be a goal up.
It’s not just his finishing ability that should be praised though. Ibra is also more than capable of setting up his teammates – he has a superb passing range for a striker and although he is capable of scoring and changing a match on his own, if needs be, he is able to setup a teammate in a better position to score instead, with his fantastic passing range.
Iheanacho is likely to step in for the banned Aguero in this Manchester derby but don’t think the youngster isn’t up to the test. The 19-year old has already proven he has bags of talent and potential by scoring and creating goals in several of his first-team, appearances for Man City so far. On the ball, his dribbling is amazing and he can take on and beat defenders at will on his day. There’s also no denying he knows where the back of the net is and he would love nothing more than to score in a Manchester derby I’m sure.
Get the ball to one of these two strikers and they should provide a goal. Ibrahimovic perhaps has the upper hand in this battle due to his years of experience and ability but football can be unpredictable game – and who knows which of these two strikers will perform better on the day?