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09 Nov 2018 14:05:09
As our thoughts turn to the Derby my question is can we beat City at their own game?

Whilst results have been great against Bournemouth and Juventus we can't ignore the fact that we've conceded too many chances and I just can't imagine City being as wasteful.

It hasn't escaped my attention that we rarely build from the back and every goal kick goes long. De Gea predominantly kicks long from his hands rather than playing short throws or passes to his defenders. This must be an instruction from Mourinho and until we replace Smalling I don't expect this to change.

The problem with this tactic is we often just give possession back to the opposition. Despite his size and strength Lukaku hasn't been a successful focal point. He rarely wins headers and his first touch and hold up play has been inconsistent at best.

Sanchez has played up front during the last few games yet we have still gone long from De Gea. His movement and mobility has allowed us to play more football when we have won the ball back in open play and I believe we have looked more threatening as a result. He has been able to hold the ball better and bring others into play.

On Sunday I fully expect City to press us faster and harder than Bournemouth or Juventus did. Do we have enough quality to play through their press and are we brave enough on the ball? Whilst I'd love us to go toe to toe with City do we have enough quality in our team at the moment to allow us to do this?

I shudder to even be thinking this but could Fellaini be our secret weapon? Could we play over their press with direct balls into Fellaini and play our football in their half? If we could somehow get some sustained possession in their half we could cause them trouble with the movement and skill of Martial, Sanchez and Lingard with Pogba joining from midfield. I don't expect Kompany to play and City are a relatively small team. We have come a long way in recent weeks. We are almost back within touching distance of the top 4 but because of our poor early season form I think we still need something from this game.

If ever we were in need of a Mourinho masterclass it's now. After our run of good results I'd love us to maintain the momentum. Sunday for me is all about the result and not necessarily the performance. I think we must look at the bigger picture and if a more direct or defensive performance allows us to get something from the game then I think we should support this approach.

Maybe I've blinked too soon, maybe I'm demonstrating the same cowardly attitude that has defined us now under three different managers, maybe I'm condoning the very thing most despise, but I fully expected pragmatism in the big games under Mourinho what I didn't expect was that it would extend beyond this.

Our approach will be fascinating and I can't wait. Food for thought I suppose!

Agree5 Disagree1

09 Nov 2018 14:31:48
If we give City as many soft chances as we have given away in the last couple of games we will be destroyed and humiliated. They could rack up a big score before half time.

However, derby games have a habit of ripping up the form book.

Hopefully, all our players pull together, put in maximum effort and we can come away with a win.

If a couple of players have a bad day at the office and we don't put in maximum effort we could be on the end of a whooping.

09 Nov 2018 16:05:31
The last whopping we got against City was a 6-1 defeat i believe.

09 Nov 2018 16:09:41
Dlib. In response be to your question in paragraph 1. The answer us No.

Can we win of course we can. But we will need everything to go our way.

09 Nov 2018 16:14:40
Sometimes in football you have you realise and accept the in deficiencies in your team and that sometimes you cannot go toe to toe with the opposition. Simply put, city are a better drilled and more talented football team than us. If we try and play them at their own game it may be a cricket score. Now that’s not to say we can’t beat them. There are many ways to skin a cat. And perhaps in Jose we have the master of winning the one off game any way possible.

We all want to see beautiful free flowing football but Sunday is all about getting the win. I have no issue us using fellaini’s attributes and looking to go long so we can by pass city’s press and build out attacks. But that doesn’t mean That we play aimlessly. Against Liverpool at home last year we had a plan to isolate Trent Alexander Arnold by going long to Lukaku and getting flick ons. A few years back when we heat city 4-2 at home under LVG we used fellaini to bring the ball down and bring out forwards into the game. I would still play a front 3 of Sanchez martial Lingard and order them to pressure city’s defence. But then I would play pogba Herrera and fellaini in midfield. Herrera sitting deep using his dynamism to sweep up any danger. And fellaini furtther forwatd forcing the two silva’s to push back. It may not be the prettiest or most desirable football, but we are unfortunately up against the best side in Europe for me.

09 Nov 2018 18:02:07
Agree with what you say Park.

I would add a point will do nicely whether we have 90% possession or 10%. If we don't lose its a good result for us Sunday.

09 Nov 2018 19:56:27
I agree fzz.

09 Nov 2018 21:02:17
Regrettably l have to say we are likely to get a tough lesson in reality of how long the road to recovery is ahead of us.
We get outplayed but manage to keep it to a reasonable scoreline we might just about keep on a fairly even keel. If, God forbid, we get trounced then everything will be up in the air again. I wonder whether Jose would survive that, not that I want him to leave at this juncture. I think that will come at the end of the season angway.

09 Nov 2018 21:04:34
Park, I am sure we will see free flowing football. The real question is will our team be playing it or watching in stunned amazement?

10 Nov 2018 05:58:15
Of course we can beat them, despite all the negativity on her. If we push high up the pitch and pressurise, play with energy and purpose, anything is possible. Against the big teams we’ve done ok so far, let’s get at them.

10 Nov 2018 10:00:39
We have to remember that though we CAN beat them and in spite some encouraging improvement recently this is a Jose "just don't lose" type of fixture. If I were a betting man, the only thing that I would put money on is that Jose will park the bus with wheel clamps on)

10 Nov 2018 11:40:21
DW20 - Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. City are playing the best football in Europe at the moment and they are at home. Big games should be hard fought wars of attrition. To think we can take on City toe to toe at at this moment in time would be naive at best. We have to find a balance between being defensively solid and a threat going forward. I think a draw would be a good result and keep the momentum going. My criticism of Jose is that he's been unnecessarily pragmatic against the lower half Clubs where a more expansive and braver approach is required. Against teams like City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc I think we can all forgive a more tactical approach especially if we pose a threat going the other way. It was in these games which Jose built his reputation after all and it wasn't for his gung-ho philosophy.

There should only be two positions in the team up for grabs. Do we retain Herrera in midfield or utilise the less mobile but more physical Fellaini? Does Lingard retain his position on the right or do we play the more direct Rashford?

I wouldn't start Rashford, I don't like him on the right. He runs up too
many blind alleys and doesn't retain the ball well enough. I think he's a brilliant option off the bench just like at Bournemouth and Juventus when his pace on the counter can be so dangerous.

I'm torn on Fellaini, I worry about his mobility but I fully expect us to sit deep, play narrow and defend our penalty box. I think we have a fluid, mobile front 3 in Sanchez, Martial and Lingard so I expect us to try and break quickly in the transitions with Pogba joining from midfield, Fellaini holding providing the stability and defensive shield with Matic. I think if we go long from De Gea (as we always do) we need someone to get hold of the ball rather than just constantly surrendering possession. If we could hit Fellaini and retain possession high in their half we could be in business. They will probably have the two Silva's in midfield and neither Laporte or Stones are commanding in the air, I think Fellaini could pose be a real problem for them. If all our goal kicks, dead balls etc are aimed at Fellaini and we then press and suffocate City competing for the knock on's, second balls and retaining the ball high in their half then we have the mobility and quality with the likes of Sanchez, Martial, Lingard and Pogba to cause them all kinds of problems.

10 Nov 2018 11:42:44
It's a derby any thing could happen .

Let's be honest juve performance was pretty poor but we got a result.



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