The Manchester United fans are feeling incredibly nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their historic encounter against Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium later today.
Jose Mourinho has faced plenty of blockbuster fixtures in his esteemed career so far, but none quite like the one which he is set to face in Manchester later this evening. Mourinho takes his side to The Etihad to face a City side who will seal the Premier League title with a victory – a prospect which represents a once in a life time opportunity for Pep Guardiola’s side.
However, if there is one man who is well placed to ensure that City do not get the result which they crave so desperately, then it’s Mourinho. The Manchester derby at the Etihad last season saw United valiantly defend for the entirety of the match and scrape a 0-0 draw, which is exactly the kind of result Mourinho will be desperately hoping to achieve again today.
United have been taunted by supporters across the country this season for parking the bus and playing a boring style of football, but with their pride firmly on the line, they should have no qualms about adopting that approach against City. All of United’s outfield players will need to be at the top of their game to nullify a City side who will be eager to make amends after suffering a 3-0 defeat against Liverpool earlier in the week, but Nemanja Matic (valued at £36 million by Transfermarkt) will be the most important component of United’s defensive unit.
Matic has been an ever-present in the anchor role for United this season, but he has faced few challenges like the one he is set to face today. The Serbian international will be tasked with preventing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva from finding space between the lines this afternoon, and if he brings his a-game to the Manchester derby then United will have a great chance of keeping a clean sheet.
United will undoubtedly need to ride their luck and rely on David De Gea to make a handful of fine saves to keep them in the match, but without an excellent performance from Matic in holding midfield, they will have no chance of preventing City from recording a title-clinching victory.
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