The game that everyone is talking about and looking forward to this weekend in the English Premier League is the first big derby clash of the season. And because the derby is between the huge spenders of Manchester United and Man City and with all the other things like the managerial rivalry adding spice to an already hot looking dish it is no wonder that the eyes of the world will be on Old Trafford tomorrow.
No doubt there will be football wags galore at this massive game but for now let us concentrate on the football, with many seeing the outcome as too close to call. Both clubs have had flying starts under their new managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola and even though United have the home advantage I do not see that as making a huge amount of difference.
What could be the deciding factor, in my opinion, is the fact that Guardiola will not be able to call on the Man City striker and talisman Sergio Aguero, after the Argentinean international star was banned for three games for an elbow on the West Ham defender Winston Reid which the referee did not see. City appealed but failed to overturn the ban and this is why I think that bookies like Matchbook have made United the favourites to take all three points.
Aguero is obviously a key figure in the City team and has been their top scorer every season in recent years but with the former Barcelona boss already stamping his authority at the club I think that we should not be so quick to write them off in Aguero´s absence.
What Pep does is very team oriented and with the likes of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Nolito and all I would say that City have the players they need to dominate this game. The main question is whether they can breach the United defence which looks a lot stronger since Mourinho arrived.
Young Iheanacho looks a proper player and I believe he will go on to have a great career as a striker but he is not at Aguero´s level yet. One striker who is at the top odf his game, despite the doubts about him at 34’years of age, is the new United centre forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
How City could do with their captain and best defender Vincent Kompany to cope with the powerful and talented Swede but he is another big loss for City and I think he could be the bigger one. It will certainly be a big test for their summer signing from Everton John Stones.
It will also be interesting to see if the two managers, fierce rivals from their time fighting for the Spanish La Liga title, set their teams up to play and what sort of tactics they use. In a big game like this Mourinho in the past has often gone for solidity over creativity and adventure, but being at home and with Aguero missing he has good reasons to go for the jugular.
Will Pepe expect this and try to control the game without risking too much going forwards or will he play his usual tactics and hope that someone other than Aguero will provide the finishing touch? I for one cannot wait to see.