Ghana's No. 1

Man City can prove Manchester United fans wrong about two summer signings

Published on: 28 September 2022

Manchester City will get a first real test of their title credentials when they welcome rivals Manchester United to the Etihad on Sunday.

City sit second in the table and are yet to lose a game in the Premier League, although they are yet to face a 'Big Six' rival after the home clash with Tottenham was postponed. So the visit of United will provide Pep Guardiola with a good benchmark of where his team stand, ahead of a trip to Anfield next month against the side who have been City's main challengers in the last five years.

After two games, United fans might have dreaded the first derby of the season, but a resurgence under Erik Ten Hag has shown promise, including notable victories over Liverpool and current leaders Arsenal. Those results will remind City not to take their cross-town rivals lightly, although Guardiola and his players will also confidently back themselves for victory.

And instead of looking at United's threats, City have shown enough quality this season to take the game to Ten Hag's men and learn from where Liverpool and Arsenal went wrong. In those games, United were up for a fight and won the mental battle as much as anything they did tactically.

New signings like Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia helped instil that competitive mentality into their new United teammates, with Liverpool in particular failing to match their commitment. Performances like that have seen both players become popular with United fans straight away.

City, however, have been here before, winning and losing derbies against United knowing full well what to expect.

They know that in Erling Haaland, they have a striker capable of keeping Martinez occupied, and United can expect City's 6 ft 4 ins free-scoring number nine to gravitate towards the 5 ft 9 ins Martinez when the crosses come into the box. Martinez has been impressive so far at United, but Haaland will pose a completely new level of opposition, and he is far more direct than the strikers of Liverpool or Arsenal.

Then there is left-back Malacia, another who has looked to be a shrewd signing from Ten Hag. Whether he comes up against derby specialist Riyad Mahrez, City fan Phil Foden or someone like Jack Grealish on the right, Malacia will have his work cut out to keep City quiet on the right. Add in Kevin De Bruyne's overlapping runs, which are becoming more and more frequent on the right as Guardiola encourages the overload on that flank, and Malacia will have to play a perfect game to nullify that threat.

Three points and bragging rights are obviously the main priority for City on Sunday. A secondary objective will be to show that their summer transfer business is superior to United's - particularly in Martinez and Malacia.


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