Man City v Man Utd: Erik ten Hag facing a derby dilemma – Danny Murphy analysis

Manchester United’s midfield has played a big component in the modern resurgence by Erik 10 Hag’s side – but it is unquestionably essential he receives that place right at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

10 Hag has to come to a decision irrespective of whether he retains equally Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes in there against Manchester City, or chooses a additional defensive-minded established-up and goes with two suitable keeping players this time.

With a player as fantastic as Casemiro waiting around in the wings for his to start with league start out, the temptation will have to be to partner him with Scott McTominay to give extra defense to his defence.

But if Ten Hag does that and leaves a person of his far more resourceful gamers out, then if United shed he will be asked why he modified a profitable team and did not go for it additional.

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro
Casemiro has performed much more minutes for Brazil (153) than he has managed in the Premier League (51) considering the fact that he signed for Manchester United in August. He has created a few substitute appearances for United in the league and performed yet another 135 minutes for the club across two Europa League appearances (one start out, 1 as a substitute)

I consider 10 Hag will stick with Eriksen and Fernandes mainly because of how well they have been playing but, if he would not modify just about anything and loses, then he will confront comparable concerns.

People today will say why bring in Casemiro and not use him in a game like this?

United’s problem has partly been created by Scott McTominay’s fantastic kind, on top of Eriksen and Fernandes’ performances.

McTominay has been sitting deeper, along with Eriksen, in a defensive position and has completed so well that he has stored Casemiro out of the team because he signed from Real Madrid in August.

Graphic showing Man Utd's XI v Arsenal on 4 September, in their last Premier League game: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Eriksen, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford
United’s midfield trio of McTominay, Eriksen and Fernandes has highlighted in all four of their Premier League wins this season – over Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester and Arsenal. United have not performed a league game given that they conquer the Gunners on 4 September

We by now understood McTominay had the athleticism and the power for that place, but what I have been definitely amazed by a short while ago is the self-control he has shown also.

In the game titles I have watched, the total of balls he has cleared in his very own box has been phenomenal. He is huge at spotting hazard and obtaining back to help his centre-halves.

He seriously has bought greater, it’s like he has taken to the part. I just you should not consider he can do it on his individual against a team as great as City although.

Midfield is a spot in which City will dominate.

Graphic showing Man City's starting XI v Wolves on 17 September, their last Premier League game: Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Dias, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland, Grealish
The City aspect that defeat Wolves 3- in their past Premier League game, on 17 September

Midfield is evidently a essential region in any game, but even more so when you engage in City – first of all simply because of their excellent top quality, but also the total of possession they have.

When you go to Etihad Stadium, you are generally going to be performing additional defending than attacking. And if you are regularly defending for extensive durations, you have to be in a defensive state of mind – which is not the scenario with Eriksen or Fernandes.

That’s not a criticism or me considering they are lazy, it can be just declaring what they are – innovative footballers who like to go forward and trigger damage. They are both far better with the ball than without the need of it.

You could argue the exact about Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva for City as well, but mainly because they will have so a lot possession on Sunday, they will commit much considerably less time defending.

Also, De Bruyne and Silva have been playing for Pep Guardiola for a range of years now and their defensive abilities have obtained greater and far better. In distinct the urgent and monitoring of runners that Bernardo does is just exceptional for a participant of his high-quality.

But even if Eriksen and Fernandes could match that facet of their game – and they are not able to – I would nevertheless argue that due to the fact United will have significantly significantly less of the ball they will need additional midfielders in there who are defensive minded practically all of the time.

I just you should not see how midfield doesn’t grow to be a area where City dominate, so rather of matching them, United have to emphasis on stopping City from hurting them. That is where Casemiro arrives in.

If United get a thing, it will be a massive deal

Nonetheless United set up, it is likely to be quite hard for them to preserve City out. Erling Haaland is at the quite top of his game, and looks to score in each and every game he plays, but they are not just reliant on him.

The full City team glimpse relaxed with the way they are playing, and my feeling is they will have way too a lot for United. They will obtain a way through simply because they have obtained creative imagination all over the pitch.

To get a little something out of the game, United will almost certainly have to score initially and then defend brilliantly.

They like actively playing on the split and have had some pleasure taking part in that way versus City in recent seasons so it is not unthinkable that they can protect in figures and cause difficulties on the counter – but I do believe it is unlikely.

What can help United’s possibilities is the positivity around them at the instant. I consider all people can nonetheless see how they are heading in the right direction, and that will not likely change if they eliminate this derby.

Ten Hag has had the intelligence to see what their strengths are and also what they can’t do at the minute – they perform out from the back now much much less than they did when they lost their opening two games of the season.

The turnaround due to the fact then has been amazing. If a person experienced explained to me soon after I noticed United reduce 4- at Brentford in August that, by the time they performed City in October, a acquire would set them two factors behind the defending champions with a game in hand, I might have said there is no possibility they would be that close.

Man Utd 3-1 Arsenal: Pink Devils’ spirit and mentality has ‘really improved’ – Erik 10 Hag

When you imagine about where they have appear from, then if United do get something out of this game, it will be a really major deal.

It will impact the way opposing groups perspective them, mainly because people will start out to think ‘United are back’, but the most crucial benefit would be the self-confidence it would provide their very own players.

For them to go on a operate like they have carried out, beat Liverpool and an in-sort Arsenal side and then even just stay clear of defeat towards City, it would be huge to take into their upcoming several fixtures.

I am not indicating it would suggest they can compete for the title or nearly anything like that, mainly because that gap will not likely be bridged so swiftly and United will continue to have their poor days.

But this is a big instant for them. Their belief will be developing anyway and even a place in opposition to City would give the total frame of mind of the squad an even larger raise at the start of a quite chaotic thirty day period.

Danny Murphy was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like