The Manchester derby is almost upon us and as one would imagine every man and his dog, including well-established football pundits, are busy talking about and predicting this afternoon’s result.
Before we look at how Mark Lawrenson, Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, and Charlie Nicholas predict today’s game, I am going to jump the gun and state my prediction.
Manchester City 4-0 Manchester United.
If, as expected City take the game by the scruff of the neck the match could be over by half-time. I anticipate United will park the bus (again) and hope for a loose ball and counter-attack based on lady luck.
I am not usually this confident leading up to a Manchester derby but, for some reason, I smell blood. United blood.
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Gary Neville & His Gobbledegook Guess
Not one of my favourite pundits but, I want to be partisan (really?), and so if any Rags are reading this article, please feel free to click/tap here. Am I sure you will find his column interesting?
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— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 11, 2018
BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson.
“The way Jose Mourinho’s side have been fighting back in games recently is like the United of old. Even if you have got a lead against them, you know they are going to come back.
“City’s fans might turn up at Etihad Stadium thinking they have done Southampton and Shakhtar for six, and now they will take United – but football is rarely that simple.
“On a similar note, United fans might be optimistic because of their win at the Etihad towards the end of last season, but I don’t see that happening again.
“I don’t see City winning either, though. I usually always fancy them so much to win at home, but with United being so resilient, I am going to go for a draw.”
The Grandfather of punditry predicts 1-1.
The Sky Sports Soccer Saturday lads have a different view.
Phil Thompson: “I see City dominating from a very early stage. Manchester United will be happy to sit back and just try and stay in the game, even if they’re 1-0 down – Jose’s teams don’t change if they’re just 1-0 down, it’s got to be 2-0 before he changes it otherwise he’ll leave it until late on. If City score first, as I think they will, then it’ll be a tough afternoon for United.”
City 2-0 United.
The man who never stops talking – a man of many words, Matt Le Tissier predicts a similar score.
“I know United managed to beat them last season but that was an amazing turnaround and I don’t see that happening two years in a row.”
Paul Merson predicts City will take United to the cleaners.
“United have big problems at centre back. If United start like they did against Bournemouth, then the game will be over inside 15 minutes. It wouldn’t surprise me if City win this 5-0, but this is Jose Mourinho, who always turns up in the big games. He’ll have a plan to keep United in the game. City will be nervous despite United being the bigger club. The pressure is on City as they are expected to win. I think they will. 3-1.”
Charlie Nicholas: “Man City win because I think Man Utd will be a bit cautious and get a bit frustrated without the ball and City in those wide positions have too much pace and skill for United to handle. Then you look at the United center-backs, whatever two Jose plays they’re going to have to play the game of their lives to keep Cty out, and I just don’t see that happening.”
Charlie agrees with Merson – 3-1.
Does anyone think the game will be dull and goalless?