Gen­er­ous City can’t gift any more points

Manchester Evening News - - THE DERBY - By SI­MON BAJKOWSKI

TOO GEN­ER­OUS

CITY have been far too gen­er­ous to op­po­nents this sea­son.

For the last two years Pep Guardiola’s team have been Scrooge-like with their gifts, ig­nor­ing any is­sues op­po­si­tion teams are hav­ing and steam­rol­ler­ing them all on their way to two Premier League ti­tles.

Re­cently, though, that changed.

Nor­wich were so light on bod­ies when they played City they had to name two goal­keep­ers on the bench yet claimed a shock vic­tory.

Wolves had barely made back from a Europa League fix­ture in Turkey when they won at the Eti­had.

Miguel Alm­iron had failed to con­trib­ute to a New­cas­tle goal un­til City obliged at St. James’ Park.

United have not won back-to-back league games since March 2, a month be­fore they ap­pointed Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer as per­ma­nent man­ager.

As the Reds head into to­day’s game with Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino avail­able and in­ter­ested in the job, it has

City can­not af­ford to another strug­gling side.

GOOD IN THE BOXES

IT’S what de­cides games and will be es­pe­cially true in this one with United likely to hap­pily yield pos­ses­sion and try to hit City on the counter.

The Blues need to make the most of their am­ple time on the ball and have a strong enough de­fence to keep the vis­i­tors out on the rare oc­ca­sion they lose it.

BIG GAME TEAM AND PLAY­ERS

PARTLY be­cause of the way United set up, their best re­sults this sea­son have been against the tough­est teams. They have beaten Tot­ten­ham and Chelsea and are the only side in the league to take points off Liver­pool. City must also be wary of Mar­cus Rash­ford. The England striker scored two in the win over Tot­ten­ham and also has an ex­cel­lent record against the best teams; he got the win­ner in the 2016 derby at the Eti­had. help out

DOES GUN­DO­GAN RE­TURN? ILKAY Gun­do­gan is one of the play­ers Guardiola turns to most, able to play in the hold­ing mid­field role or fur­ther for­ward as one of the two central play­ers in front of that po­si­tion.

He has come in for some crit­i­cism this sea­son as the team have laboured and was sus­pended for the mid­week win over Burn­ley – one of the best per­for­mances of the campaign.

The man­ager will not be swayed by fan power but does have a se­lec­tion de­ci­sion to think hard about.

OP­TIONS AT LEFT-BACK

FOR the first time in two months, there are three play­ers fit and avail­able to play at left-back.

Aleks Zinchenko’s re­turn gives Guardiola another op­tion as he plots the game­plan to beat United and the Ukrainian has been missed dur­ing his six-week in­jury with nei­ther Benjamin Mendy nor An­gelino nail­ing down a start­ing place in his ab­sence.

Ilkay Gun­do­gan could re­turn for the Blues to­day

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