ALIS­TAIR TWEEDALE

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League -

The gap be­tween the Manch­ester ri­vals has never leaned so heav­ily to­wards the blue side of the city and yet, go­ing into to­mor­row af­ter­noon’s derby, there is ev­ery rea­son to ex­pect an upset.

De­spite City’s dom­i­nance in re­cent years, the Manch­ester derby re­mains a date for which United al­ways raise their game, es­pe­cially away from home.

United have two derby wins and a draw at the Eti­had in their last three vis­its, in­clud­ing last sea­son’s ex­tra­or­di­nary

Paul Pogba-in­spired come­back vic­tory. In the en­tire Pre­mier League era, only two fix­tures have seen more away wins than the Manch­ester derby. What is more, United tend to win at least one derby ev­ery sea­son.

It could be that the last Eti­had meet­ing, com­bined with the mirac­u­lous turn­around at Ju­ven­tus in mid­week, pro­vides the in­spi­ra­tion for an­other red derby day.

It was from two set­pieces that United scored as they came from a goal down with four min­utes to go to win in Turin, while Chris Smalling’s win­ner at City in April came from a free-kick as well.

It is an in­dict­ment of the sit­u­a­tion at Old Traf­ford, where hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds have been spent on new re­cruits un­der Jose Mour­inho, that set-pieces may well be their best route to suc­cess, but that is the re­al­ity.

Only Bournemouth have scored more Pre­mier League goals from dead balls this sea­son than United, though Ed­die Howe’s side have scored four from the penalty spot. From cor­ners, free-kicks and throw-ins alone, no team has scored more than United.

While City do not con­cede many goals at all, it is set-pieces that have proven their big­gest down­fall at the wrong end of the field. Three-quar­ters of the goals they have shipped this sea­son have come from set-pieces, which is by a dis­tance the high­est pro­por­tion in the Pre­mier League.

Why City should still fear United

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