The mind games between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have already begun. Both managers have launched their mind games dressed as compliments, like Molotov cocktails across the city of Manchester. The two Manchester clubs occupy first and second in the table, and both meet at Old Trafford on Super Sunday in a matchup that would answer some rousing questions.
A victory for Manchester City and we all might as well begin engraving their name into the Premier League trophy. A victory for City will ensure that they have not just created a gap between them and their foes, but they would’ve beaten all of their closest rivals.
However, a win for United would mean that the veil of invincibility that shroud City will be debunked as a tacky penetrable material. A win for United will reinvigorate other teams, showing that City can of course be beaten.
With both teams qualifying first in their respective Champions League groups, both managers can begin honing their meticulous game plan for the exciting chess game that awaits us on Sunday.
Mourinho’s side will feel confident that they can quash City’s mesmerising waves of attacks, as United showed their mettle by keeping a bloodthirsty Arsenal side at bay.
City’s blinding start to the campaign has created high expectations for themselves, so high that when they do not live up to the bar it is often asked whether they are showing signs of weakness. City have narrowly won their last three Premier League games by 2-1 score-lines, and some have pointed to a fall in form. Whereas, others have pointed towards championship winning form that enables them to eek out a win in the most perilous of games.
Regardless, when it comes down to derby games, we’ve learnt from history that form is a poor barometer to predict the flow of a derby game, and this game is no different. On paper, City – who sit at the summit of the table – will be the favoured side to come out on top, however – knowing Mourinho – United will have a few aces up both sleeves to nullify their visitors.
United’s big absentee for this derby game will be in the shape of Paul Pogba, who serves a three match suspension after being awarded a straight red for his tackle on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin. His dismissal came back in karma form, as before the game against Arsenal he called for City to experience a few key injuries to their team.
The trio of Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Marouane Fellaini are all doubts for Sunday’s game, but Mourinho will be buoyed to have Nemanja Matic available, despite picking up a knock against Arsenal.
Earlier this week Mourinho accused Guardiola of playing mind games by lying about David Silva’s injury. The Spanish midfielder is still doubtful for Sunday’s Manchester derby, along with Kevin De Bryune, though it will be of no major surprise if both players line up on Sunday.
Benjamin Mendy still remains sidelined even though he has shown the propensity to join in goal celebrations, albeit with a clear limp.