Manchester United face city rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and Martin Keown has revealed what Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick must do to ensure Manchester United beat Pep Guardiola’s side.
“Pep Guardiola this week listed the five Premier League teams who dare to go head to head with Manchester City rather than sitting on the edge of their own box,” Keown told Daily Mail.
“They are Liverpool, Brighton, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Leeds. Notably, he did not mention neighbours Manchester United, who had a respectable record against City under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning four of nine games against Guardiola.
“Solskjaer regularly turned to a back five — three centre backs and two wing-backs — with a focus on breaking at pace to try to get the better of City.
“With just 27.7 per cent possession in March 2020, United beat City with a low block. In November 2021, that same approach failed as Solskjaer lost his penultimate game as United manager with only 32.6 per cent possession.
“Ralf Rangnick has now had a full week to prepare for this derby — a rarity in modern-day football — and it is a real possibility that United will switch to a back five tomorrow.
“In fact, it may be the only way to go if they want a result at the Etihad Stadium.
“Rangnick has used three different centre-back pairings in United’s last three matches: Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof against Leeds, Maguire and Raphael Varane against Atletico Madrid, and Lindelof and Varane against Watford.
“He clearly isn’t sure of his best partnership.
“To see out the win at Elland Road with United leading 3-2, Rangnick replaced Cristiano Ronaldo with Varane and turned to a back five. United ended up hitting Leeds on the break to score a fourth and win the match 4-2.
“With City dominating possession more than any other side in the Premier League since Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, United will look to sit deep and draw their opponents on.
“They can then try to counter at high speed using Bruno Fernandes and others to hit early balls into the space vacated by City’s raiding full backs.
“It is a big decision for Rangnick. He has spent the last two months trying to educate his players on his favoured 4-2-3-1 system and choosing when to press, so it’s a huge call to change the set-up for this trip to City.”
I truly believe that Man United is going to win the game tomorrow night
We as the really united funs we are believing that we are going to beat Manchester city due to team performance for the last three mutches