Paul Parker: United are too slow to trouble City
Our analyst tells DAVID LEE why blue will rule the Manchester Derby tonight
MAN UNITED v MAN CITY
(Tonight, 10.05pm, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
It's interesting to observe how both managers are treating their captains in the build-up to tonight's Manchester Derby.
For me, Manuel Pellegrini is showing Louis van Gaal how it should be done.
Pellegrini said that he was not punishing Vincent Kompany by benching his captain for two games after the centre back went against his wishes and played for Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers despite being less than 100 per cent fit.
If you ask me, Pellegrini took it as a sign of disrespect and needed to send out a statement.
And fair play to the Chilean, the team have been winning without Kompany.
Van Gaal, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have the gall to drop Wayne Rooney.
If he has been hauling off the likes of Memphis Depay and Antonio Valencia for not performing, why not Rooney?
We are not seeing any creativity or agility from Rooney.
He is very one-dimensional these days and van Gaal has to leave him out to make him hungry again. Van Gaal has to show his skipper who's boss.
Having said all that, I just can't see how United can beat City tonight even though the game is at Old Trafford.
I can't wear my heart on my sleeve all the time. United will not be able to keep up with City's pace.
The Citizens' forwards are faster than United's backline, their midfielders are quicker than United's, their team just move from end to end a lot quicker and they pass the ball very slickly.
United will have to kill the tempo of the game, stop the game with those niggly professional fouls and hope they can sneak a goal in somehow to beat City.
The only department where United are better than City is in goal.
I love Joe Hart but I think David de Gea is a better goalkeeper who reacts better and makes saves when they matter.
If United are hoping to silence their "noisy neighbours", they have to count on the Spaniard because he is going to be overworked.
City have got eight or nine matchwinners in their team.
Despite missing the injured Sergio Aguero and David Silva, they are still winning matches and they have got more scorers on the pitch than United.
Raheem Sterling looks happy with the free-flowing, attacking football City are playing, while Kevin de Bruyne is thriving with the trust he never got while at Chelsea.
At the back, Nicolas Otamendi is exactly the trustworthy defender United haven't got.
It's worrying to see Phil Jones back in defence with Chris Smalling.
I don't think Jones has convinced anyone in his time with United that he is the successor to Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic.
He is impetuous and has no discipline in that position.
He doesn't seem to realise that you don't have to win the ball or keep barging in all the time to be a good centre back. Good defending also involves shielding and screening.
While City's new signings have settled down, United's look like a mixed bag.
Depay has been the poorest United signing this season by a country mile.
He hasn't proven himself, he's one-dimensional and, if he doesn't change, he won't have a long-term future at United.
Matteo Darmian has done well, but he also needs playing time - United's defence needs continuity and not constant chopping and changing.
Bastian Schweinsteiger needs to show more energy, Morgan Schneiderlin has been quietly efficient and needs more game time.
Anthony Martial has made a big impact but he needs to be playing up front and not on the left wing.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with the manager.
The 3-0 loss to Arsenal on Oct 4 was the worst game I've seen United play since I left them.
They were okay when they beat a poor Everton side 3-0 and they were just unproductive in the 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in midweek.
Van Gaal has got to be more specific in what he wants to do. Does he want his team to be negative or be more expressive?
There seems to be discontent among his players who are not allowed to express themselves.
When you watch United play, it's like a kids' party without a clown and it's fast turning into a wake.
They are not interesting to watch at all. Van Gaal has to start doing something.
All the talk about possession is a waste of time. The best statistic is not 80-20, but it's 1-0 or 2-0 on the scoreboard.
And tonight, City look the likelier of the two teams to come up with the winning formula.
l Paul Parker is an ex-England and Man United defender who won two EPL titles and earned 19 caps.
Van Gaal: City are favourites
Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United are the underdogs going into the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford tonight.
Manchester City are without first-team stars Sergio Aguero and David Silva for the match against United tonight.
But United manager van Gaal (above), who had to endure a 5,150km round trip to Moscow in midweek, thinks his team are underdogs for the 170th meeting between the two sides.
The Dutchman said: "When you look at the facts, they are first (in the league) so they are favourites."
Van Gaal will not use United's eight-hour Champions League round trip to Moscow - while City stayed at home to play Sevilla - as an excuse, but there is certainly a feeling that the trip east has given the hosts a slight disadvantage.
To help matters, van Gaal put his players through a session in the team hotel in Moscow the day after the game and then brought them to Carrington after they landed.
He said: "I hope that we have recovered. We have done everything to help the recovery of the players.
"We did it already in the hotel. We stayed in the hotel the next day, we had a smooth flight, after the flight we came to the AON Training Complex for recovery, we didn't train too much today.
"We have to afford and we have to recover. It's still a match at a high level and a big travel and we know that in advance and we have done that."
This will be van Gaal's third derby since moving to Old Trafford.
He suffered a 1-0 defeat in his first outing at the Etihad Stadium last November but, in the reverse fixture, United ended a run of four successive derby defeats by beating City 4-2 at Old Trafford.
Captain Wayne Rooney believes City still have the players to hurt rivals United tonight, despite the absence of Silva and Aguero.
Aguero has played a key part in City's recent run of six wins from their last eight derbies.
The Argentinian has scored six goals in his last five matches against United but, tonight, Wilfried Bony is expected to lead the line for the visitors because Aguero has a hamstring injury.
Bony has scored only twice this season but, in Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, City have two deadly players who United will have to keep a close eye on, according to Rooney.
"Nowadays, the top teams have such good squads that they can cope with injuries," Rooney told United Review yesterday.
"The players they brought in cost over £100 million ($214m) in de Bruyne and Sterling, so they are two fantastic young players and we have to nullify their threats and take advantage of their flaws.
"Raheem is a fantastic player and a great lad as well, but he is still a young lad and still has a lot to learn. The good thing about Raheem is that he wants to learn.
"He has started his career at City really well but, hopefully, we can slow him down a bit on Sunday and come out on top." - PA Sport.
ONE FM DJ Flying Dutchman says...
Man United versus Man City - who will win and why?
I'm no football analyst but, looking at the two teams, you have Man United who have magnificent strength in depth and some of the finest players in the world.
And then you have Man City, a team with unlimited money. Analytically, I would say this is talent vs dollars. As a football fan, I'll go with talent!
Money can buy you players, but whether they can gel and perform against United is a different story.
Having said that, it's always difficult to pick a winner in a derby because every derby is like a cup final.
But, if I have to pick a winner, I'll go for a 2-1 win for United.
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