Man United rising star Jesse Lingard among key players to watch in Manchester derby

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Jesse Lingard

Manchester United will attempt to deny Manchester City the Premier League title on Saturday.

The Citizens are well on course to become league champions early following a dominant campaign and have the opportunity to wrap it up against their cross-town rivals.

Here, we take a look at the players who could make an impact in the latest edition of the Manchester derby.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ

While Mohamed Salah bagged a goal and assist on Wednesday, it was fellow scorer Sadio Mane who was the pick of the attackers as he ran riot down the left.

Will Sanchez prove capable of being just as much of a threat? His goal against Swansea City would’ve been a huge boost to his confidence as he’s struggled to get on the same wavelength as his team-mates since his move from Arsenal.

It will be interesting to see how the Chilean is deployed – whether Mourinho trusts him to wreak havoc down that side or if he moves him to the right and deploys the pacey Rashford on the left instead.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

FERNANDINHO

While the celebrated figures of De Bruyne and David Silva have basked in the glory of City’s midfield supremacy this season, Fernandinho’s contribution has been somewhat underrated.

The Brazilian is in the form of his life and has played a major part in the team’s superb campaign, making that ‘Busquets role’ – if you will – his own.

Only Nicolas Otamendi has played more passes in the league this season than the 32-year-old. Negate the effect the City midfielder has on the game and United will deny the hosts their launchpad. Fernandinho will be equally required to track the vibrant Jesse Lingard.

Fernandinho

Fernandinho

JESSE LINGARD

While he hasn’t always been first-choice under Mourinho this season, his recent form has made him a key player in the run-in and an established figure in England’s squad as well ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

The Manchester native has made a habit of scoring in big games and seems unfazed by pressure. His work ethic, energy and speed of thought is precisely what United must capatalise on to get the better of City on the break.

Given his tactical awareness and ability to follow instruction, Mourinho is bound to give him a huge role to play in tackling City.

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard

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Jose Mourinho must not emulate Liverpool's tactics in bid to delay Man City's title triumph

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Manchester City have the opportunity to secure the Premier League title in the Manchester derby on Saturday.

Bitter rivals Manchester United will travel to the Etihad Stadium and attempt to delay their noisy neighbours’ celebrations.

A win for the Sky Blues would go a long way towards boosting their confidence following a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-finals tie at Anfield and ahead of the second leg.

Here’s a look at some of the tactical talking points ahead of the Manchester derby.

UNITED MUST DEVISE THEIR OWN PLAN

Following Liverpool’s resounding 3-0 win over City on Wednesday, many have called for Jose Mourinho to emulate Jurgen Klopp’s tactics as the German enjoyed his seventh win over Pep Guardiola in 13 meetings.

However, United are not equipped to execute that kind of well-drilled high press and must devise their own strategy.

What has worked well for United is their pace in wide areas and they must utilise that to take advantage of City’s high defensive line particularly when their full-backs are pushed up – not unlike their use of Marcus Rashford against Liverpool.

Adding more energy in midfield to break forward when the opportunity comes about would be beneficial as well with Ander Herrera afforded a start or perhaps Jesse Lingard playing in a midfield three.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

KEEP IT SIMPLE, PEP

City are set to win the Premier League title in style whether they do it against United or not. Much of that is down to Guardiola’s innovative tactics which have left many a side helpless this season.

However, amid the strategical derivations and eureka moments, every now and then, the Spanish tactician can get entangled in his own web. The deployment of Ilkay Gundogan on the right side of midfield against Liverpool with Kevin De Bruyne occupying the centre and Raheem Sterling left on the bench was curious.

Perhaps the idea was to afford Kyle Walker greater attacking freedom with Gundogan covering while also helping to dominate the midfield. It didn’t work. Against United, Guardiola should attempt to make things simpler for his already physically and mentally drained players.

Ilkay Gundogan.

Ilkay Gundogan.

PASSING LANES

As mentioned earlier, United cannot emulate Liverpool’s high-pressing game but they don’t have to be quite as passive as they normally are either.

While Mourinho likes to contain top opposition, resisting the temptation to close down their defenders on the ball, they can take steps to obstructing the passing lanes and forcing the Citizens into errors. United must take advantage of their relative freshness work hard further up the pitch.

While they don’t have to be overly aggressive so as to force a clearance or a back pass to the keeper, they can at least make it difficult for the ball to be played into central areas of the pitch from where City are so adept at building attacks.

Fernandinho (R) struggled to get on the ball vs Liverpool

Fernandinho (R) struggled to get on the ball vs Liverpool

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Jurgen Klopp brands Man City bus attackers 'idiots'

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised the “idiots” who threw objects at Manchester City’s coach and put at risk the chance of fans being able to greet the team’s arrival in future.

City’s vehicle was damaged by bottles and cans hurled at it on its approach to Anfield ahead of their 3-0 defeat in the Champions League quarter-final first leg and a replacement had to be sourced because the original was deemed unusable.

Fans have a history of greeting the team coaches before big games and two years ago the Europa League last-eight game and semi-final against Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal saw the streets lined with thousands of fans and flooded with red smoke, but both matches passed off without serious incident.

Future repeats have now been put in jeopardy by the actions of a small minority on Wednesday.

“I have to say, again, apologies for what happened before the game,” said Klopp.

“It is so strange because you go with your own bus through the crowd and it feels fantastic, it is passion.

“Then you come into the stadium and the first thing I heard is they smashed the bus of Man City and it kills everything in that moment for us.

“You cannot be happy about that, you don’t feel ‘it’ any more.

“Because of a few idiots it will maybe never happen again. It changed everything.

“The atmosphere during the game was one of the best I have experienced but these things around it changed my view.

“It is not OK. It is not how it should have been.”

Klopp also praised Manchester City who, despite their unsavoury arrival to the ground, stopped their coach on the way home to help a woman who was involved in a collision with a car yards from the Arkles pub – where a couple of hours earlier their bus had been pelted with flares and bottles.

“The medical staff of Man City did what they did but it is an outstanding thing to do and leaves us even more in a situation where we think ‘Oof, it was all strange’,” Klopp added.

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