Man City tactics as they look to exploit the half-spaces against United

Sooraj Kamath - Writer 19:24 10/11/2018
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Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City are yet to see defeat in the league this season and hold the edge as they walk into the Manchester Derby after a 6-0 defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The Citizens will be wary of their struggling neighbours given how they failed to protect a 2-0 lead the last time these two teams met.

Pep Guardiola has a standard system in play which is rarely tampered with. We take a look at how these tactics can hurt Manchester United.

Check out the United Tactics Board here

EXPLOITING THE HALF SPACES 

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Manchester United are prone to leaving huge gaps between their deep defensive line and midfield block. Juventus and Chelsea failed to capitalise on this, but City can attack space better than any team.

Raheem Sterling and Riyadh Mahrez will look to stretch the field and drag full-backs Ashley Young and Luke Shaw to the touchline as David Silva and Bernardo Silva find themselves in promising positions in the half-spaces.

With two of the best players in United’s backline occupied, the centre-backs Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling will find themselves with additional defensive burden. David Silva can fancy a shot himself or feed Sergio Aguero who should not be facing any problems in making short work of United’s under-performing centre-halves.

VERSATILE FULL-BACKS 

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Guardiola has utilised the services provided by his full-backs very astutely. Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker are tactically competent.

The pair will look to occupy the midfield to make up for the space left by David and Bernardo Silva as they venture forward with the wingers branching wide. This approach should provide City the edge, if United attempt to press them or play a loose line like they’ve done this season.

However, if United opt for a more pragmatic approach and play narrow, the full-backs will look to create overloads on the wing and allow Sterling and Mahrez the freedom to cut inside. The versatility of the full-backs which allows them to execute both roles will be crucial.

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