World Football

Manchester United vs. Manchester City: Key Stats Ahead of Manchester Derby 2014

(FILE PHOTO - EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image Numbers (left) 177990999 and 178918611) In this composite image a comparison has been made between David Moyes (L) , Manager of Manchester United and Manuel Pellegrini,Manager of Manchester City. Manchester City and Manchester United meet for the first Manchester Derby of the season on September 22, 2013 at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. ***LEFT IMAGE*** MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Manchester United Manager David Moyes looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on August 26, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE***  MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Manuel Pellegrini the manager of Manchester City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Hull City at the Etihad Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

After the worldwide excitement leading up to El Clasico in Spain, the attention now shifts to Manchester, England, as one of the most fierce derby matches on the planet takes place.

Fallen giants Manchester United host their superstar-laden neighbours Manchester City in a battle that could dictate the futures of both club's managers.

David Moyes will be looking to make it three wins on the spin, after his team rescued their Champions League tie against Olympiakos at Old Trafford and had an impressive win this weekend against one of the Premier League's most in-form sides, West Ham. 

Squawka form guide
Squawka form guideSquawka.com

Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to fortify his team's Premier League title-winning chances after recently crashing out of the FA Cup and Champions League to Wigan Athletic and Barcelona. 

The Sky Blues lie in third position in the table, per BBC Sport, and are six points behind leaders Chelsea.

However, they have three games in hand on the West London club, and will need to win at Old Trafford to make this slim advantage pay for them.

Manchester United vs Manchester City: Premier League Head To Head
Manchester United vs Manchester City: Premier League Head To HeadSquawka.com

 

Will Moyes Play Rooney, Mata and Kagawa together?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  (R-L) Wayne Rooney of Manchester United is congratulated by teammates Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Ashley Young after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchest
Julian Finney/Getty Images

With the enforced absence of Robin van Persie for the match, after sustaining a knee injury against Olympiakos, David Moyes chose to play his three most flair-driven players together for the trip to West Ham.

The result, though only a solid 2-0 victory, was a taster of what could be about to come with the three little wizards playing as a unit.

On Saturday, Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and Juan Mata proved United can play with fluidity, which in turn does wonders for the team's confidence.

Team Physical Averages, via Squawka
Team Physical Averages, via SquawkaSquawka.com

With Marouane Fellaini sitting deep and protecting, the three were able to play close together and take the game away from their East London opponents. 

This could be a tactic that Moyes plays against City, forcing Yaya Toure onto the back foot.

However, if Moyes gives in to his pragmatic ways, he will sacrifice this chance and go for a more defensively secure 4-4-1-1. 

WhoScored.com

This would be a mistake: Chelsea set the blueprint of how to beat Manchester City tactically, and any variation of 4-4-2 will just play into Pellegrini's hands. 

United's home form has been shocking this season, and City playmaker David Silva gave his opinion on their decline.

He said, per Jason Burt's article in The Telegraph:

Sir Alex Ferguson was a legend at Manchester United but at some point he would have to step down and perhaps that has affected them as a team. But it’s part of football, you have to deal with it.

Silva is correct in his assessment, and United will need to prove on Tuesday night that there is life after Fergie. The game has come at a perfect time for Moyes and his men, and with a set of brave tactics could see United achieve a shock victory.

 

The Brilliance of Yaya Toure

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City scores their second goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Fulham at Etihad Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo b
Michael Regan/Getty Images

When Yaya Toure signed for City from Barcelona for a reported £24 million deal in 2010, per BBC Sport, many eyebrows were raised at the size of the fee in comparison to the type of player that was arriving at the Etihad Stadium. 

Toure was viewed as very good player, with a versatile edge, but it was questionable if he was a world-beater.

Those questions exist no more.

The 30-year-old Ivory Coast is now considered one of the best midfielders in Europe, and his record for City has been phenomenal. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  Yaya Toure of Manchester City celebrates scoring their second goal with Fernandinho of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Fulham at Etihad Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Manc
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Toure has shone in both the Premier League and European competition this year, scoring 17 goals in 34 combined appearances, and also providing five assists, per WhoScored.com. This is such a fantastic return for a player who was once considered a defensive type. 

Everything good that City does flows through Toure. With Fernandinho acting as a shield for the player, he can release himself from any shackles and play the game he wants. 

If Yaya plays well against United on Tuesday night, the Red Devils will not win the match.

Toure is an example of how a player can peak later in his career. Now into his thirties, he will have to manage his fitness more closely. 

But at Old Trafford, with a title to fight for, he can do what he does best: Power his team to victory from the centre of the park. 

 

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