Tag Archives: Etihad Stadium

Manchester United vs Manchester City – The 178th Derby

This Wednesday isn’t just hosting any other mid-week fixture. When red and blue collide, it will mark the 178th competitive meeting between United and City. And with United aiming for 3rd spot, and City going for the title; it promises to be a cracker. 

Still drying off after a stormy 4-0 loss to Everton, Solskjaer’s men will be looking to make a statement against Guardiola’s boys in blue. United currently sit down in 6th place, just three points adrift from Tottenham, who areclinging onto 3rd spot by goal difference over Chelsea. With their Champions League dream left in tatters following successive losses to Barcelona in the quarter finals, The Red Devils are desperate for a top four finish. Anything less than three points on Wednesday will hinder their hopes in earning a Champions League place for the 2019/20season. 

On the other side of Manchester, City are throwing everything they have at earning a top spot finish. The title race with Liverpool is as exhilarating as everyone expected; and anything less than a win for City would leave their hopes for the trophy hanging in the balance. The citizens have had a week of ups and downs, a crazy champions league exit from Tottenham was followed by a narrow 1-0 win against them on the weekend, and Wednesday is expected to pose a greater challenge.

In the victory over Tottenham, City star Kevin De Bruyne hobbled off the pitch with a hamstring injury, and has since been ruled out of Wednesdays encounter, a major blow for Guardiola and the team. United’s injury list is deeper however; with Bailly, Valencia and Herrera expecting to remain side-lined for selection. Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero is expected to start, currently tied for first place forthe Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah. 

Over the weekend, the PFA Player of The Year nominations were announced, and it comes unsurprising that The Blues dominate the six-man shortlist. Aguero finds himself on the list, netting nineteen times so far this season. He’s joined byfellow teammates Bernado Silva and Raheem Sterling, who have both played a significant role in City’s efforts to retain the title. Although none of the United players feature in the shortlist, they have a brilliant team none-the-less. Players like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have shone under Solskjaer’s new management. Playing more freely and open, you’d expect them to cause trouble for Guardiola on Wednesday. Although the last line of defence, David De Gea has proven to be one of The Reds all-time best shot-stoppers, and City’s strike force must be on top form if they expect to get past him. 

It is without doubt that the clash will be exciting. Both teams have everything to play for, and with major bragging rights at stake too, all twenty-two players must give it their all. This will be Solskjaer’s first time as a manager in the Manchester Derby. The previous encounter in the season saw Mourinho succumb to a 3-1 loss at The Etihad. Will Guardiola manage the double over his local rivals? Or will Solskjaer manage to put a dent in his title hopes?

The game can be watched on Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage starting from 7pm.

Is Loris Karius the answer to Liverpool’s goalkeeping problems?

Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet have been heavily criticised this season and last for being at fault for being too weak to play for Liverpool FC.

However, since a reported altercation between Mignolet and Jurgen Klopp, Karius has been playing regularly instead of swapping games with the Belgian.

Since the start of 2018, Karius has played all games for Liverpool apart from the New Years’ Day victory at Burnley and the 3-2 FA Cup loss to West Brom.

Since this run, Karius has kept seven clean sheets out of 14 games, conceding 11 goals, three of them in the thriller against Manchester City.

But now, with Karius looking like Liverpool’s number one, the Reds are now third in the Premier League and are 3-0 up in the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

It looked like Klopp would be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, but Karius now looks to be paying back the German manager for his faith in him.

Karius has two big games to prove himself further to the Anfield faithful, the Merseyside derby away at Goodison Park and the Champions League second leg at the Etihad.

The Reds have six games left to play before Klopp starts preparing for next season, where the goalkeeping position may not now be his priority.

Karius is still only 24 and has many years to play and has now proven himself and adapted to the English game following his difficult start.

It now looks like if Klopp were to bring in a new goalkeeper in the upcoming transfer window, it may be as a back up if Mignolet were to leave.

Manchester City XI vs Shakhtar Donetsk

After a rocketing start to the season, Manchester City take on Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in their second game of the Champions League group stage.

Shakhtar are the first team to head to the Etihad in the Champions League and City will be confident at home after two 5-0 wins over Liverpool and Crystal Palace.

Shaktar are also undefeated so far in the Ukrainian Premier League plus a win over Napoli in first CL game puts them in good position for tonight but City are a force to be reckoned with 27 goals in all competitions.

Starting XI

So, what can we expect from the top of the table team.

Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy are all unavailable for tonight clash through injury.

However the team expected to play is still extremely strong.

Ederson Moraes  

After his clash with Sadio Mane, City fans were worried as to how long it would take Ederson to return but he bounced back in the next game against Bournmouth.

He’s been outstanding, keeping a clean sheet in the last four games and only two goals conceded in the league.

There was no real danger from Feyenoord but Shakhtar could prove differently, Midfielder Marlos has 5 goals in 11 appearances and striker Facudo Ferreyra has 5 goals in 12 apps.

Nicolas Otamendi

The partnership of Otamendi and Stones was one worried about by most City fans, especially with Kompany’s unfortunate injury.

However I’ll give Otamendi credit where it’s due, the majority of his tackles have been clean and his pass accuracy has become much better since the end of the last campaign.

I still believe him and Kompany form a stronger barrier but without Vincent, Stones has been a reliable replacement.

John Stones

Like Otamendi, Johns had critics, especially last season but he does seem to be up.

Against Crystal Palace he made some excellent tackles to stop Benteke and Loftus Cheek from advancing, I have high hopes for him tonight.

Let’s not forget the two goals he scored against Feyenoord earlier this month which has helped City’s goal difference for the group stages.

Kyle Walker

After a shaky first home game which ended in a red card it’s been nothing but entertaining football from Kyle Walker.

His immense strength and fluidity on the ball is just amazing to watch, he’s perfect in a wing back role, he has the pace and the talent to make the ball land just where he wants.

As his natural role is right back he works very well with Leroy Sane when he sits on the right wing linking up to set an assist or an attack himself.

If Guardiola sticks with the past few games formation then look out for Walker on the Wing.

Danilo

One of my favourite signings of the window had to be Danilo. Coming from Real Madrid for around £26 million seems like a bargain for City.

Many believed he was a last minute replacement for Dani Alves but if  he was a fantastic choice.

Similar to Walker he is brilliant as a wing back, he’s reliable when City have three at the back and when he plays left back as well.

Shakhtar’s defence will need pace and skill to stop Danilo crossing vital balls to Aguero and/or Jesus.

David Silva

Merlin as I like to call him, even though his haircuts got worse his football certainly hasn’t.

He will more than certainly cause trouble for Shakhtar tonight with his quick and intellectual football.

He’s racked up 6 assists already this season but no goals as of yet.

Silva has created the most chances for City so far this season with Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero close behind.

Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has had a solid start to the campaign and could too cause Shakhtar problems at the back.

He’s not afraid to run back and help defend an attack, he’ll run wherever he believes he’s needed.

If Shakhtar step off the gas then De Bruyne and his team mates won’t hesitate to advance.

In a recent article Kevin said ‘ I get more joy from an assist sometimes, it’s just how I feel’ and with Silva on 6 assists and De Bruyne only on 3, he’ll be doing his best to equal his team mate.

Leroy Sane

An inSané start to the season for Leroy with 3 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League plus two in the League cup last week.

His name couldn’t ring any louder around the Etihad Stadium and I have no doubt it shall do the same this evening.

It could be his time to shine on the Champions League stage and increase his goal tally across all competitions.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling is definitely trying to defy the critics this year and he is doing so to an extent.

Yes, he’s scored 5 goals in five appearances but for me he just isn’t on the same football playing level as Sane, De Bruyne and Silva.

His touch certainly has improved on last season and if he’s in the right place then Shakhtar could pay the price.

However his passing and capability to keep hold of the ball just isn’t good enough, he seems to let the ball fall too far in front of him which could let City down massively.

Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero

Aguero is leading goal scorer so far this season and has helped City to the top of the Premier League.

He could prove vital for City in the Champions League with 6 years of experience, he’s able to work a back line like no other.

Ivan Ordets and Yaroslav Rakitskyy could have a tough job of keeping Aguero and potentially Jesus at bay and after a good start against Napoli they’ll be wanting to capitalise on tonight’s chance to go top of the group.

Gabriel Jesus

Jesus has scored 4 in 5 games in the League just 1 behind Sterling and 2 behind Aguero, he’s had a great start to the season giving him lots of confidence heading into the game.

He scored in the first game against Feyernoord and will be wanting to add to his tally against Shakhtar.

His quick pace and teamwork with Aguero should bring some more interesting and exciting football to the Etihad and the Champions League.

 

Where will this Chile international be come 11pm tonight?

Alexis Sanchez has been at the heart of the transfer news over the past few days, and his future at Arsenal remains up in the air.

Manchester City tabled a £50m bid for the Chile international earlier this week, but Arsenal turned that down and the Citizens have yet to come back with a second bid, despite reports saying that they are very keen on landing Sanchez.

Rumours earlier in the week were that winger Raheem Sterling was going to be used as part of the deal to lure Sanchez to the Etihad, but those rumours were quickly knocked back by City, saying that he was not going to be leaving the football club.

With over 12 hours of the transfer window left, it remains to be seen where Sanchez will end up come 11pm this evening.

Manchester City fans do you need Alexis Sanchez? If he were to sign where would he fit in? Let us know in the comments section below…