It would a disaster for Man City to lose this derby to United because it would put their top four ambitions in serious doubt.
A defeat to their biggest rivals could cause their season to completely fall apart. If Pep Guardiola’s men fail to reach the Champions League now, it would definitely be a disappointing campaign.
When you consider how much money has been piled into Manchester City, it really wouldn’t good enough. Six weeks ago they were in the last 16 of the Champions League, they were still in the hunt for the FA Cup and that’s all in danger of imploding now.
Guardiola won’t be under pressure for his job if The Citizens fail to grab a Champions League spot though. City have chased his signature for a long time now and they’ve obviously had plans built around him.
They are still a big pull to attract big stars because they’ve got some outstanding talent at the club and the financial resources to match. The goalkeeper and defence are huge issues for City, they must be fixed in the summer.
If United win the Europa League than it’s fair to say Jose Mourinho has had the better start to life in Manchester. They’ve won the League Cup as well, so if The Reds can secure that Champions League spot – either way – than Jose’s had a superior year than Pep without a shadow of a doubt.
If you offered me the chance to manager either City or United’s squad, I’d take Guardiola’s side. They’ve got a more talented stable of players.
There’s a lot of question marks about United’s attack, they’ve relied on a 35-year-old this season to score goals. Rashford and Martial have a lot of potential, but they haven’t really kicked on.
Rashford will hopefully get more chances now with Zlatan Ibrahimović being out, but you compare United’s lot to the likes of David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, there’s a lot more natural talent at City.
What does equal the argument a bit is the gulf in class in the goalkeeping departments. Certainly Manchester United have the better keeper, Antonio Valencia has done really well at right back this season, so I’d have him.
However, if you took Kompany and Stones compared to Smalling with either Jones, Rojo or Bailly, there’s not much in that battle. At peak form and fitness I’d have Kompany and Stones over any United centre back pairing. The bottom line is though, they haven’t been together all that much.
At left back you’ve got Aleksandar Kolarov or Gael Clichy against Luke Shaw and Daley Blind, I’d give that argument to the red half of Manchester as well. The fact that Kompany and Stones have had so little playing time together means I’d take the entire United back five over City’s at the moment.
Manchester United can’t afford to lose Thursday’s game because they’ll fall further behind City. Also, if you say ‘they’ve still got the Europa League’, well there’s no guarantee they’ll win that either.
It’s a tricky situation when it comes to team selection for The Reds because on one hand you’d believe they want to give the Premier League route a proper go, but the Europa League way might be easier. If United lose against City – with the games they have left to play – a top four finish will be very tough for them.
The Reds had a great win against Burnley at the weekend though and with City under the pressure to hold onto their top four position I believe United will get a result on Thursday.