Manchester United‘s elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Liverpool gives them only one option of qualifying for the Champions League next season – via the Premier League and the club standing in their way is their neighbor Manchester City. Both the Manchester clubs will come face to face on Sunday on the back of a contrasting week. City qualified for the Champions League quarter-final stage for the first time, after defeating Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 on aggregate over the two legs, while United were dumped out of the Europa League by their other big rival Liverpool. When these two teams met at Old Trafford earlier in the season it ended in a bore nil-nil draw.
Pressurize the Kompany less City defense.
Although Manchester City qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time, but they paid a hefty price for it, as they lost their leader and key defender Vincent Kompany again to a hamstring injury. Therefore, the responsibility will now shift on the pairing of Mangala and Otamendi, both of whom have looked a little shaky this season. Van Gaal will be hoping that his forward players can take advantage of the situation and make both the City defenders nervous and uncomfortable in and around the box. With Kompany missing from the starting XI, this is a very good chance for the manager to lessen the pressure on himself, with a victory.
Converting the half chances.
One thing which was very apparent from the Europa League game against Liverpool on Thursday was the number of chances United players missed to make the keeper work by shooting in all directions. If United are going to get anything from Sunday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium, they must improve on their finishing otherwise, it could well be game over, given that City have the lethal Sergio Aguero on the other side, who will look to make the most of any chance he gets.
Keep City’s attacking players quiet.
This is a job easier said than done since Manchester City have the likes of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Yaya Toure in their artillery. Smalling and Blind will have their hands full come Sunday in trying to prevent pass masters like Silva and Toure from slicing their defense open. Although City looked a little toothless in midweek, United should not forget they have got the second best-attacking stat in the League. A defeat for either of the teams could turn out to be very damaging especially with the international break coming up. We have reached the final stage of the season and for United to reach the Champions League, their best way is through overtaking City in the points table.