Man United and Man City: Who comes out on top?
Manchester pair already look like the teams to beat
The 2017-18 Premier League season is only five games old, yet already Manchester City and Manchester United are locked in a title fight.
With both sides level on points at the top of the table, something has to give.
The Coral News Team has been through the two squads to evaluate which side has the best credentials to go all the way…
Goalkeeper: Manchester United
It’s the red half of Manchester that edges this one. David de Gea is a proven Premier League operator with half-a-decade of experience in the Old Trafford goal.
With his long reach and imposing figure, the Spaniard is a daunting prospect for on-rushing attackers. Plus, he’s probably the best shot-stopper in the division.
For Manchester City, Ederson Moraes is no slouch. The £35m capture from Benfica has looked impressive since his move from the Etihad in the summer.
In particular the fearlessness shown in his clash with Sadio Mane proved he is a realistic long-term replacement for Joe Hart. However, he lacks that key experience which comes with being a proven world class goalkeeper.
Defence: Manchester United
This is a tough category. Both sides have looked defensively solid so far, but it’s the Red Devils that have more strength in-depth.
For all City’s defensive spending, there’s still an air of uncertainty about them. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are yet to prove themselves over a consistent run of games.
Meanwhile, Eliaquim Mangala has proved haphazard at best since his switch from Porto in 2014. Captain Vincent Kompany is also unreliable in a fitness sense. City have talent in the full-back areas, but even so their defensive capabilities remain in question.
United on the other hand boast impressive depth. Eric Bailly looks settled. Alongside Phil Jones, the pair have the makings of an impressive partnership. And that’s without Victor Lindelof.
At full-back Antonio Valencia is United’s most consistent performer. Ashley Young doesn’t inspire the same level of confidence, however. Even so, with Jose Mourinho’s adaptable pragmatic approach, the Red Devils just about edge it.
Mourinho’s men have a perfect balance in the middle of the park. The signing of Nemanja Matic in particular has proved key in United being able to pivot between defence and attack. For all City’s impressive qualities, Fernandinho doesn’t compare to Matic in terms of reliability or effectiveness.
The Serbian’s presence has freed up Paul Pogba to do what he does best in an attacking capacity. Put simply, City lack a central player with Pogba’s stature and effectiveness.
What City do have is an array of impressive attacking midfielders that are better than United’s youthful crop, Henrikh Mkhitaryan excluded. A trio of Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva is one of the best in Europe, let alone the Premier League.
City’s attack really is built in the mould of Pep Guardiola. And with Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva still to properly feature, the Etihad club have an irresistible array of midfield attacking talent to call upon.
Forwards: Manchester City
United’s forward line is based around Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is the focal point and has seven goals to his name for the Red Devils this season.
However, fellow frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out until December. And there’s no great certainty that Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial have the quality to continue scoring on a consistent basis. With that in mind, United appear overly reliant on the Belgian.
For City, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus provide different forward options. The pair, who have begun playing in a front two of late, have netted 11 goals between them in just six games already this season.
With an impressive supply line to compliment that natural instinct in front of goal at the highest level, it’s City who claim the most important category on the pitch.
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