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City v United: Expert View

KELECHI IHEANACHO: Wins the ball

KELECHI IHEANACHO: Wins the ball

Ahead of the Manchester derby on Thursday, Club journalist Rob Pollard spoke to ESPN's United correspondent Rob Dawson to get the inside track on the Old Trafford side.

Manchester United will arrive at the Etihad on Thursday just one point below Manchester City in the race for a top-four place having beaten Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor at the weekend.

It could hardly be tighter, with Liverpool and Arsenal also in contention for the two other Champions League spots alongside Chelsea and Tottenham. A win against Jose Mourinho's side is vital. 

Earlier this week, I caught up with ESPN's Rob Dawson, who follows United closely, to see what he has made of their season so far. 

United are unbeaten in 23 Premier League games after their win over Burnley at the weekend. What have you made of their form this season and how much have they improved under Jose Mourinho?

They have become much harder to beat, which the long unbeaten run is proof of. They’re also a much more attacking team than last season, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at their goal return.

They’re balanced and organised - everything you would expect from a Mourinho team. It hasn’t quite happened this season but they don’t look that far away. Scoring goals has been the only issue.

Hi Rob, thanks for joining us. Let's start with the big selection issue. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out, meaning Marcus Rashford is likely to start. He’s a really talented player who gives defenders a difficult time. What’s the best way to cope with him?

That’s a difficult one and lots of Premier League defenders haven’t had the answer, either. If defenders give him time to run at them, they’re in trouble. 

He can run in behind or come short and turn. His movement in the penalty area is phenomenal for someone so young. He's very hard to stop.

Michael Carrick is seen by many as steadying influence in the big games. Do you think he should play?

I think so. It’s a big game away from home and his experience is vital. He’s not a blood and thunder midfielder but he’s good on the ball and calm, and that can spread to the rest of the team in a game that will be played at a high tempo.

Who do you think will partner Eric Bailly at centre-half?

It will probably be Daley Blind unless Chris Smalling or Phil Jones make miraculous recoveries. That might worry some United fans but he was very good against Sergio Aguero in the derby at the Etihad Stadium at the end of last season.

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How has Paul Pogba performed in the big games this season and do you think he can go on and fulfil his undoubted potential?

It’s almost impossible to properly judge a player that young who has been transferred for such an enormous fee.

He has had quiet games but he’s been terrific in others. He’s always looked to get on the ball, his passing has been fantastic and he’s been unlucky with the number of times he’s hit the post or bar. It’s been a positive season.

How big a blow is Rojo’s injury? He’s looked much better this season than last.

Big, because he was playing well. He has looked comfortable next to Bailly and it’s a shame he won’t play again this season. It’s been his best since he joined.

United have a few injuries at the moment. How well-equipped is their squad to cope?

They’ve come at the wrong time. Not only have they had a few injuries, they’ve been playing two games a week for months because of the Europa League.

The squad is shrinking and the players who have stayed fit have had a massive workload. They’re still managing to pull off big results, though, like the win over Chelsea.

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United sit one point below City in the league. This is a huge game now. How do you see the race for the top four ending?

The derby is a big game and the winner will be in the box seat for a top four finish. United’s run-in is complicated with the Europa League semi-finals but United will fancy their chances of getting into the top four in the form they’re in.

READ: Fernandinho on Gabriel Jesus

Predicted team?

De Gea, Valencia, Darmian, Bailly, Blind, Carrick, Herrera, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Rashford.

Score predication?

1-0 United.

Rob Dawson is Manchester United correspondent for ESPN. You can follow him on Twitter: @RobDawsonESPN 

Crônica da partida

Chegou ao fim o sonho do City na FA Cup

Crônica da partida

Southampton 0-3 Man City

Vincent e Silva celebram o gol do capitão

O que aconteceu? Com Vincent Kompnay de regresso à titularidade, o City entrou no jogo com o objetivo de regressar a Manchester com os três pontos. Sergio Aguero foi o primeiro a ameaçar a baliza da equipe da casa. Logo aos dois minutos o argentino recebe um cruzamento de Clichy dentro da área, mas não consegue controlar bem a bola, antes do remate. Um minuto depois, o argentino remata pela direita, de olhos virados para o canto esquerdo da partida, mas a bola volta a sair fora. Sergio Aguero shoots O City assumiu o controle da posse de bola em casa do Southampton, procurando de forma persistente, pelo gol da vantagem. No entanto teria de esperar até ao segundo tempo para festejar. Durantes os primeiros 45 minutos, o City pressionou e procurou por espaço, no entanto o Southampton provou ser um adversário renhido, não permitindo aos homens de Guardiola, grandes chances. O City subia no terreno, mas os Saints souberam responder. Destaque para o espanhol Jesus Navas, Vincent Kompany, Nicolás Otamendi, Fernandinho e Sergio Aguero que não poderia sair de campo sem deixar um gol. Sergio Aguero on the attack Uma das grandes oportuinidades durante o primeiro tempo, surgiu aos 37 minutos, quando Aguero cruza pela esquerda em direção a David Silva na área, no entanto o remate do espanhol acabou por sair fora. Um minuto depois Leroy Sané tentou a sua sorte. O jovem alemão procurou passar por Forster na baliza, mas acabou por cair na área antes de conseguir o remate para o gol. Ainda houve tempo para um pequeno susto, já ao cair do pano, quando Aguero sofreu uma dura entrada de Redmond. O segundo tempo começou com ritmo e uma ameaça de Yaya Touré à baliza do Southampton, ao qual Forster estava atento. Até que aos 55 minuto, Vincent Kompany de cabeça, abriu o placar, após um canto/escanteio convertido por David Silva. Após um longo período em recuperação, o capitão de equipe afirmou estar de volta, dando a merecida vantagem à sua equipe. Kompany celebrates O Southampton mexeu no plantel, com esperanças de encontrar o gol do empate. O jogo ganhava mais intensidade, até que aos 76 minutos Leroy Sané marcou o segundo do City. Uma fantástica jogada de Silva para De Bruyne, deu ao belga a possibilidade de assistir Sané, em mais um gol brilhante, com finalização percisa de pé esquerdo fazendo o seu nono gol da temporada. Ainda os fãs do City celebravam o segundo gol, quando Sergio Aguero surpreendeu com o terceiro, mais uma vez com assistência de Kevin De Bruyne. Este é o 11º gol do argentino em 11 partidas consecutivas. Com esta vantagem confortável e a 10 minutos para os 90, já pouco ou nada o Southampton poderia fazer. Leroy Sane is brought down Pep Guardiola aproveitou para colocar Raheem Sterling, Pablo Zabaleta e Kelechi Iheanacho, para os últimos minutos de jogo. Homem do Jogo Os fãs do ManCityPT na conta do Twitter, elegeram Kevin De Bruyne como o “Melhor Jogador em Campo”. Kevin De Bruyne attacks Com duas brilhantes assistências, ritmo, adrenalina e dedicação, o belga volta a captar as atenções da torcida. O que significa? O City ocupa o terceiro lugar da tabela da Premier League, ao lado do Liverpool com 64 pontos e isola-se do Everton (5º), United (6º) e Arsenal (7º). O que se segue? No próximo domingo dia 23 de abril, o City enfrenta o Arsenal em Wembley nas semifinais da FA Cup. Os homens de Guardiola, procuram por um lugar na final da Copa da Inglaterra. No dia 27 de abril é dia de derby, na Premier League. O City recebe o United, no Etihad.

Os gols de Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sané e Sergio Aguero, garantiram os três pontos em casa dos Saints.

Crônica da partida

Man City 3-1 Hull

AGUERO Gol contra Hull

City vence o Hull de forma confortável, no Etihad!

O Manchester City conquista três pontos, num agradável jogo de futebol no Etihad!