Betfair Ambassador Graeme Le Saux gives his verdict on the Manchester derby and he thinks United can close the gap on the league leaders...
"The outcome of this game could change the look of the league table quite dramatically and all credit to Man Utd for putting themselves in that position; especially when you consider how good City’s start to the season has been."
For me, this hinges on the fact that Man Utd feel like they have to win games now; they need to carry forward the feeling that they took into the game at the Emirates last weekend. They must be committed to playing the brand of attacking football that they've resurrected from the beginning of the season in the last few fixtures. I thought they were much more tactically astute against Arsenal, working with the split strikers paid dividends for them and it could be beneficial to do the same again on Sunday.
It's a real shame that Paul Pogba will miss this game, I've said all season that if you can unlock his potential then you've got a team that can challenge for the title. The fact that he won't be on the pitch changes a lot and it must be so frustrating for the manager. One of Man City's main strengths is the way they thread the ball through midfield and without Pogba in the side we may see Jose work to disrupt that by deploying Herrera alongside Matic. I think we'll see them try to wrestle control of the game early on but perhaps not be as aggressive as they were against Arsenal.
The only result that suits United on Sunday is a win and even without Pogba, they're fully capable of getting all three points. I was really impressed with both Martial and Lingard last week and perhaps this match offers the platform for Romelu Lukaku to kick on after scoring his first goal in five matches against CSKA Moscow in midweek.
The outcome of this game could change the look of the league table quite dramatically and all credit to Man Utd for putting themselves in that position; especially when you consider how good City's start to the season has been. Another positive they can carry into this is their oppositions recent run of 2-1 victories; this is in stark contrast to the cricket scores they were putting up at the beginning of the campaign. You get a sense perhaps that teams might be starting to figure them out.
There are so many positives I could run through surrounding Pep Guardiola's side but I've been really pleased to see Raheem Sterling deliver what he promised at Liverpool. He seems to be more calm when in possession and all he needs now is to hone his final ball as his overall skill-set has the potential to put him up there with the elite.
David Silva is another who has come to the fore in recent weeks and I often think he goes unfairly unnoticed, simply because he's so consistent. He exerts so much influence on their overall game and it's very easy to take him for granted. It must be a joy to be with that group of players every week, to learn and feel encouraged to try new things within an environment that is brimming with creativity.
Whatever the outcome on Sunday, it has to be about what happens on the pitch, both Jose and Pep are huge characters that demand a lot of focus but I think this could be another Mourinho moment. Whether that's because I want United to win to open up the title race is up for debate but I do think they have the pieces to make life really difficult for a City side that have perhaps looked a little tired in recent weeks.
Back Man Utd to win 2-1 v Man City @ 11/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Graeme Le Saux on Match of the Day bias row
I’ve worked on Match of the Day on a few occasions and it’s a difficult programme to get the balance of analysis right because you get such a limited time to get your points across. They have to cover all the games and even when it comes to a match like Man Utd v Arsenal last week that was hugely entertaining, you have to compromise and inevitably there’ll be things that are left out.
In addition, not knowing the running order of the games can make things tricky as you can end up spending the most time preparing analysis for a match that ends up being one of the last. I do appreciate how that can add up to fan discontent but accusing those reviewing the games of being bias is unfair given the circumstances.
What I would say however is that I don’t think ex-players should be referring to their former clubs as ‘we’ and ‘us’. As an analyst you need to present a fair judgment on both sides as supporters will otherwise use it as an excuse to be critical.