Old foes Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are set to reignite their rivalry when Manchester City visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Saturday in a match that could hand the winners a crucial early advantage in the Premier League title race.
You can watch Manchester United vs. Manchester City live online through the streaming links provided right here.
— Jíthu (@VivaMourinho) September 5, 2016
Only 3-matches-old in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United already look like a different beast this season. Having invested in the spine of the team by bringing in Ibrahimovic, Pogba, and Bailly, the Portuguese coach has managed not only to lift the spirit of the United faithful, but he also seems to have made the acquisitions necessary to change the dour, risk-averse approach often employed by United’s previous manager, Louis van Gaal.
However, Mourinho wouldn’t be getting carried away just yet, and the first derby of the season will provide him and United’s fans crucial insights into the development of the team. City have themselves strengthened substantially during the summer, and with Pep Guardiola now at the helm at the Etihad, Mourinho will know that winning the game on Saturday could boost his team’s chances of taking an important early lead in the title race — even if only psychologically at this stage.
United have so far won all three matches, with new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic being on the score sheet in two of the games. The Swede has previously played for Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, but the two infamously ran into a bitter feud that resulted in the striker being loaned out after spending just one year with the Catalans. Later, in his autobiography, Zlatan went on to describe Pep as “a spineless coward,” and in the pre-match interview, a pumped-up Ibrahimovic appeared intent on leaving his mark in his first ever Premier League derby.
“For me, the big games are the ones that trigger you. They’re the games everyone speaks about.
“I have played in many derby games, I’ve played in El Clasico, the Inter-Milan derby, Ajax and Feyenoord, which was the big one there, and PSG-Marseille. I have played in all of them, the only one I missed was this one.
“This is coming on Saturday and I am very well prepared, confident and focused, and there is a lot of hard work behind that. We are prepared and we are ready. We just wait for the game now.”
Speaking before the game, Jose Mourinho was keen to stress that the absence of City front-man Sergio Aguero, who has been banned for elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid in City’s last game, will have major implications, but instead of making the game easier for United, he reckons it will make it more difficult, according to Sky Sports.
“When Aguero is available we know that Aguero plays. We know their formation and what their dynamic is. Nobody has doubts. When a player like him is ready he plays. At this moment he doesn’t play.
“They have a very rich squad full of options and now Guardiola can have many different decisions. One thing is if he decides to play with Iheanacho. Another thing is if he decides to play with Sterling. Another one is for example if he decides to play with Silva as a fake number nine in between the lines.”
As much as that might be a shrewd reading of the game from Mourinho’s point of view, it also brings into focus the Portuguese manager’s affinity for mind games before the big games. Whether or not it helps him in Manchester United’s game against on City on Saturday, we will have to wait and see.
Mourinho also has a full squad to choose from, with all United players having returned from the international break unscathed. Both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marouane Fellaini have recovered from thigh and back injuries respectively, Mourinho told MUTV, with him confirming that the former might also play some role in the derby.
“Everybody is available. It’s not the same as if we were here all week and working, resting and not travelling, but there are no injuries and everybody has returned safely and on time for at least one training session. Everybody is ready and wants to play, of course.”
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 9, 2016
You can watch Manchester United vs. Manchester City through the streaming links provided at the end of this article.
Very much like his counterpart, Pep Guardiola has had a good beginning to his Premier League season — and indeed his career in England — with the Spaniard having managed to win his first three games in charge of Manchester City. His team have already scored nine goals in three league games so far, and Pep’s penchant for possession play is beginning to make a commanding presence at City.
Even so, Guardiola will be aware that City’s visit to Old Trafford presents his biggest challenge yet, especially with Mourinho having plenty of experience in churning out results in Premier League’s big games. Compared to that, Pep is still a newbie in England, and despite having assembled a team of potential stalwarts at the Etihad, there is little guarantee that his team will be able to thwart United in the short-term.
Pep’s summer acquisitions are evidence of his principled ideology of focusing on the long-term, with most of his new signings — including John Stones, Leroy Sane, and Gabriel Jesus — very much still in the beginning of their careers. It presents a sharp contrast to Mourinho’s summer outlay at United, which has seen some world-renowned talents arriving in Manchester.
One of them, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is already making his towering presence felt in the Premier League, and despite his acrimonious relationship with Pep, the Spaniard praised the striker’s qualities ahead of Saturday’s derby.
“There’s no doubt about Ibrahimovic’s quality. have a lot of respect for what Zlatan has done for football.
“He’s one of the best players and of course the best players impact the way they arrive in the clubs with the talent immediately. Some players have to understand the league – the best players do it quickly and he’s one of the best ones.”
Guardiola will be without the suspended Sergio Aguero, but new goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is in line to make his debut on Saturday. The derby will come too soon for City center-back Vincent Kompany, however, with the Belgian still recovering from the thigh and groin injury he sustained at the back end of last season. With the pairing of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi faring well so far in the first three games, Pep will be hopeful his center-half partnership will be able to stop Ibrahimovic and co. while also hoping that City’s attacking players can create some early pressure at United.
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) September 9, 2016
Live streaming links
The Manchester United vs. Manchester City game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. (UK) and 7:30 a.m. (EST). Fans in the United Kingdom can tune into Sky Sports 1 (Watch Sky for live streaming option) to watch the game live online, while U.S. soccer enthusiasts can tune into NBC Sports, with the live streaming option being available here. Fans hoping to catch the match from the Indian subcontinent can tune into Star Sports 4 or Star Sports Select HD at 5:30 p.m., with the live streaming options being available on Hotstar for premier customers.
If you want to catch the Manchester United vs. Manchester City match live online without having to pay subscription fees, you can do so by clicking here.
[Photo by Michael Steele and Chris Brunskill/Getty Images]