Manchester United’s run of nine games unbeaten may offer some fans greater confidence ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.
The Reds have a reasonable recent record against City, winning on two visits to the Etihad Stadium this season.
Other derby wins in recent memory have come away from home but United have lost all three home Premier League meetings with Pep Guardiola’s side, and were humbled 3-1 in the home leg of this season’s EFL Cup semi-final.
It’s clear Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have history on his side this weekend, so how does he plot a route past Guardiola at Old Trafford?
Why is it different at Old Trafford?
The stark contrast between the games at Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium is strange because City aren’t generally a team who adjust their approach depending on whether they’re at home or not.
Guardiola’s side dominate the ball regardless and United fans have become used to seeing their side play on the break against that possession style, at home and away.
City should feel more intimidated about playing their football at Old Trafford and perhaps the fact United are in good form will mean that the fans are at full voice this weekend, instead of having an air of trepidation.
Liverpool still look to have a psychological barrier about coming to Old Trafford, but if anything, City are developing the reverse.
They struggle to see off United on their own patch but Old Trafford holds no fear any more.
What can Solskjaer do?
Solskjaer would love to devastate City on the break early on like he did at the Etihad in December, but more patience may be needed on Sunday.
City will happily keep the ball and quieten the crowd, so Solskjaer’s gameplan needs to keep the crowd interested and loud at times too.
Slack defending like January’s EFL Cup semi-final won’t cut the mustard, when an abject display killed the tie within 45 minutes.
It will help Solskjaer that he has Bruno Fernandes to carry the fight this time around, but losing Marcus Rashford’s pace on the break is a huge blow for this game especially.
Ultimately, United need to have the resilience and patience of an away side, keep the crowd in the game and be ruthless when chances come their way.
That represents United’s best chance of a first home Premier League win over Pep Guardiola.
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