Paul Merson thinks Man Utd are capable of ‘really hurting’ Man City as he has made his prediction for this weekend’s derby at Old Trafford.
United were battered 6-3 at the Etihad when they faced Man City in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
That was only Erik ten Hag’s seventh Premier League game in charge of Man Utd. It came amid their rollercoaster start to the season which included victories over Arsenal and Liverpool. They came after their defeats against Brighton and Brentford.
The Red Devils have managed to rebuild since that heavy Manchester derby loss as they have only been beaten once in their last 18 games across all competitions.
Their focus now switches back to the Premier League. They are currently five points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, who face Tottenham this weekend.
Paul Merson has predicted that City will draw 2-2 against United at Old Trafford.
United face Crystal Palace away after they host Man City and Merson feels that they will be ‘in the title race’ if they pick up four points from these two games.
‘This is a big game. Manchester City have a tight schedule – they’ll have to train on Friday and play on Saturday. This is the first time that United are playing against City for a long time when they couldn’t be playing any better. Man United are playing with a lot of confidence,’ Merson wrote for Sportskeeda.
‘You’d usually expect Manchester City to wipe the floor with United, but now, I don’t see how Manchester United don’t score. If they start this game the way Chelsea did last week, they’ll have a chance. If they change their game up and sit back, City will break them open.
‘Erling Haaland is an out-and-out striker – he didn’t touch the ball once in the first 20 minutes against Chelsea.
‘City’s players are told to get the ball in the box for him. If he doesn’t score, it starts to become a problem. Man City used to spread their goals across the team, and it was extraordinary. Teams will catch on, and they’ll start to stay tight with Haaland.
‘I think the next two games will tell you everything about Manchester United. If they get four points from their next two games, they’re in the title race. Two draws won’t be enough, however, and that just shows you how quickly things can change.
‘United have a better shape about them now. Fernandes looks like a completely different player again, and Rashford has taken it on himself to be the man – he’s playing the best football of his career.
‘Manchester United play good counter-attacking football and have the pace to really hurt City this weekend.’
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