Manchester Derby: Rashford must start
Lee Sharpe tells Haresh Kumar young striker can fire United to a win over City
MAN UNITED v MAN CITY
(Tonight, 7.25pm, Singtel TV Ch 103 & StarHub TV Ch 228)
1 Is this one of the most intriguing Manchester Derbies in the history of the Premier League?
SHARPE: It's definitely going to be a great game even with Sergio Aguero banned.
Both managers have a 100 per cent start to the season and both teams are playing well.
It is definitely a clash of the titans as both teams will be out to get the win. It has potential to be one of the best matches ever witnessed in the Premier League.
2 Personally, who do you rate higher - Mourinho or Guardiola?
I actually admire both managers as both have different approaches to the game.
Like I've mentioned earlier, both teams are unbeaten and the managers will be expecting the best from their players.
What will decide the result is the tempo and intensity. Both teams will have to work really hard.
3 Do Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial deserve their starting spots in the United line-up? If they should be dropped, who should come in for them?
Rooney is not the player he once was, he is not playing as well as he would in the past, but he still deserves a starting spot because of his experience.
Eventually, I expect Henrikh Mkhitaryan to start instead of him.
Mkhitaryan is young, hungry and, since he is fairly new at the club, he will be itching to prove himself to Mourinho.
As for Martial, I think Marcus Rashford deserves a place in the starting line-up instead of the Frenchman.
Rashford has been on fire whenever he comes on and I feel he can do more if he's given more game time.
4 Who will be the key personnel for both teams?
For United, It has to be new signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. They are world-class players who can change the game with one magical moment.
As for City, I would say it's Raheem Sterling. Guardiola has accorded him more freedom and he looks full of confidence and that has translated into better performances on the field.
He is really quick and can sprint past any defender with ease. But his biggest problem is that his shot-on-goal is rather weak. He needs to improve on his finishing.
5 Can City overcome the absence of Aguero, who is suspended for this game? Who can step up for him?
Aguero is one of the best players in the world and I'm sure that City will miss him very much tonight. Yes, they still have players like Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, but they can't match up to his standard.
6 Do you expect to see new signing Claudio Bravo in goal for Man City?
Signing Bravo and getting rid of Joe Hart is actually a very interesting call by Guardiola.
He needs a different kind of goalkeeper, someone who can act as the last line of defence for the team, but Hart is just not strong in that area.
Fans have to trust Guardiola's judgment and it will be interesting to see how he performs if he starts tonight.
7 Do you expect a tactical game of chess, or both teams will go for the jugular from the first whistle?
I think City will go for a fast start with their high tempo.
They should dominate possession throughout the game, but I think that United will try to be tight in defence and strike on the counter-attack.
They have many players like Pogba, Martial, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera who can give City problems.
8 Who do you think will win, and why?
Man United have home advantage and City don't have Aguero.
I feel Mourinho should start Rashford who is great at running at the opposition's defence and creating chances for his teammates.
Rooney hasn't been at his best lately but, on his day, he can still score goals.
Ultimately, it is a tactical battle between Mourinho and Guardiola.
Man United will win 2-1.
- Lee Sharpe is a former Manchester United midfielder who made his debut for the Red Devils in 1988 and won three Premier League titles with the team. He played a total of 265 games for the Red Devils and scored 36 goals over eight years.
Cole: Swagger's back with Jose's devils
Jose Mourinho has injected the "fear factor" back to Old Trafford, said former Manchester United striker Andy Cole ahead of tonight's Derby with City.
"All the players are talking about what he (Mourinho) wants to win," said the forward who made 275 appearances for United from 1995 to 2001, before joining City late in his career.
"The few games we've had so far you can see the fear factor returning and that's what Manchester United are all about.
"These past few years, teams have gone to Old Trafford believing they can win.
"When you played under Sir Alex Ferguson, teams would just hope they wouldn't get beaten by five.
"Mourinho is bringing that back now and they're starting to look like the old United."
United, who finished fifth last season, won the last of their record 20 English league titles in 2013.
Former England international Cole likened Mourinho to the manager who bought him in 1995 for a then-British record £7 million ($12.6m).
"Jose has the same great aura about him as Sir Alex. Look at what he's done in the game - going to Italy and Spain and doing it out there - and now he's trying to emulate his phenomenal record in England."
Cole insists the rivalry between Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will have no bearing on the outcome of tonight's match.
The two successful managers locked horns in La Liga, at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, and much of the media attention ahead of the Old Trafford encounter has focused on the men on the touchline.
However, Cole has stressed it is the players on the pitch who will be the only ones to influence the result with the Citizens missing suspended leading scorer Sergio Aguero.
Cole, speaking at a Tag Heuer event at the Trafford Centre in Manchester on Thursday, was asked by MUTV what impact the two high-profile bosses will have at the weekend and replied: "After picking the teams, none.
"I've got to be brutally honest - playing for Sir Alex, he let you know that, once he picks his team, it's down to the players," said Cole.
"A lot has been made about the two managers not getting on as well as people would expect but, ultimately, it's about picking the best players for the derby game."
Aguero's ban is a big blow for the visitors while Marcus Rashford is pushing for inclusion in Mourinho's side after following up his late winner at Hull City with a hat-trick for England Under-21s against Norway in midweek.
"It's massive (for City's plans)," Cole said of Aguero's absence. "It's like saying Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) or Wayne Rooney can't play for United.
"Rashford has gone about his business nicely. He's answering questions, which is what you want him to do and it's a decision the manager has to make.
"Mourinho could turn around and play him because he knows what he can do. It'll be interesting if he does go in (to the team) at the weekend."
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Jose Mourinho's Manchester United take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City for the first time at Old Trafford tonight.
Press Association Sport assesses three key areas where the game could be won.
1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic v John Stones
Two players at opposite ends of their careers who have both started in impressive form. Ibrahimovic has experience on big derby days in Spain, Italy, France and Holland.
He will look to dominate the same territory Stones has to protect, and the aerial battle should be particularly important.
Stones has the licence to bring the ball forward under Guardiola but may have other priorities on this occasion.
2 Paul Pogba v David Silva
Whether or not the pair are in close proximity at all times, they will lead the respective battles for control of the midfield.
Pogba will cover more ground, using his long, easy strides to power forward and back, while Silva's modus operandi involves finding pockets of space and playing between the lines.
If either man manages to dictate his own terms, the result could follow close behind.
3 Raheem Sterling v Luke Shaw
The England pair spent most of the international break training together at St George's Park, so there should be no secrets.
Sterling has been reinvigorated by Guardiola's arrival at City and, when confident, is a tricky, rapid threat on the right flank.
Shaw is expected to be fit despite not travelling to Slovakia and can expect the most thorough examination of his fitness since returning from a year out.