The Mancunion

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Derby Day delights, but Borussia Mönchengladbach await

Manchester City were 2-1 winners in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, and now face a tough game in the Champions League

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It’s all go at Manchester City—just as derby day has finished, City look forward to yet another fixture. This time the Champions League awaits, but before we look at that, let us take a little trip back to Saturday afternoon when City won the bragging rights and defeated their other Manchester side. Here are four big talking points of the match.

Bravo, bravo!

Claudio Bravo had a bit of a struggle on his first game for City as Zlatan Ibrahimović scored due to a howler from the goalkeeper. Bravo found himself between a Stones and a hard place, as he came out and ran into his own player John Stones, flapped at the ball, and let the Swede score. You would think that the City fans would be livid with the goalkeeper, but he managed to win their hearts back later in the game when he kicked a hole in Wayne Rooney’s stomach and managed to not get sent off.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Marx Clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg channelled his inner Karl Marx during the Manchester derby, as he tried to spread the decisions evenly between the two sides. Wayne Rooney should have probably seen red for an accumulation of fouls, and City perhaps should have had a penalty after Erik Bailly came in through the back of Nicholas Otamendi in the penalty box. But this was counteracted with the fact that Claudio Bravo should have seen red for almost killing Wayne Rooney, and United had another penalty shout when the ball hit Otamendi on the elbow in the second half. I personally think that the Otamendi ‘handball’ and the City penalty shout are clutching at straws, but maybe you think otherwise—you are wrong.

Dig Deep for Silva

David Silva has been arguably—if you are an imbecile trying to argue against this point—the best attacking midfielder in the Premier League since he joined City way-back-when. With that in mind, it was perhaps a surprise for many when Pep Guardiola started the Spaniard a little deeper than usual in the derby. Kevin de Bruyne has been fabulous for the Blues since joining last season, and looked set to take Silva’s place in the team this year, but Guardiola has found a new lease of life for Silva in a deeper role. His vision is put to excellent use, and his mind is always three steps ahead, meaning City’s attacks can begin quicker. Do not get me wrong, he is not going to suddenly turn into Nigel de Jong and start sliding into big tackles, but playing deeper than de Bruyne, and still further forward than Fernandinho, seems to suit him well.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Man of the Match

A few names are in the running: Fernandinho stopped any danger, David Silva (see above), or Nicholas Otamendi gave a defensive ‘lesson’ according to Guardiola—but Kevin de Bruyne was unfazed against the local rivals and takes the crown. He assisted Kelechi Iheanacho with his goal, after striking the post, and scored a fantastic goal early on, sending David de Gea the wrong way. It was not just this though—he later hit the post again and was a general menace all day.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Glad-To-Be-Bach

City may have bragging rights after a great performance, but now they must go out and face their German opposition in their first Champions League (proper) match of the season. Pep Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference that City’s group is tough because of Barcelona’s inclusion, but also especially because of Monchengladbach’s. Although City saw off Monchengladbach last season, Guardiola does not have the best of records against them, and highlighted their bravery in how they play, their aggression, and somewhat similar style of play for this. Their keeper plays similar to how Pep likes his keepers to play (like a midfielder with bigger hands), and they attack in numbers. This could be tougher than you think.

Fitness

Gündoğan and Kompany are on the mend, and everyone else is fit. Doubtful either will feature yet though.

Sterling Performance

Raheem Sterling played spectacularly in this fixture last season, as he scored twice in the 4-2 win, and now that he is back in scintillating form, he could do something similar again. In the Champions League pre-match press conference, he said that he felt a lot of the criticism he got last year was unfair, but now he blocks out criticism and just plays football. He highlighted how Pep Guardiola’s phone call during the Euros was a big help for him, and so is the competition in the team—this will be a very interesting season for the young England international.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Prediction

City 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

City’s defence are shy of clean-sheets at the moment, and yet are playing very well, so surely it is time for one! Can only see a City win.