Kanchelskis: Manchester derby is a must-win game for United

Mourinho identifies three key positions to strengthen in £80m January spree

Mourinho is ready to strengthen

Given that the third season of Mourinho often heralds downturn, disturbance and closure, this season would appear to be his big chance at Manchester United.

"It's a must-win game".

"I would have been more confident of United ending City's run of successive Premier league wins, which now stands at 13, had Paul Pogba been available but I am convinced we will see goals at Old Trafford in what promises to be a wonderful end to the weekend action", Owen told BetVictor. Victory would also see Pep Guardiola's team open up an 11-point gap at the top of the table.

The Russian winger is still well-remembered at Old Trafford having achieved cult hero status as part of Sir Alex Ferguson's title-winning sides and scoring a derby hat-trick in 1994.

The arrival in Manchester of the two pre-eminent managers of the age stoked the embers of a bitter personal rivalry that had crackled with blistering intensity during the two years they spent in opposing camps in Spain.

"But we will see in December who is best - Mourinho or Guardiola". Playing expansively plays right into City's hands and would be very unlike Mourinho, anyway.

A grim 0-0 draw left both teams locked in a battle for fourth place as Antonio Conte's Chelsea streaked towards glory.

One of the more freakish aspects of Manchester City's unbeaten start to the Premier League is the fact that Everton, one of the big disappointments this season, is the only team to take points off Pep Guardiola's runaway leaders after a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium in August.

Seven months on City look nearly transcendent, their sublime and devastatingly effective possession football reminiscent of Guardiola's great Barcelona team.

United might not offer much going forward with the absence of Pogba, but they won't risk much in midfield defending against the likes of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho on Sunday. Despite being on the sidelines himself, Pogba believes that United can win the derby.

That's because of his straight red card in last weekend's 3-1 win over Arsenal.

United have an embarrassment of numbers in the role behind Romelu Lukaku (who just gets the nod on account of Zlatan Ibrahimovic being yet to score since his return) and while Jose Mourinho struggles with who to pick from Rashford and Martial, we have no such issue so we can pick them both.

"United will be confident going into the game because of what has happened this weekend for City, even though it has been a good week for City too, as they've scored three late winners and have taken maximum points".

It is a look Guardiola knows all too well and its reappearance indicates the biggest managerial rivalry of recent times is about to erupt again.

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