I have a suspicion that Manchester United’s English rivals have watched United being somewhat embarrassed in Europe, and have thought to themselves – this is the way to beat United. Strong midfield that deprives United of possession and eradicates United’s wealth of wingers.
But beating United is something different to “finishing a Premier League season ahead of United”. To march through Everton, Bolton, Stoke Sunderland and many other grounds you need wingers. And you need combative centre-backs too, because many of these opponents play the long goal over the midfield.
So City may arrive on Derby day well prepared, tactically sound – with all the necessary weapons to beat United – but effectively out of the race.