In the latest Class of ’92 diary, ahead of the Manchester derby live on Sky Sports, Ryan Giggs discusses the importance of Romelu Lukaku and David Silva, Paul Pogba’s absence, and Manchester City’s chances of going the whole season unbeaten…
I don’t think Manchester City can go the whole season unbeaten. It is so difficult to do and has only been done once in the Premier League era.
It’s not impossible but I don’t think they will because of the quality of the teams around them; with Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool it would be very difficult.When Arsenal did it they had a lot of luck and didn’t have that quality of four or five teams who are capable of beating them, so I don’t think City will do it.
Silva’s service key
David Silva’s potential void is a huge one because when you’ve got one creative player to stop it is so much easier. We saw with United v Chelsea last year when they stopped Eden Hazard there was only going to be one winner.
If just Kevin De Bruyne is playing, even though I think he has been player of the season so far, you can put one man on him or stop the ball from getting to him.
But we saw last weekend with the quality they have and the understanding with that winning goal, that they’re so dangerous and when there’s two to stop it is very difficult.
You go a long way to stopping City by stopping Silva and De Bruyne, and if one of them is missing, even though Pogba is missing, Silva’s absence is arguably a bigger blow.
I think United have got a good chance on Sunday. Pogba’s absence is a blow. I thought he was brilliant against Arsenal, especially on the counter-attack, which is the way United might go here.
I think it is key that they get the crowd up. If they are just sat back and waiting for that counter-attack and City having all the ball then they could just miss a trick in getting players going and the atmosphere up.
So I’d like to see them go for it a bit at the beginning and then they are capable of just dropping back, defending and doing what they did against Arsenal.
Although again Pogba will be a big miss if they play that way because how Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku broke with him was really dangerous.
Lukaku’s link-up key
I think centre-forwards go through droughts and when you’re a Manchester United forward the scrutiny multiplies and that was always going to be the case.
I said at the start of the season Lukaku will be judged on the big games because he’ll score goals, there’s no doubt about that. The big games are what will define him as a being a really great United centre-forward.
I think he’s really important in this game because when he holds the ball up, like he did a couple of times against Arsenal, we’re a different team, whereas when it keeps coming back, like against Liverpool and Chelsea, when he wasn’t holding it up, it is just wave after wave of attacks.
Once he gets that hold up play the rest will come because he is a goalscorer. I was at the Champions League game on Tuesday night and he didn’t do a lot but his finish for his goal was really good, so that will give him a big lift because going into this game without scoring the pressure would have been even more.
Best in the business
Goalkeepers are always important, especially if you’re going for the Premier League, and you see the impact Ederson has had, where last year they had lots of problems.
Once you have that and you’re not worrying about the goalkeeper then the confidence goes right through the team and just gives you that confidence that if they do break the defence that you’ve got somebody like David de Gea getting you out of trouble.
He was unbelievable last weekend and I think he’s the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment. Consistency, pulling off outrageous saves and he hardly ever makes mistakes.
Super 6 predictions
Burnley 1-1 Watford
Crystal Palace 2-1 Bournemouth
Huddersfield 1-0 Brighton
Swansea 0-0 West Brom
Tottenham 2-0 Stoke
Wolves 2-0 Sunderland