Gary Neville sets out how Manchester United could beat high flying City

West Ham United v Leicester City - Premier League

This weekends Manchester derby is set to be the biggest game of the season so far as Manchester United look to haul in their high flying neighbours.

City have been in scintillating form so far, dropping just two points all season but city rivals United will be desperate to bring that unbeaten streak to a shuddering halt at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday evening.

Sadly for United however, they will have to do without the services of midfield maestro Paul Pogba who was given his marching orders in the latter stages of the Red Devils away win over Arsenal. When fit, the French international has been an integral part of United's system and there is no doubt that he will be sorely missed in such a monumental tie.

Without Pogba to orchestrate the midfield, it will be interesting to see how United manager Jose Mourinho approaches the game. While his plans worked an absolute treat against Arsenal, Pogba played a big role in ensuring those plans came to fruition.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, while admitting that Pogba will be a big miss, feel that Mourinho still has a couple of options that could see his side paint Manchester red come Sunday night.

"I was excited by what I was watching in the first 20 minutes against Arsenal, the counter-attacking was fantastic. (Jesse) Lingard, (Anthony) Martial and (Romelu) Lukaku were brilliant, and you could see a little bit how (Nicolas) Otamendi or (Vincent) Kompany could get caught. You could see how that tactic could work in the Manchester derby," Neville said.

"Pogba makes a big, big difference. So when they went to Anfield, they couldn't connect the deep defence to the midfield and into attack. He connects that, he links it, with those runs forward and his composure on the ball.

"It was a cloud over a very good day for United because he is such an important player in the connection between the front and the back.

"The composure he shows travelling with the ball, you see West Ham when they were deep with 20 minutes to go, they didn't have anybody that could travel with the ball, past (Kevin) De Bruyne and (David) Silva.


"You think about Pogba, he would beat De Bruyne and Silva with the ball at his feet and break that line. Once you break that line you're onto the weakness, you're onto those two centre-backs with Lukaku and Martial.

"City is a big game to not have Pogba. The person who can break the line is gone, but Jose Mourinho will be looking at how he can do it differently.

"I was trying to think myself what Jose will be thinking. Do you play split strikers with Martial and Lukaku? City bring their full-backs in narrow while two centre-backs push up the pitch, [so United could] just leave two strikers stretched wide and you play three central midfielders and five at the back, and say to City that's what we'll do, trust that the front two will get into those areas."

One thing that you simply can not doubt, is that Jose will have a plan, with or without Pogba.

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