Could Pogba's ban be a blessing in disguise for Manchester United?

How Manchester United can beat Manchester City – even without Paul Pogba

Thrillingly, a championship was on the line (City's victory would put them top on goal difference, which is where they would conclude the campaign amid all that nail-biting drama just two games later).

With the Pep Guardiola model established, his squad packed with technically gifted and tactically aware devotees, City's level is set.

Mourinho, fresh off his feeling that Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger engaged in gamesmanship with the fitness of star striker Alexandre Lacazette, said he questioned the authenticity of City Manager Pep Guardiola's claims that David Silva is a doubt for this weekend. And he thinks United's history of playing attacking football is so important that he would have given old teammate Giggs the job when Ferguson retired in 2013. City's last three games, against West Ham, Southampton and Huddersfield, were all won 2-1 with a late goal and have all followed a similar pattern.

"Some games I am not happy", he said. Less happily still, the main thrust of that 10-point plan is that "he who has the ball has fear".

Further afield, a powerful City season also could have repercussions for an Arsenal side already in visible decline but also a Chelsea team perhaps coming to the end of the brief Antonio Conte era and even a Tottenham side that has begun to look more fragile and a little less likely in the past few weeks.

"There is the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup, League Cup and possibly national team duties as well".

Jose Mourinho Pep Guardiola
Pep and Jose use attackers in different ways

United scored 80 league goals on their way to the title in 1994 - 17 more than second-place Blackburn. The nature of Guardiola's philosophy means his side will always be vulnerable if you can get through the initial press.

United will be without Paul Pogba and while much has been made of this, I don't see it as a major setback for Mourinho. In his absence, United may have to go more direct, using Lukaku's aerial ability to win knockdowns for Anthony Martial and Lingard.

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 would be a surprise if United didn't choose to sit back, defend in numbers, and hit City on the break.

"I'm looking forward to this derby because it will be interesting because it is a different Man City now and a different Man United".

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