Man United will be facing an in-form City team

FOR the away team in the clash at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium tomorrow, a draw will be perceived by many as a sort of victory.

That is just how far Manchester United have fallen in the English Premier League.

Defeat for Erik ten Hag’s chargers, and by a particularly large margin, could well bring a premature end to his reign as Old Trafford boss.

It’s gotten that bad. Unless ten Hag’s squad of players, reportedly the most expensively assembled side in the world, gathers themselves and makes a real fist of it tomorrow, he’ll be again answering annoying press conference questions.Man United fans will be hoping Fernandes can inspire his team to victory against Guardiola’s Citizens. — ReutersMan United fans will be hoping Fernandes can inspire his team to victory against Guardiola’s Citizens. — Reuters

How often has he been asked about where it went wrong, why it went wrong, how it went wrong, and who went wrong? This list is long.

To get a clearer insight, ask any of their fans, particularly those who say they know about football and know their club.

Indeed, there won’t be too many Red Devils banking on a win tomorrow, and rightly so.

A draw would be a satisfactory result, given Manchester United’s form and where they are on the log.

Of course, their die-hards would argue that the defeat to Fulham came after four straight league wins and that they set the ship right with the FA Cup victory in midweek.

There might be some substance to that, but coming against an in-form Man City side, who for all intents and purposes are locked in with the title as their sole goal, they don’t appear to have much chance.

Casemiro’s winner against Nottingham Forest in the Cup tie three days ago was a fortunate escape for the Red Devils.

Against City, they will need to be more industrious, and skipper Bruno Fernandes might want to lead his team by example.

There is no doubt that the Portuguese midfielder can perform at the highest level. What he needs to do is perform at that level consistently, if only to inspire those around him, most of whom have been underperformers.

Pep Guardiola doesn’t have the problem his counterpart, ten Hag, has.

And that’s partly because the Citizens squad is a well-drilled machine that churns out goals just as they are expected to.

Erling Haaland’s five-goal salvo in their 6-2 win over Luton Town in the Cup tie in midweek is evidence of that.

And ten Hag might want to pay more attention to the Norwegian lad and focus less on complaining about Fernandes being targeted, as he did after the Forest game.

But those won’t be Manchester United’s only worries. There will be more of that.

The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez, Phil Foden and Rodri have all been in good form lately and will be itching to take down their cross-town rivals, who labelled them the “Noisy Neighbours”.

One gets the feeling that the Man City changing room will be a lot noisier tomorrow than the away team’s.

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