As far back as it was confirmed that Jose Mourinho would succeed Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford, September 10 has been a date scratched into the mind of all Red Devil’s supporters over the globe.
It’s a contention rich in history and account, stretching from the mid-1990s when Mourinho was part of Sir Bobby Robson‘s coaching team at the Camp Nou where Pep Guardiola played his football.
Both managers reunited in England’s Northwest following two fierce years managing two of LA Liga most successful clubs, where Mourinho put an end to Guardiola’s three seasons of La Liga dominance, United obviously trusted the feisty Portuguese boss could again get under the Guardiola’s skin.
But, now in the third seasons for their respective teams, Guardiola and Mourinho’s reign have rather seen a chasm open up with the Etihad outfit now the dominant side of the city.
The season before their entry, only City’s prevalent goal difference saw them pip United to fourth place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification.
In spite of a difficult first season for Guardiola in the Premier League, Manchester City completed that season with nine points ahead of Manchester United. Last season the comparing gap bounced to a record 19 between first and second place as Manchester City cavorted to the title with a record of 100 points.
Both Mourinho and Guardiola have met on 16 occasions, with the greater part of that fixture (11) happening when both are managing the Spanish teams. Guardiola holds a solid lead over his United adversary in straight on matches, winning the greater part of their meetings and scoring ten more goals over the course of those matches.
Intriguingly with the crucial derby clash on Sunday and Manchester City will be 12 points clear of the Red Devil with just 12 games into the new season, a gap that has gradually widened in each of the past three years.
Jose Mourinho three years at Old Trafford has been self-contradicting, as is expected. Dealing with a team of United’s stature isn’t simple and joy-free ride. But, Jose has given the red side of Manchester lot to be glad about, as grumblings of ‘appealing football’ wait around. It is advantageously overlooked how former managers of United have likewise faced such comparative obstacles, including Alex Fergusson.
In 2014 Guardiola hit out at Mourinho’s style of football stating: “The beauty of football depends on the coach. It seems to me that Mourinho prefers the result to the spectacle. I know to him that’s all that matters.”
However, United is a team that isn’t one of the majority; a comeback triumph against Manchester City last season kept Pep’s City from celebrating the Premier League success. The win against Juventus earlier in midweek appears to be an essential victory, and the remarkable comeback against Newcastle a few weeks ago probably restored Jose’s job.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has gotten the Blue City playing free-flowing and attacking football, with the defenders keeping up a high line, the strikers shoot freely and wingers can make runs that Jose would go ballistic about.
The results are glorious, convincingly beating teams in Europe and in the domestic league. Rising inquiries on Guardiola’s inclination for short-term activities can be the only confinement right now. With the Manchester derby on Sunday, the footballing world will witness another Mourinho versus Guardiola clash, the reality of the crucial derby will become obvious eventually.
The goal is clear though, a victory for Manchester United on Sunday will firmly push the Red Devil back to the top-four spot. While a win for the Cityzens will see them sit comfortably at the top of Premier League table. Circumstances are different though, and the rebuilding process at United since 2013 has been a long way from perfect.
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