Alan Shearer has insisted that Manchester United need to beat Manchester City on Sunday to keep the title race alive this season.
Pep Guardiola’s side haven’t dropped a single point since Wayne Rooney scored at the Ethiad in a 1-1 draw.
A win for Man United against the league leaders would reduce the gap between the two sides to just five points.
And Shearer, writing in his column for The Sun, made it clear that Jose Mourinho’s men couldn’t afford to drop points on Sunday.
“But I was not saying they are as good as City because based on the consistent levels of performances this season so far, they have not been,” he said.
“What I am saying is that on an occasion like Saturday’s, away from home against an in-form Arsenal, at times they certainly were.
“So any thoughts City have of a runaway title success, leading to years of domination, must be tempered. United will be pursuing them and if they win the derby on Sunday it will really be game on.”
A task that already felt gargantuan has doubled in size after Paul Pogba’s red card over the weekend, but the entire spectacle should be seen as more enticing for that very reason.
There would be no greater galvanising force for Man United’s title challenge than ending Man City’s unbeaten run without their best player on the pitch. The belief it would send to the team, fans, and indeed rest of the watching world – that the seemingly infallible can, in fact, be beaten – could prove to be a defining moment in the title race.
But make no mistake: Mourinho will need to produce a classic tactical masterclass – one on par with the Nou Camp in 2010 and Anfield in 2014 – to outwit his nemesis and ignite the title race next weekend.