Manchester derby could be game-changer for City
Manchester City might be sitting at the top of the Premier League, but an unsuccessful derby could be a game changer.
Alan Shearer believes Manchester United could be the victors of such a turf war.
"Yet some of the attacking football Manchester United produced at Arsenal on Saturday was as good as anything City have put on this season," he told The Sun.
The statement triggered the expected outrage on Twitter from those not of a red persuasion in Manchester.
"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 continued.
"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."
Stuart Brennan writing in the Manchester Evening News said the Blues looked to struggle against West Ham before finally grabbing three points.
"Manchester City looked like they had gone off the boil at exactly the wrong time, with a crunch Manchester derby looming.
"It seemed that the fires of the brilliant midfield pairing of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva had cooled at precisely the wrong time, and that the Blues' incredible unbeaten run was coming to an end.
"But after Nicolas Otamendi had poached a goal worthy of his Argentina teammate Sergio Aguero , those two conjured up a magical moment to win the game."
That made it 28 games unbeaten and also 13 Premier League wins on the bounce, equalling the record for consecutive wins with a season, jointly held by Arsenal (2001-02) and Chelsea (2016-17).
Ander Herrera issued a warning ahead of Sunday’s derby - claiming Manchester United are poised to hit top gear.
The Spaniard said: “We are going to find our best moment very soon.
“We are now second, we are chasing the top of the table.”
David de Gea and Jesse Lingard stood out against Arsenal in a game that was only soured by Paul Pogba’s red card, which means he will be suspended when City travel to Old Trafford.
He made an untoward remark about hoping City's players would get injured, but Guardiola is confident the France midfielder didn't mean it ahead of the derby at Old Trafford.
The City boss would like Paul Pogba to play in the derby and does not believe the influential United midfielder wants City stars to be struck down by injury.
United's chances of getting Pogba's three-match ban for treading on Hector Bellerin during Saturday's pulsating 3-1 win at Arsenal overturned appear remote, a significant blow for boss Jose Mourinho with Premier League leaders City next on the agenda domestically.