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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Awesome Atlanta can sink City with another barnstorming display

United can capitalise on New York City's unconvincing big-game mentality

Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino
1 of 1

Sky Sports Football, 5.30pm Saturday

Atlanta reminded everyone why they lead the overall MLS standings with a sublime 3-1 victory over Philadelphia Union in their last league encounter and they can tighten their grasp on top spot by beating New York City.

United mustered 31 shots and had 75 per cent possession against nine-man Philadelphia as MLS top scorer Josef Martinez took his tally for the season to 12 goals with an impressive hat-trick.

It was their ninth league victory this year and, despite suffering two of their three defeats this season in their last six games, they can get the better of a City outfit who capitulated 4-0 against rivals NY Red Bulls on Thursday.

New York have netted in five of their last six league matches but defeats to Portland and Columbus and two heavy losses against their city rivals suggest they are lacking the psychological resolve to compete with stronger sides.

With Martinez prolific in the final third and City’s David Villa notching eight MLS goals this term, this game could be decided by the midfield battle and Atlanta have some valuable assets in the centre.

Jeff Larentowicz and Darlington Nagbe have been mainstays in the two holding midfield roles for United, allowing Miguel Almiron to emerge as one of the league’s best performers. The Paraguayan could be crucial in securing victory for the visitors.

Atlanta United
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United mustered 31 shots and had 75 per cent possession against nine-man Philadelphia
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