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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Manchester United should learn from their stunning comeback

City's setback gives hope to Premier League rivals

Paul Pogba celebrates United's win in the Manchester derby
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Five things we learned from the weekend

1 United should play on the front foot more often
Manchester United's sensational second-half comeback success at Manchester City should be the blueprint for how Jose Mourinho sets about next season with the Old Trafford giants.

United, totally outclassed in the first period, were on the front foot out of necessity when chasing down City 2-0's advantage but the way they spoiled the title party offered hope of a more meaningful campaign next term.

To challenge for the title Mourinho needs to unleash his main attacking gems Paul Pogba, who scored twice at the Etihad, and Alexis Sanchez, who had his best game in a United shirt in the derby.

United looked a thrilling side as they chased down Crystal Palace last month and that style seems to suit their better players, who don't do a particularly good job of shutting down the opposition anyway.

2 City can be caught next season
The derby defeat will have hurt City but it won't change the fact that Pep Guardiola's side are going to clinch the Premier League. They are already odds-on favourites for next season too.

However, United and Liverpool have scored three goals against City in the same week, which must give the rest hope of making inroads for next season.

Too many teams have been beaten by City before the game has started and most have just sat back waiting to lose.

Opposition managers have hopefully realised attack is the best form of defence against this City side and being brave, although potentially leaves you more open to a thrashing, can also unsettle a team who have had not been tested enough at the back this season. 

3 Absentees are hurting Leicester's European bid
Seventh will be good enough for Europa League qualification this season unless Southampton win the FA Cup but Leicester's hopes of a return to continental competition are not being helped by a midfield injury crisis.

Claude Puel's side were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle on Saturday with Under-23 captain Hamza Choudhury replacing the injured Vicente Iborra.

Matty James and Daniel Amartey are also sidelined, while Wilfred Ndidi is suspended for Saturday's potentially decisive fixture at seventh-placed Burnley, who are six points superior to City.

4 Stoke are scrapping for survival
It looks bleak for 19th-placed Stoke who have four points to find in the scrap for survival as well as the Premier League's worst goal difference, but there were positive signs in their unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Tottenham at the bet365 Stadium.

Going toe-to-toe with Spurs should stand them in good stead for the run-in which, with the exception of a trip to Anfield, looks a lot more comfortable than their recent fixtures.

West Ham away is next for Paul Lambert's side, who also host Burnley and Crystal Palace before a final-day visit to Swansea.

5 Bolton are being dragged into dogfight
With Burton, BirminghamSunderland and Barnsley all picking up points Bolton needed for to put in a strong performance at Derby - instead they were beaten 3-0.

Bolton also lost 1-0 at home to ten-man Birmingham on Tuesday without registering a shot on target and face playoff-chasing Millwall on Tuesday before a crunch clash against Barnsley. 

The Tykes are two points worse off but they are playing much the better football, as highlighted by their thrilling 3-2 triumph over Sheffield United and they look the better bet to stay up.

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Leicester's hopes of a return to continental competition are not being helped by a midfield injury crisis
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