Man Utd have their own ‘Ramos’ as mouthwatering Man City clash nears
Man Utd and ten Hag face manic 42-day period
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Manchester United have their own Sergio Ramos in the form of Lisandro Martinez ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, according to Paul Parker. The Argentina international joined from Ajax back in the summer transfer window. And, though he experienced a difficult start to the season, he’s since bounced back to become one of the first names on Erik ten Hag’s team sheet.
Manchester United scouts suggested Ten Hag sign Pau Torres back in the summer, believing the Villarreal star would be tailor-made for life at Old Trafford.
However, the Red Devils ended up recruiting Martinez from Ajax instead after their new manager made it clear he wanted a reunion with the centre-back.
After a shaky start in defeats to Brighton and Brentford, the Argentina international has responded by becoming an undroppable figure at the back.
He’s been able to keep Harry Maguire on the bench at a time where the England international is struggling for form.
And former United star Parker, who won the Premier League title during his spell at Old Trafford, thinks Martinez can be compared to Ramos due to his impressive partnership with Raphael Varane.
Speaking to Betfred TV ahead of Sunday’s epic clash, he said: “Yes, the fans would definitely take a draw, but the main thing for Manchester United is the performance.
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“Don’t be overwhelmed, don’t be overrun and don’t be embarrassed by Manchester City.
“Manchester United need to go there and try and get something. I’d love to see what happens if they get the first goal.
“The same back four has to start this match.
“If they want to go there and get something then they can’t keep messing around with the defence.
“Raphael Varane is going to want to play every game now and Martinez has been a revelation since he’s arrived.
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“For Varane, Martínez is the Sergio Ramos he had at Real Madrid. That warrior next to him.”
Martinez failed to make much of an impact when United lost 2-1 to Brighton in their opening Premier League match, with Pascal Gross scoring twice.
He then endured a horrific afternoon as the Red Devils were battered 4-0 by Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium.
But, in the time since, Martinez has responded.
He’s starred in key wins over rivals such as Arsenal and Liverpool, managing to keep the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Salah quiet during those contests.
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And he’s also helped United keep clean sheets in victories over the likes of Leicester, Southampton and Sheriff in the time since.
Against City, Martinez will go up against Erling Haaland – who has already netted 14 goals for the reigning Premier League champions this term.
And Chris Sutton, writing for the Daily Mail, thinks it’ll be a fascinating battle when the two teams step out at the Etihad.
“You don’t imagine 5ft 9in Martinez will be marking 6ft 4in Erling Haaland at corners in Sunday’s Manchester derby,” he said.
“The photographers will be trying their hardest to show how one towers over the other.
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“But for all that the United defender’s height has been highlighted, you have to be impressed with how he has bounced back from his initial struggles.
“He’s shown good aggression, as if he wants to let his critics know he can handle the Premier League.
“There is no greater challenge than Haaland, though, and this battle is one reason why Sunday’s derby will make for interesting viewing.”
United will be hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened at the Etihad in the same fixture last term.
They lost 4-1 under Ralf Rangnick, with Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez bagging braces to give Pep Guardiola’s side all three points.
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