Can Martinez stop Haaland from scoring in the Manchester derby?

Lisandro Martinez cracked the retention code Erling Haaland more than 90 minutes quiet. When Manchester United defender plays for Ajax in the 4-0 of last October Champions League victory over Haaland’s Borussia Dortmundthe Argentina International working in tandem with defense partners Jurrien Wood to neutralize the threat of the man currently tearing the Premier League apart with City of Manchester.

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Haaland had a chance to score at the Johan Cruyff Arena, but Martinez and Timber’s defense – coupled with coach Erik ten Hag’s tactical planning – ensured that the game ended with Haaland taking a toll on Haaland. , for him, has become a rare thing to fail. score.

Nearly 12 months later, Martinez and Haaland will face each other again on Sunday when Ten Hag’s United travel to the Etihad for the first Manchester derby of the season. Both are in the early stages of their careers at their new clubs following the summer transfer window, and both are two of the stellar newcomers involved. Premier League this season. Although there will be several key battles that affect the outcome of Sunday’s game, the match between Martinez and Haaland is expected to be the most decisive.

If Martinez, maybe with the help of a defensive partner Raphael Varane, can enjoy another 90 minutes without Haaland scoring, then the prospect of beating Pep Guardiola’s side of Man United will be much greater. However, Haaland is proving an almost unstoppable form in a Man City shirt.

In 10 matches in all competitions for his new club, the 22-year-old has scored 14 goals and only Bournemouth – yes, Bournemouth, who lost 9-0 at Liverpool – prevented him from scoring in a competitive match. And even without scoring in City’s 4-0 win over the Cherries, he still registered an assist, looking to make a significant contribution.

In theory, Haaland vs. Martinez must have been an inappropriate match. The Man City striker is just 6 feet 4 and has the build of a heavyweight boxer, while Martinez is only 5 feet 9 and relatively light, but what he lacks in a physical advantage, for sure. The 24-year-old has made up for it. in his tenacity and ability to read the game. After playing together Harry Maguire in United’s opening two defeats Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford In the Premier League, Martinez’s height – or lack of it – has been pointed out by several respected former players as a problem preventing him from becoming a success in English football.

“I believe this can’t work because of his size [Martinez] play in a four-man formation, “former Liverpool and England Defender Jamie Carragher speaks after United lost 2-1 to Brighton and 4-0 to Brentford. “Maybe he can play at left-back, can play as a three-back, but as a full-back he can’t play there in the Premier League.

“He passes the ball very well, he looks aggressive. He looks like a leader. He’s not a bad player, but to play at the 5-foot-9 level of football I wouldn’t want to. playing with a 5 year old newbie. -foot-9 at center back.”

Short stature is not necessarily an important disadvantage for a striker like Haaland. After all, the Norwegian doesn’t discriminate against certain types of defenders – he scores goals against all of them, whether they’re big, small, fast or slow.

Former United defender Jaap Stam, a member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Treble-winning side in 1999, believes Martinez has proven he has the qualities to dispel the stereotype that small defenders I cannot succeed in the Premier League. Stam told the Manchester Evening News: “It was an easy one, on the day that he signed for United I said they would talk about his height.” “Here [in England]Everyone thinks that as a centre-back, you need to be big and tall, otherwise you won’t get through.

“Of course, sometimes he will be taken by surprise, but that’s what happens with the big players – they make mistakes too. Martinez shows his quality on the ball, he shows his quality on the ball. defensively and communicating around him is very good. He just has to keep going.”

In the match against Dortmund, Martinez and Timber shared defensive duties as they made their mark for Haaland. At 5 feet 10, Timber also lacked the height and strength to counter the striker, but with one defender flopping around while the other closed in on Haaland, Ajax were able to stop him from scoring.

At 6 feet-3, France The Varane international will bring United and Ten Hag a combination of height, power and speed against Man City, which will make for an intriguing confrontation between Man City’s scoring machine and relations. United’s growing central defensive partner.

But while Sunday will clearly be a test of the Martinez-Varane axis, it will also be a challenge for Haaland, who are yet to face one of the Premier League’s so-called Big Six in a single game. compete this season. In the Community Shield loss to Liverpool in August – a match not considered a competitive one – Haaland cut a disappointing figure against Virgil van Dijk and failed to score in the 3-1 loss. Haaland’s most significant contribution in that match was the opening goal from 3 meters in injury time.

The way Haaland takes on United will be an interesting highlight for the coming months. If City’s supply of star strikers is reduced when facing top teams, Guardiola’s men may not be as formidable as they have been against many weaker teams in the Premier League.

Haaland is certainly a scoring phenomenon and stopping him will be United’s top target this weekend. In Martinez, however, at least they have a defender who knows how to do it.


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