Revealed: Pep Guardiola's five-point plan to win the Manchester derby
Despite Jose Mourinho's belief that his cunning plan will ensure victory for Manchester United in tomorrow's 12.30pm kick-off, Manchester City boss Guardiola has other ideas.
Having seen the strategy devised by Mourinho to take all three points in tomorrow afternoon's crunch clash, Guardiola has come up his own scheme to triumph in the Manchester derby:
1. Start Yaya Toure
It is literally the last thing Mourinho, or anyone else for that matter, would expect. Having found no room for the Ivorian powerhouse in his Champions League squad, it seemed that Toure's time at the Etihad was coming to an acrimonious end. What better way to motivate the midfielder than seemingly disregard his abilities before plunging him into the biggest game of the season so far? In fairness to Yaya, he knows a thing or two about scoring big goals against City's fiercest rivals:
Genius management from the former Barcelona coach.
2. Come out in Bayern Munich jerseys
What better way to befuddle your opponents than make them think they're playing in a Champions League tie? The Munich red will allow City attackers to swarm United defenders who won't know which players to tackle.
The fact that the game is on a Saturday may count against Guardiola on this particular part of his plan but if Mourinho's Chelsea ploy goes ahead, this could be key for the Citizens.
3. Convince Sterling to defect to Jamaica
Raheem Sterling has looked like a world-beater in City's opening three Premier League ties, while his England form represents more of an egg-beater. Having been born in Jamaica, the winger pledged his international allegiance to England many years ago.
However, Pep is hoping he can charm the powers that be into letting Sterling defect after winning the player over. The Spaniard fears that the new England team diet of gravy and sausage rolls could be extremely detrimental in the 21-year-old's development.
4. Disguise Sergio Aguero as Richard Wright
Despite retiring this summer, forgotten City keeper Wright still lurks around the club's bench on matchdays as a matter of pure habit. Having sent the 38-year-old on a sun holiday as a 'retirement present' this week, Guardiola has got a team of the world's best make-up artists working round the clock on banned striker Aguero.
The Argentine will have to wear several pairs of insoles in his boots to ensure he comes close to Wright's height but Guardiola is confident the disguise will go unnoticed. As for throwing on your retired third-choice keeper up front for the last half-hour in the Manchester derby, who has ever questioned the Spaniard's tactical innovations before?
There's only one reason Aguero has been growing that beard
5. Emergency Messi loan
It was reported this week that Lionel Messi dyed his hair bleach blonde as part of a 'new beginning'. In fact, it was as a favour to former manager Guardiola as he attempts to push through an emergency loan for the Argentine wizard.
Despite missing out on Argentina's World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, Messi is expected to be fit for both the Manchester derby (12.30pm) and Barcelona's 7.30pm kick-off against Alaves in La Liga on Saturday. Expect to see a brown-haired Messi lining out for City on Saturday afternoon before the bleach-blonde version returns for Barca on Saturday evening, as Guardiola tries not to upset neither his former club nor the Argentinean FA.