The Etihad pitch has dimensions of 105 by 68 yards, but many expect the Manchester derby to be decided by the seven-inch difference between Erling Haaland and Lisandro Martinez.
Man City striker Haaland, a physical specimen at 6ft 4in, has scored 11 goals in seven Premier League appearances and defenders are yet to find an answer for the Norwegian’s generational talent.
In other words: Big Foot would struggle to contain Haaland, so what chance does Man United’s short 5ft 9in defender Martinez have?
That’s the narrative in most quarters ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby, despite the Argentina centre-back all but denying it in recent weeks.
He’s featured in a Red Devils defense that have conceded just two goals in their last four league games, but Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher is still unconvinced by Martinez.
“The best advice Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag can offer Lisandro Martínez on dealing with Erling Haaland is to steer clear of him,” the Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Some battles can be won by outplaying or outplaying an opponent. Other players need thought. Martínez needs to be at his best to get the better of arch-rivals Manchester City this weekend.
Carragher added: “There’s a lot to love about Martínez’s first appearances in a United shirt. The fans considered him a cult figure because he’s a natural warrior and leader.
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“But, in the long run, the reservations I had when seeing Martínez for the first time remain.
“He looks a bit too small to play centre-back in the Premier League. We saw when United struggled against Brentford – a game where Martínez was substituted at half-time – just how difficult he is for him if teams hit long balls into the penalty area to a striker relishing such a serve like Ivan Toney.
“There’s nothing you can do about a height disadvantage when you’re forced into continuous aerial challenges.”
When asked how to stop Haaland, Arsenal legend Martin Keown suggested Martinez has the right attitude but also questioned his physique.
Keown told talkSPORT: “In Martinez form they have that type of player, that contact player.
“But that’s if he’s big enough. That’s a lot to catch up on.
“He’s not going to push another foot until Sunday.
“I respect what Martinez is doing. He is a powerful man and he wants to prove that he is strong enough. He has that chance on Sunday.
However, this is not the former Ajax star’s first rodeo.
New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag and Martinez faced Haaland in the Champions League group stages last season.
The result? Martinez had Haaland in his pocket and the Eredivisie giants secured a 4-0 win.
Maybe size doesn’t matter after all.
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