Manchester United vs Manchester City Preview
The biggest game of the season has come at last! The Manchester Derby, first versus second. A home win would close the gap to five points, a loss would send the noisy neighbours a staggering 11 points ahead of the Red Devils and Chelsea (provided the Blues beat West Ham on Saturday). Manchester United should be in good confidence for the game as they have won their last four games on the trot and are still unbeaten at home for 40 games, since the defeat, ironically, to Manchester City in September 2016. Unlike their neighbours, Manchester City’s last four games have resulted in 2-1. With three consecutive 2-1 victories in the Premier League against Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham United and were unbeaten this season until the 2-1 away defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk this Wednesday and so will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible.
Manchester United are still without Michael Carrick, Eric Bailly and potentially Phil Jones, with Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all pushing for fitness. Paul Pogba will unfortunately be suspended for three games after his deemed dangerous foul against Hector Bellerin last Saturday. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku both started up front for Manchester United against CSKA Moscow and will be hoping to retain their starting partnership for Sunday but Anthony Martial’s form will be a challenge for the England international and will also be pushing for a start.
Manchester City will almost certainly, despite Jose Mourinho’s doubts, be without Spanish playmaker David Silva for the short trip across Manchester and so Bernardo Silva may be given the chance to start for only the fourth time this season and in his preferred central midfield role.
It is unclear as to how Jose Mourinho will set up his team tactically, but will be wary about Manchester City’s offensive prowess and their rapid counter-attacking ability and so may adopt a back five which the current side are most comfortable with at the moment and will be able to attack and defend in numbers. It is a game which Jose Mourinho can easily adopt his team to win but as seen against Real Madrid the squad were cautious to send too many bodies forward when the counter from the opposition is just as, if not more dangerous on the break.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo, Young, Matic, Herrera, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku
PREDICTED SCORE: 1-1