Manchester United take on our rivals and noisy neighbours Manchester City in the 183rd Manchester Derby on Saturday evening. Both sides are separated by just one point and one place in the Premier League. Both United and City have endured mixed starts to the league season but are now starting to rise up the table. Whoever claims victory will be within touch distance of those at the top.
If you asked any United fan before the start of the 2020/21 season that going into the first derby of the campaign that we will be above them in the league, then we will have taken that. However, things have not turned out the way it was planned. Man City is coming into some form now, whilst United form has been erratic with our away record being much better than our home record this season.
Champions League’s Exit
We are coming into this game after our 3-2 defeat against RB Leipzig. This meant we finished third in the UEFA Champions League group stages. This resulted in us dropping into the Europa League. The defeat was painful considering with only two games to go, we were top of the group.
We nearly pulled off the comeback against Leipzig on Tuesday but it was ultimately in vain. United don’t have too much time to feel sorry for themselves as our focus now turns back to the Premier League.
United to refocus on the league campaign
It has also been a feature of Premier League that we have given the opposition a head start. We have had to come from behind to win all five of their top-flight away games so far this season, which has never been done before in the league. United have won a club record of nine consecutive away wins in the league. We are currently unbeaten on the road since January. Our home form paints a very different picture as we have won only 4 points out 20 this season so far.
We have not won back to back league games on home soil since July and City will provide us with a tough test on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has won three of his previous five meetings against Pep Guardiola with the last meeting being the 2-0 victory back in March, and which was the final game that saw fans inside Old Trafford.
Manchester City would love the opportunity to pile on more misery to us this weekend but City has not been as perfect this season themselves. They currently sit sixth place in the league just one below us. City is currently four points worse off than they were after 10 games of last season. They beginning to hit form and are currently are on five game winning run without conceding a goal.
Tottenham Hotspur is the only team to hand them defeat in the last 15 games in all competitions. The 2-0 victory last weekend against Fulham saw them secure back to back wins for the first time this season. Man City have only won once away in the league since the start of the season. United can take advantage of this poor record they are currently on.
Manchester United vs Manchester City Match Details
Teams: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Date: December 12th, 2020 (Saturday)
KO Time: 17:30 BST
Competition: Premier League
Stadium: Old Trafford
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Pep Guardiola
Manchester United Team News
Ole confirmed in the press conference that Anthony Martial will definitely be involved. Edinson Cavani has taken part in training, Ole is not sure if he will make it for Saturday’s game.
Fred’s did not feature midweek after serving his Champions League suspension and is likely to return to the starting eleven. Luke Shaw who came through his first game on Tuesday night will be pushing for a place. It remains to be seen what formation Ole goes with after Shaw was part of a five-man backline against Leipzig.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will line up at right-back as he renews his battle with Man City’s Raheem Sterling.
Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked how the players have reacted to the disappointment of losing on Tuesday night. He said, “Of course we were disappointed, and the group was, disappointed on Tuesday night. It’s just natural. We wanted to go through in that tournament – now the reality is we’re not. Then we just have to move on. It was a tight group decided by fine margins. You can see that in most of the games.”
Ole was asked if he feels the club are moving in the right direction as it is coming up two years in charge. He said, “Yes, I feel we’re getting better and better, and looking more and more like a Man United team that I want.”
Manchester City Team News
For our opponents, Pep Guardiola has confirmed that forward Sergio Aguero will not start the game. Gabriel Jesus is expected to be leading the front line. Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Ruben Dias, John Stones, Ederson, and Benjamin Mendy are expected to return.
Eric Garcia and Ilkay Gundogan will both be assessed after they picked up knocks during their win against Marseille midweek.
United’s Premier League form: DLWWWW
United’s form (all competitions): WWWLWL
City’s Premier League form: DWDLWW
City’s form (all competitions): LWWDWW
- Manchester United have won a league-high 15 points from losing positions this season. (source: BBC Sport).
- United could win five consecutive league matches for the first time since January 2019. (source: BBC Sport)
- Anthony Martial has scored in three of his last four Premier League appearances against Man City.
- Only Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mouriho have more wins over Pep Guardiola than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Four of the last five Manchester United wins against City included goals from set-pieces.
- Manchester United have not won three league games in a row vs Manchester City since 2009 (0-1, 2-0, 4-3)
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Van De Beek, Fernandes, Rashford; Greenwood
There is no time to brood over our loss on Tuesday night and subsequent exit in the Champions League A win in the derby will lift the spirits after such disappointment. Victory for us would see us only two points behind the Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
If United is to get anything out of the game, we need to come out of the traps early and attack City. We cannot afford to be conceding goals against this City side as they will punish us like Leipzig did. We will have to dig deep to get the win but I’m confident that the players will step up to the mark.
Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City