Manchester United and Manchester City face off in the much anticipated Manchester derby this weekend and with top spot up for grabs both teams will be looking for nothing short of three points to cement their position in title challenge this season….
United head into the game on the back of a Champions League trip to Moscow in which they earned a much needed draw after going behind from a penalty rebound. Anthony Martial scored the equalizer from a header and that was his fifth goal for the club.
City also head into the game after a late Kevin De Bruyne goal against Sevilla put them within a point of their group leaders, Juventus that all but ensures their qualification to the next round of the Champions League.
This will be the 170th meeting between the two clubs in the history of the derby and United have the edge over City In this one winning it on 70 occasions as compared to City’s 49 wins and 50 draws. Once labelled as the “noisy neighbours” Manchester City have become very dominant in this fixture in recent times winning 6 of the last 8 matches.
The latest fixture between the two clubs ended with a 4-2 win for United.
Ryan Giggs who has played in the derby more times than anyone else with 36 appearances will be on the bench this time around reading out instructions as part of the coaching staff.
KEVIN DE BRYUNE
The young Belgian international has not disappointed since his move to City from Wolfsburg. He is currently the second most expensive player in British football history. But such a heavy price tag does not seem to weighing on him. He has fit seamlessly into the team scoring five goals and assisting four in the process. The 24- year old was the key man for Wolfsburg last season scoring vital goals in the Bundesliga. He looks to continue that form at his new club in the absence of key players- (Aguero & Silva), and what better stage to do that than on derby day.
“WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!!!” read the headlines when news came out that Manchester United had secured the services of 19- year old Anthony Martial. How they be cursing their lips now; Martial has had a bright start to life at United scoring five goals so far; the most recent being his first goal in Europe. He will be looking to further prove the doubters wrong when he takes on City this weekend in his first derby. Martial is likely to start from the wings as he has been doing in the last two games with Rooney through the middle.
After his first career hat trick last weekend, Raheem Sterling will be full of confidence as he prepares to make his Manchester derby debut. Following his move from Liverpool for a British transfer record fee, making him the most expensive young player, Sterling had really not performed in a City until last weekend when he grabbed the hat trick. He will be hoping to do same in his first derby game. Sterling is likely to be deployed through the middle behind the striker following the absence of David Silva as was the case last week.
• Yaya Toure is back from injury after missing last weekend’s game. He played in midweek against Sevilla and is expected to be in the starting line-up this weekend.
• David Silva and Sergio Aguero are both still out with the latter expected to be out for a lengthy spell. Aguero has been City’s go to guy in this fixture having scored eight goals in it so far.
• Kevin De Bruyne who has proven to be a shrewd signing will be looking to follow is midweek heroics in his first derby for City.
• Van Gaal is also likely to rotate the central midfield pairing of Carrick, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger
• Rooney, who turns 30 on Saturday, is the highest goal scorer in this fixture with 11 goals. He is set to lead the line for United in an unchanged formation for the Red Devils with his strike partner, Martial to start out on the left wing.
• Central defensive pairing of Smalling and Jones and is likely to continue.
• Matteo Darmian is set to return to the starting line-up after missing out on the midweek trip to Moscow. Valencia will start on the bench.
• Joe Hart and David De Gea will both be starting for their respective clubs in this one.
• Memphis Depay who has struggled to impress since joining United from PSV might start from the bench again as he has been doing in recent times. Van Gaal has already issued a warning to the youngster concerning his lackluster performances of late.
This fixture is filled with plenty of goals as history suggests and there will be no let up when these two teams clash at Old Trafford this Sunday with top spot at stake.
It promises to be fun and entertaining. KICK OFF is at 14:05GMT.
Leave your predictions and comments below.