Pep vs Jose, Zlatan vs Aguero, Bailly vs Stones, Nolito vs Martial. So many tantalizing match ups already in this derby it’s hard not to get giddy just thinking about them. This is the 4th game of the season but the importance of this game cannot be placed any higher as it is with any derby. This will be the first taste of the derby for both managers but they will not be new to each other as they were rivals back in Spain in the El Clasico between Madrid and Barcelona.
Pep will want to continue his work of instilling a total football mentality into his new found team as they look to secure the title this season. We have already seen glimpses of that in their previous 3 matches where they controlled possession throughout and eventually their opposition came undone. They will however be without their talisman Sergio Aguero who was given a three game ban after his elbow on West Ham defender Winston Reid in their last Premier League outing. It will be interesting to see how City will line up without Aguero. There is the temptation to go for the false nine formation since Aguero’s direct replacement is an 18 year old Iheanacho, who although has proved himself capable, might struggle on this of all biggest stages.
United head into the derby of the back of vintage last gasp winner against a very resolute Hull City side. That win and the manner of it would have imbibed renewed hope and optimism in fans and players alike who were hitherto used to moments like these. Jose Mourinho is on a rebuilding mission at Old Trafford but as is always the case, expectations are sky high. With 4 main new acquisitions in the summer to bolster the side, Jose will be expected to deliver some form of silverware this season and what better way to make your statement of intent than in this derby against the closest contenders for the top prize. United have no new injury concerns after the international break with only Henrik Mhikitaryan picking up a knock while on duty for Armenia. He however is expected to make a recovery in time for Saturday’s clash. Marcos Rashford gave his manager something to think about after scoring a hat trick on his U-21 debut for England. It will be interesting to see if he starts the derby.
MORE TEAM NEWS
- Aguero will miss this clash after he was found guilty of violent conduct following his elbow on Winston Reid
- Mourinho is expected to name the same starting eleven for the 3rd consecutive game following successful runs in those games
- Pep Guardiola will have the option of playing Nolito in place of Aguero or entrusting teenager Iheanacho with the scoring boots against United
- Eric Bailly and Dailey Blind look set to continue their much fruitful partnership in defense
- Martial is expected to start despite having an off color season so far
- Marcos Rashford is likely to start from the bench despite calls for his inclusion in the starting following his heroics on his debut for the England U-21s
- Claudio Bravo will be making his debut after his move from Barcelona
- Wayne Rooney is set to captain his side for the 172nd derby game and he will be hoping to add to his tally of 11 goals making him the outright top goal scorer in this fixture.
- City will still be without captain Vincent Kompany who is still sidelined with a long term injury
This derby promises to excite. And with the array of talents on show, it would for it not to. Rivalries will be renewed as both teams will be looking to get an edge in this long and enthralling title race.
KICK OFF IS ON SATURDAY, 11.30GMT. Don’t miss it
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