Manchester City vs Manchester United Preview: Citizens aiming to keep unbeaten record going on derby day
Photo: VAVEL

Manchester City vs Manchester United Preview: Citizens aiming to keep unbeaten record going on derby day

Which side of Manchester will earn the bragging rights on Derby Day as the Reds invade Blue territory?

Niall Keenan

Anticipation is building ahead of the first Manchester Derby of the season that sees champions Manchester City welcome last season’s runners-up Manchester United.

Last term the Reds finished 19 points behind their City rivals but did manage to stall the celebrations by overturning a two-goal deficit and emerge victorious 3-2 in this fixture back in April. 

Derby day looms

Last season's pacesetters Man City haven’t taken their foot of the gas and sit at the summit on 29 points boasting the best attack scoring 33 goals and best defense in the division conceding just four times.

The visitors are in fine form themselves after a stuttering start to the season.  Back-to-back 2-1 wins in the Premier League were followed up by a memorable win in Turin on Wednesday night as United defeated Juventus in the UEFA Champions League

City boss Pep Guardiola insists neighbours United appear a rejuvenated side. "They are arriving in a good moment," the Spaniard said. He believes that confidence and form will go out the window on Sunday. “United have beat City more. “It doesn’t matter if confidence is good," Guardiola stated.

“We know what we have to do. On Saturday, we will speak with players and suggest to them what to do to win the game," he added.

Early woes have to go 

20 times Premier League winners United have conceded ten times inside the opening 45 minutes this season and have often found themselves in a losing position at the interval.  

Manager Jose Mourinho will take charge of his 300th Premier League game and he spoke on Friday warning of his teams’ inability to start fast and how it could hinder their progression: 

“We are a team that always finds a way to fight back. But there will arrive a day where we cannot come back. We have to make sure that we grow up in our compactness and to start matches well.” 

Team News 

Kevin De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo and Eliaquim Mangala are all out serving lengthy lay-offs for City. 

Meanwhile, United will assess the fitness of Romelu Lukaku who is struggling with a hamstring problem. Paul Pogba is dealing with a slight injury and sat out of training on Friday as captain Antonio Valencia is in line to return having travelled to Italy during the week.  

Manchester City predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Sane, Aguero. 

Manchester United predicted XI: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Martial, Rashford. 

Key stats

Coming into this match, Manchester City have won 14 of their 17 games in all competitions this season, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Lyon.  

Sergio Aguero is approaching Wayne Rooney's record of 11 Manchester derby goals and is just a hat-trick away from equaling the Englishman's tally. Aguero comes into this one in fine form having scored five in his last seven matches. 

For United, Anthony Martial could prove a key danger with the Frenchman scoring in four consecutive Premier League games - including two which came against Chelsea.