Manchester United and Manchester City return to Premier League action this weekend for the 183rd Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday evening (5:30pm kick-off UK time).
Man Utd XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford.
Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Rodrigo, Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling; Jesus.
Explaining why Paul Pogba starts today’s Manchester derby despite claims he will push to leave the club, Solskjaer said: “There is no point talking off the pitch, you have to talk on the pitch as a footballer and that is where the proof is.
“You cannot stop good players from playing well. Paul has been focused on his football.”
Where to watch Man Utd vs Man City on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Premier League
- US: NBC
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Man Utd vs Man City build-up, team news & previous XIs:
Saturday will mark the sixth meeting between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola with the former surprisingly holding a 3-2 advantage.
As things currently stand only a point separates the Mancunian clubs; the Red Devils are sixth having won their previous four league outings, whilst Man City are beginning to create their own momentum after losing at Tottenham in late November.
With so much at stake, bragging rights and maintaining a close distance to Liverpool and Spurs at the top, it’s set-up to be a close-fought game. Man Utd, considering their home form, start as underdogs but Solskjaer has often in these big games found the answer when facing these much-fancied opponents.
Can he improve his record against Guardiola or will Man City inflict more punishment and turn the setting around them into the Theatre of Nightmares for the 20-time English champions?
Despite their Champions League elimination, Man Utd have been doing reasonably well in the Premier League this season. Solskjaer’s men head into the weekend five points behind leaders Tottenham with a game in hand and can extend their present winning streak to five matches. At home, though, it’s been somewhat of a struggle. Prior to a narrow 1-0 win over West Brom they only claimed a single point from 12 available.
As for Man City, they’ve recovered from a humbling 2-0 loss at Spurs by picking up back-to-back wins over Burnley (5-0) and Fulham (2-0), but this game against their neighbours should be a more stern examination of Guardiola’s men, who enjoy a decent record at Old Trafford having won on three of their previous four trips. However, most recently, it was a first Red Devils success in nearly five years with Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay putting then defending champions Man City to the sword.
Man Utd (vs RB Leipzig): De Gea; Maguire, Lindelöf, Shaw; Wan-Bissaka, Matic, McTominay, Telles; Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford.
Man City (vs Marseille): Steffen; Walker, García, Laporte, Aké; Fernandinho, Gündogan; Mahrez, Silva, Foden; Torres.
Anthony Martial (groin) and Edinson Cavani (muscle) have no return date for their respective injuries whilst Phil Jones (knee) is definitely ruled out. Eric Garcia (knock) and Ilkay Gundogan (ankle) are currently being assessed by the visitors ahead of their Old Trafford visit.
Player to watch: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
The battle for this season’s playmaker award is shaping up to be a fascinating affair with serial goalscorer Harry Kane making an early claim. The 27-year-old Spurs marksman has created 10 goals to date with last season’s recipient Kevin De Bruyne hot on his trail. Man City’s creator-in-chief is four behind the England international whilst creating no fewer than 28 chances, which is seven behind Bruno Fernandes of Man Utd, albeit De Bruyne has played 53 minutes less. At full flight De Bruyne is arguably Europe’s finest midfielder; worryingly for the Red Devils the Belgian maestro is now hitting his stride.
Premier League 2020/21 recent form:
- Man Utd: WWWWL
- Man City: WWLDW
Scoreline prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Man City
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