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Preview: Manchester City v Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Premier League 2

Friday 9th September 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s face Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League 2 this season. Not even 24 hours before the two sides meet at senior level at Old Trafford, the youth, and future of both teams battle to find out who are the kings of Manchester. United have had a mixed start to the new season, beating Leicester City 1-0 at the start of the season, then falling to a 2-0 defeat away to Southampton, before drawing 1-1 against Chelsea just before the international break. United’s squad has changed considerably this summer with James Weir being sold to Hull City before the closure of the summer transfer window and Joel Castro Pereira and Dean Henderson being loaned out for the foreseeable future, along with Guillermo Varela, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira and James Wilson, leaving United a little thin on the ground at this level.

Warren Joyce does not have an out-and-out striker in his ranks, with Weir used in that role, along with Demetri Mitchell. The U18 side has a lot of attacking talent, which could be plucked from that squad to bolster the U23’s this season, which is normally the case for those who have adapted well to the U18 group and need to be challenged to raise their game. This was the case with Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe over the past season or so, and could well be Joyce’s only option to add talent to his team. The match against City may come too early for Joyce and his coaching team to add talent to the squad, which was begging to be strengthened with all the players that have been sold and loaned out for the season, or part of it. Nicky Butt, the head of the Academy seems to be speaking about how well the changes he has made have been adopted, which would suggest that he knows that is going on more than we do, which is a great thing to see. Developing players at the highest level possible is what needs to be done, and seems to be the case here, this season at least.

Joyce could see some fringe players within the first team given options to get fit for the matches they may play this month with the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League starting with players like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin et al all looking to get fit and ready for when they are called upon. Failing this, Joyce has been shafted in a way and will make do with the hand he has been given, tinkering with his squad to find the right fit and the right mentality to get the better of te situation they are in and challenge with their rivals in order to retain their trophy for the third consecutive season. U23 manager Warren Joyce, speaking to the official Manchester United website, spoke about the predicament he finds himself in with his squad and what his options may be:

“A couple of the older Under-18 players have got injured. The Under-18s sometimes need bedding in and the new lads at that level have got to know how the club works, how we are going to play and adjusting to full-time training. It’s difficult for young players but those things probably compound our kind of selection problems.

“Our job is to develop players for the first team or move them on but we’ve been victims of our own success a little bit with a squad mainly made up of midfield players. We have Joe Riley at left-back but he was a right-winger and nearly everybody else is a central midfielder. There aren’t really many wide players, forwards, full-backs or left-sided players.”

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Warren Joyce

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Kieran O’Hara

Defenders: Matthew Olosunde, Axel Tuanzebe, Ro-Shaun Williams, Regan Poole, Charlie Scott, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Tosin Kehinde, Josh Harrop, Sean Goss, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Manchester City U23 Squad:

Manager: Adrian Viveash

Goalkeepers: Ian Lawlor, Angus Gunn, Billy O’Brien, Daniel Grimshaw

Defenders: Pablo Maffeo, Tosin Adarabioyo, Charlie Oliver, Angeliño, Ellis Plummer, Cameron Humphreys, Demeaco Duhaney, Erik Sarmiento

Midfielders: Denzeil Boadu, Aaron Nemane, James Horsfield, Paolo Fernandes, Marcus Wood, Aleix García, Rodney Kongolo, Jacob Davenport, Javiraro Dilrosun

Forwards: Lukas Nmecha, Daniel Thompson, Thierry Ambrose, Issac Buckley-Ricketts,

Manchester United U23 Form:- DLWLLW

Chelsea 1-1 D, Southampton 1-0 L, Leicester City 1-0 W, Oldham Athletic 1-1 (3-4 penalties) L [F], Port Vale 4-2 L [F], Salford City 5-1 W [F]

Manchester City U23 Form:- WDWWDD

Reading 2-3 W, Arsenal 1-0 W, Derby County 3-2 W, Borussia Dortmund 5-0 W, Liverpool 3-0 W [F], AS Monaco 1-0 W [F]

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

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