Preview: The first Manchester derby to be played on foreign soil

Manchester United -v- Manchester City

NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, United States of America

Thursday 20th July 2017; KO 21:00 local time – 03:00 in the United Kingdom

Live on MUTV in the United Kingdom

Manchester United play one of the biggest matches of their pre-season tour of the United States of America taking on Manchester City at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Thursday evening, the early hours of Friday morning in the United Kingdom. This is also United’s first match of the International Champions Cup this summer with Real Madrid and Barcelona also to play before the club head back to Europe to take on Valerenga in Oslo and Sampdoria in Dublin before taking on Real Madrid once again to contest the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia on the 8th August, just before the Premier League season commences on Sunday 13th August with West Ham United travelling to Old Trafford on the club’s opening day of the new season.

United’s tour has been a good one so far with two victories in two matches; beating LA Galaxy 5-2 at the weekend and a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Monday/Tuesday morning. Marcus Rashford scored a brace in the opening match with Marouane Fellaini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial scoring the others. Against Real Salt Lake, the home side took the lead before Mkhitaryan scored the equaliser with Romelu Lukaku scoring his first United goal, also the winning goal of that match. United will contend with Manchester City to gain another victory on their pre-season tour, which will be a tough match for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the player who has scored in both pre-season match so far this summer, also the scorer of the second goal in the UEFA Europa League final back in May spoke to the official Manchester United website ahead of the Manchester derby in Houston, Texas. The Armenian said:

“Of course this is a friendly but deep inside it is not really very friendly. They are very important games for us, we will play as well as we can and to win, because at the end we are playing against City. It does not matter if it is a friendly or not.

“We want to win all of the games. It doesn’t matter if it is City, if it Real Madrid, or if it is Barcelona, we are just trying to win every game and that is very important for us.”

Have Manchester United and Manchester City to play their first derby on foreign soil

United and City have a long bitter history with the noisy neighbours rising up after a cash injection by oil rich Arabs. Since then, it has been City who have mainly taken the plaudits but after spending more than £1 billion, the success they have achieved has been poor for the cash outlay. United and City have met 174 times with United winning 72 times, drawing 52 times and losing 50 times. This will be the first Manchester derby which has been played outside of the United Kingdom, which should have been played a year ago in Beijing but the state of the pitch cancelled the match. United will be feeling confident ahead of the match, so will City, being that they have been on top the majority of the time since the money arrived.

Team News: Juan Mata could miss the derby whilst Matteo Darmian returned to training on Wednesday

Jose Mourinho has a 28-man team on the United States of America leg of the tour, three of those are players who are recovering from injury; Luke Shaw, Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo. Juan Mata was injured against Real Salt Lake on Monday evening/Tuesday morning, lasting fifteen minutes before a tackle forced him out of the match. Matteo Darmian received a knock during that match also, but he was training with his teammates in the live training session on MUTV between midnight and 1 am in the UK on Wednesday morning. Mourinho should have 24 players to turn to for the first Manchester derby to be played overseas. Mourinho spoke to MUTV about Mata and Darmian’s injuries, saying:

“Mata has a big ankle but I hope it is nothing important. A few days, a week, probably. Darmian’s problem is not an important one.”

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku to be flanked by Antony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan against the noisy neighbours?

Match Prediction:

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

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