Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Rashford needs to buck up his ideas to lead the line; Biancheri to be involved in the bench? Casemiro & Mainoo in midfield?

United could have youth involved against City with Forson, Kambwala & Amad on the bench!

Manchester United travel across the City of Manchester to face Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon. This is going to be one of the biggest matches of United’s season and will be a defining point for Erik ten Hag.

United have been good since the turn of 2024 but lost to Fulham last weekend with a pathetic display at Old Trafford which should have been so much different. It is starting to show that United will need a big clearcut in the summer as many players are culpable to the problems.

City will be relishing this clash with cross city rivals United as they still do not seem likely to mount a challenge against them, which really brings the sadness out. United have spent hundreds of millions on players but the gulf between the two is much larger and getting bigger.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1


Dalot, Varane, Evans, Amrabat;

Casemiro, Mainoo;

Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho;


Goalkeeper: Onana

Andre Onana continues to be picked for United and continues to make mistakes which end up costing the club. He has conceded 54 goals for United this season in all competitions, which is not a great statistic. He is up high for clean sheets in the Premier League though.

It seems likely that Ten Hag will keep Onana in goal for much of the remainder of the season, especially with some big matches coming up over the next few weeks. That could be a good thing or a bad thing considering the number of goals Onana has conceded this season.

Altay Bayindir will be seeking more minutes for the club this season but with United out of the UEFA Champions League and Europa as a whole, not to mention exiting the Carabao Cup in the early stages of the season, there will only be a few matches he could play in, pending any injuries.

Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Evans, Amrabat

United’s defence could be set to change against with a visit of the Etihad on the horizon with United facing Manchester City once again this season. Ten Hag has Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia out in the fullback positions, so a makeshift defence will have to do.

Lisandro Martinez is also out of action and Harry Maguire is a doubt to face City, but could well be on the bench – which would be a positive. It could be that Diogo Dalot and Sofyan Amrabat start in the fullback roles against City, which could be good for United to be fair.

In the centre of the defence, Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans could partner once again with so many players on the sidelines through injury. The likes of Victor Lindelof, Maguire and Willy Kambwala could all be on the bench to strengthen the defence if required.

Midfield: Casemiro, Mainoo

United’s midfield could be back to Casemiro and Kobbie Mainoo for the trio across Manchester to face City. Casemiro was the sole goalscorer in the FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest earlier in the week which changed United’s fortunes ahead of the City clash.

Mainoo started on the bench in the week which suggested that he was being rested for the City match, which will be a big occasion for the player and one that he should thrive in and test his ability against one of the best teams in the Premier League this season.

On the bench, there will be few options for United with Amrabat playing in the left-back position and just Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay able to play in the centre of the pitch. However, McTominay could play in a more advanced role too, leaving just Eriksen to strengthen here.

Attacking Midfield: Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho

United need to fins some form against in time to face City on Sunday. Momentum had been built in 2024 with United having some good results – even if the football was not the best to watch. But with Rasmus Hojlund’s injury, that momentum seems to have dropped off a little.

Ten Hag will probably pick from the same players again for these three positions which will see Bruno Fernandes in the centre, just behind the striker flanked by Antony on the right-wing and Alejandro Garnacho on the left-wing. United really do need to take the game to City.

United have few options on the bench in these positions with Amad Diallo, Omari Forson and even Scott McTominay, who seems to be much better in the box that Rashford – which is quite telling. United have themselves to blame for their problems and only they can solve it on the pitch.

Forward: Rashford

Marcus Rashford looks set to lead the line for United against City on Sunday. This is the worst case scenario for United as he just does not look like he has the hunger and desire to play in that position and find the needed goals to get a victory from this match. It is frustrating to watch.

He needs to realise that letting United down week after week is not the best thing as with the 25% ownership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and the fact that the organisation of the club has started to improve, he could well be out of the door in the summer if a club like PSG come calling.

United do not have any experienced players to step into the striker position with Rasmus Hojlund out of action for at least the next week or so. Rashford will need to get into gear. Ten Hag could have a plan though with teenager Gabriele Biancheri training with the first team this week.

Substitutes: Bayindir; Lindelof, Maguire, Kambwala; Eriksen, McTominay; Amad, Forson, Biancheri

United will have nine players on the bench against City in the Premier League on Sunday. United have an injury crisis once again and will be missing some top players, which is a shame with this being a big fixture. Altay Bayindir will remain on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper.

In defence, United lack may options with no fullbacks available at all. Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, if fit, and Willy Kambwala could be the only defenders available against City. This is a major problem for Ten Hag. Although he could utilise some more youth players in the squad, if needed.

In the midfield, Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay could have some involvement in the squad, which would be good for United. In attack, Amad Diallo, Omari Forson and academy start Gabriele Biancheri could be available, which could be exciting for United!

Written by Paul

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.