Preview: Blooding in youth against Manchester City could set the right example for the rest of the squad…


Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 24 April 2019; KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Andre Marriner

Manchester United will be up against Manchester City in their next fixture, which was postponed from March after both teams participation in the Emirates FA Cup at the time. This is not a good time for a Manchester derby. City will be up for it as they can finally start to grasp the Premier League title with a victory, however, a loss could do the same for Liverpool.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not be happy with his squad after their poor performance against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, leaving Merseyside after a 4-0 thrashing where it took 86 minutes for United to register a single shot on target. The team even covered 8km fewer than the home side, which was shocking for these supposed athletes.

There are no suspension issues for Solskjaer ahead of this match but he will have selection problems as it is clear not many of the players in the squad can be trusted to win matches, which seems beyond them at this stage of the season. It is like they do not want to finish inside the top four or play in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Form: Manchester City is in great form ahead of the second Manchester derby of the season. They will be motivated as it could put one hand on the Premier League for them

Manchester United: LLWLLW

Everton 4-0 L, Barcelona 3-0 L, West Ham United 2-1 W, Barcelona 1-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 L, Watford 2-1 W

United are in dire form at this stage of the season but yet again, Arsenal has left the door open for a chance to finish inside the top four this season. Defeated by Everton in a 4-0 thrashing, a 3-0 thrashing to Barcelona in the space of a few days has been damaging to United, who managed one shot on target against the Toffees. Solskjaer has a massive job ahead of him to seperate the footballers from the imposters this summer.

Manchester City: WWWLWW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 W, Cardiff City 2-0 W

Manchester City is a team in great form this season. Only four Premier League teams have beaten them in the competition this season; Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Newcastle United. They have not been beaten in the league in their last ten matches. In the last six matches, City has lost once, against Spurs in the Champions League, winning the second leg but exiting the competition – no more quadruple.

Top Scorers: Manchester City have blown United out of the water based on the number of goals they have scored in all competitions this season

Manchester United: 16 – Paul Pogba, 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Manchester City: 30 – Sergio Agüero, 23 – Raheem Sterling, 19 – Gabriel Jesus, 15 – Leroy Sané, 12 – Bernardo Silva, 11 – Riyad Mahrez, 9 – David Silva, 7 – Phil Foden, 5 – Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gündogan, 4 – Aymeric Laporte, 2 – Brahim Díaz, Kyle Walker, 1 – Danilo, Fernandinho, Nicolás Otamendi, Oleksandr Zinchenko

Team News: Solskjaer has problems with his team; injuries or fitness are not the problems, incompetence is. Manchester City will probably make a meal of United once again

Solskjaer currently has three players on the sidelines through injury; Antonio Valencia (muscle), Eric Bailly (concussion), and Ander Herrera (hamstring). Luke Shaw will be back in contention following his two-match ban, however, it will not solve the problems Solskjaer will be looking to solve before they face City, then Chelsea four days later.

The likes of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner may well be good options ahead of this game, as not only will it teach the rest of the squad a lesson, it will show them the challenges that lie ahead of them in their career. They will need to face teams like City sooner or later to be tested as to whether they have what it takes to break into the United squad.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has two injuries to contend with ahead of the visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday; Claudio Bravo (Achilles) and Kevin De Bruyne (muscle). It is envisaged that the Spanish manager will utilise Phil Foden against United after he scored the only goal of the game against Spurs on Saturday afternoon, which will be good to see.

Predicted Starting XI: Blooding youth into the team now might send the right messages to those who have been dropped; if you don’t put yourself on the line for this club, you will be leaving…

United need to find out what they want as a team. They did not seem bothered about challenging Everton. To say this team of athletes is playing for a club as big as United, you would never have guessed. They seem clueless in any approach and incapable to achieve anything in terms of positivity on the pitch. Blooding youth into the team now could be a good thing.

Match Prediction: After a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Everton, United will have to dig deep to overcome City, however, I don’t think City will falter in their bid to retain the Premier League title

United and City have played 177 competitive matches in the history of both clubs, dating back to the first match which was played on the 3 October 1891, a 5-1 victory for Newton Heath over Ardwick. United has since won 73 matches, drawn 52 times and lost 52 times. United has not beaten City in the Premier League at Old Trafford since the 12 April 2015. I want United to beat City but at this stage of the season and the lack of big performances, suggests otherwise.

Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City

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copyright: JW

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