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Preview: Manchester United -v- Manchester City – Premier League

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Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 12 December 2020, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

The 183rd Manchester derby will be played at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, in the Premier League. Manchester United beat Manchester City both home and away in the league last season and will be seeking to do the same thing this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to come back from a 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening, which also saw them exit the UEFA Champions League and fall into the UEFA Europa League, of which the draw for the round of 32 stage will take place on Monday. Pep Guardiola’s side have endured a tough season which sees then below United before a ball is kicked at the Theatre of Dreams.

This season, United have been pretty inconsistent on the pitch but have somehow managed to find themselves sitting in sixth place in the Premier League, just five points from the top spot with a game in hand over all of the clubs above them. In the league, United have found the best consistency they have, winning their last four matches. In the Champions League, after a good start (winning the first two matches) a defeat followed by a win and two defeats on the bounce saw them fall from top place in the group to third placed after their final group stage match. City, on the other hand, qualified for the knockout stages of the competition.

Manchester United: LWLWWW

RB Leipzig 3-2 L, West Ham United 3-1 W, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W

Manchester City: WWDWWL

Olympique de Marseille 3-0 W, Fulham 2-0 W, FC Porto 0-0 D, Burnley 5-0 W, Olympiacos FC 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L

Top Scorers: United have scored 40 goals in all competitions with Bruno Fernandes scoring 11 goals – City have scored 35 goals in all competitions with Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres scoring six each.

Manchester United Goals: 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 10 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, 2 – Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

This season has been less than consistent for United but they have been getting the desired results the majority of the time. In the Premier League alone this season, at this stage they are in good form winning four of their last six matches, losing and drawing once. Solskjaer’s side will need to find the form on the pitch to continue getting the results they have been getting but they will need to focus on the defensive issues, which are poor at this moment in time with the club conceding five goals in their last six matches in the league. After Tuesday’s poor performance, United still need to find consistency in order to continue to drive forwards.

Manchester City Goals: 6 – Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, 4 – Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, 3 – Gabriel Jesus, 2 – Sergio Agüero, Kevin De Bruyne, İlkay Gündoğan, 1 – Nathan Ake, João Cancelo, Liam Delap, Own Goal, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker

This season, City have not been the team that they have been in the past few seasons. They currently sit behind United in the Premier League table, which may not be the case later on Saturday evening when this match has been played. Guardiola’s side need to find the form that saw them take Liverpool on to stop them from winning the league during the 2018/19, not the team that finished 18 points behind them last season. At this stage of the season, United are City are not all that far behind the league leaders; Tottenham Hotspur, but in the coming weeks, that could all change. Both United and City have a game in hand though.

Team News: Three players on the sidelines for United ahead of the Manchester derby this weekend. City have one player out of action for the foreseeable future.

Phil Jones (knee) has been sidelined since last season and was not named in any squad this season because of that injury. He could he added in January, if he has a future at the club and recovers from the injury. Anthony Martial (groin), Edinson Cavani (muscular) were both injured in the 3-1 victory over West Ham United last weekend and missed the Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig. It is expected that the due will miss the Manchester derby also, but Solskjaer should give an update on their injuries on Friday. United will need a big reaction from this painful week with City being a tricky team to beat, need despite their current form.

Eric Garcia (knock) is the only injury ahead of the derby for City. Sergio Agüero was on the sidelines through injury but he recovered and played in the clubs final Champions League match against Marseille on Wednesday evening. Guardiola’s side will be seeking leapfrog United with a victory at Old Trafford, which did not come for them in the league last season. The fact that United got the better of the Noisy Neighbours both times in the league last season could be a defining factor for the club to aim to prevail at the stadium that United have suffered from poor form in this season. United could also take advantage in this match.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford and Greenwood to lead the line? Fernandes in behind? Van de Beek, Fred and McTominay in midfield? Henderson to start?

United need to find a way forward. The past few weeks have seen United win matches but concede many needless goals. David De Gea has not risen in stature, especially after that match in Leipzig on Tuesday night. A match that he needed to stand firm in goal. Granted, the conceded goals were not all his mistakes, but he should be performing a lot better. Dean Henderson should start against City. It will be a gamble, but a gamble worth taking. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford should lead the line, with the possible absences of Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial. In midfield, Bruno Fernandes will play the advanced role with Donny van de Beek, Fred and Scott McTominay also featuring.

Match Prediction: 46 meetings in the Premier League between United and City. United have 23 victories, drawing a further eight matches. Can Solskjaer’s side to the double over City again this season?

United and City have met a total of 46 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 23 times whereas City have won 15 times with eight draws between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 68 goals, winning and scoring three penalties. City have scored a total of 61 goals, winning one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept a total of 16 clean sheets against City, with the Noisy Neighbours keeping just nine clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 80 yellow cards and seven red cards with City being shown a total of 105 yellow cards and just one red card.

Last season, United did the Premier League double over City. In the Manchester derby at Old Trafford which was played on the 8 March 2020, it was a 2-0 for United. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 30th minute of the match with Scott McTominay scoring United’s second deep into injury time. It was the last time supporters were at the Theatre of Dreams because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the Etihad, it was a 2-1 victory for United with Marcus Rashford taking the lead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute of the match with Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. Nicolas Otamendi scored a late consolation goal.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Written by John Walker

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