Preview: The victory over Spurs will have boosted United’s confidence to take on City; Solskjaer needs to rally his troops to get a much-needed win over City

Manchester City -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Saturday 7 December 2019, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick; Adam Nunn Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday evening. After beating Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United jumped to to sixth place in the Premier League and are 11 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s City and a further 11 points short of league leaders Liverpool.

The victory over Spurs gave United something to boost their confidence after a run of three matches without a victory and two Premier League draws against Sheffield United and Aston Villa, teams which were promoted from the Championship last season. It was not a good pair of results for United. Back to winning ways though, Solskjaer and United will be boosted and should take a game to City, who are not as good as they might think.

Form: United have three wins in the last six matches whereas City have just two. Based on this, it is the form of Guardiola’s team which is more worrying.

Manchester United: WDLDWW

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Aston Villa 2-2 D, Astana 2-1 L, Sheffield United 3-3 D, Brighton And Hove Albion 3-1 W, Partizan Belgrade 3-0 W

Manchester City: WDDWLD

Burnley 4-1 W, Newcastle United 2-2 D, Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-1 W, Liverpool 3-1 L, Atalanta 1-1 D

Top Scorers: United has scored 14 goals in their last six matches with City scoring just 11 goals which could be a good confidence booster ahead of the clash at the Etihad on Saturday evening.

Manchester United Goals: 12 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Own Goal, Victor Lindelof

United has seemingly turned a corner this season. Solskjaer’s side has scored 14 goals in their last six matches, which is a good goalscoring record, well something to start with anyway. They have won three times, drawn twice and lost just once in those six matches. Now, with the season nearing the half way point, it is time for the real Manchester United to stand up and be counted, which is needed to properly turn the corner.

Manchester City Goals: 15 – Raheem Sterling, 13 – Sergio Agüero, 7 – Gabriel Jesus, 5 – Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, 4 – Kevin De Bruyne, 3 – Ilkay Gündogan, David Silva, 2 – Rodri, Nicolás Otamendi, 1 – Phil Foden, Kyle Walker

This season is not the greatest for Manchester City, who in the not too distant future were branded the best team of the Premier League era by some ‘fan boy’ journalists. Yet the same team are just not playing well against big teams and seem to be playing second fiddle to Liverpool, who are well in the lead in the league table. Pep Guardiola is a chequebook manager, this is evident. Sorry, not sorry.

Team News: Anthony Martial to miss the clash against City? Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic likely to return?

Solskjaer has yet more injury worries this season which has seemingly ruled Anthony Martial out of the clash with City this weekend. He also missed the 2-1 victory over Spurs on Wednesday evening. Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Diogo Dalot are also out of this match with their returns more likely in the latter end of December, which will boost the manager, the squad and the supporters.

Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have a slim chance of being back in action this weekend, however, that will be something the manager confirms on Friday during his press conference ahead of this match. Marcos Rojo should be close to returning, however, that may be unlikely for this match. Solskjaer might have the same players available which beat Jose Mourinho’s Spurs on Wednesday.

Guardiola could be without up to four players with Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, and Sergio Aguero already ruled out of contention. Oleksandr Zinchenko could be close to returning for the reigning Premier League champions, however, it would see he has a small chance of returning this weekend. City will be boosted by their victory over Burnley but their current form is hardly something to brag about.

Predicted Starting XI: Greenwood, Rashford, Lingard, and James to continue in attach against City; Shaw back in the starting XI with McTominay and Fred keeping their places in midfield?

Solskjaer would probably like to make some changes to his starting XI against City, however, unless the likes of Pogba and Matic are fit to start, it is unlikely that he will be able to do this. I would expect to see the same starting XI which faced Spurs on Wednesday but with Luke Shaw starting ahead of Ashley Young in the left-back role. Pogba or Matic may be fit enough to make the bench but we will have to wait and see what Solskjaer says in his press conference one Friday morning.

Match Prediction: United are the underdogs against City at this moment in time and have ben for a number of years now. However, with confidence Solskjaer’s side could take advantage.

United and Manchester City have played 178 times in the history of both clubs. United has won 73 times, drawing 52 times and losing 53 times. The first match was played in 1891; a 5-1 victory for Newton Heath (United) in the FA Cup. United have not beaten City since the 2017/18 season, which incidentially came in this fixture, a 3-2 victory at the Etihad with Paul Pogba inspiring United with two quick goals coming from 2-0 down.

Last season, United lost both home and away to City; 3-1 at the Etihad and 2-0 at Old Trafford. This season, City are not as good as they once were and with problems in defence, it could be a match for United to take advantage. After beating Spurs on Wednesday evening, Solskjaer’s side should be up for the challenge of beating City. However, some will worry more about Liverpool winning the Premier League if this happens.

Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United

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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.