Preview: United need to stand up to City and knock them down! Can Ten Hag achieve this at the Theatre of Dreams?

Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 29 October 2023, KO 15:30 GMT

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action at Old Trafford this weekend as they welcome rivals Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams. Erik ten Hag’s team looks to be in better shape after recording three wins in a row in their last three matches.

United sit eighth in the Premier League at the time of publishing with City sitting in second place. There are six points between the two teams. United are having a terrible start to the campaign but to be that close to City, who are two points adrift of the top spot is not all that bad.

United have beaten Brentford, Sheffield United and FC Copenhagen in the last three matches. United have not been a clinical side but seem to be getting better. Ten Hag will be seeking to get a good result against City but it is expected that City could overpower them easily.

United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Copenhagen 1-0 W, Sheffield 2-1 W, Brentford 2-1 W, Galatasaray 3-2 L, Palace 1-0 L, Palace 3-0 W

Goals: 4 – Casemiro, 3 – Rasmus Hojlund, Scott McTominay, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Alejandro Garnacho, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Hannibal Mejbri, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

Assists: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Christian Eriksen, 1 – Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez, Mason Mount, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

City – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Young Boys 0-0 WDL, Brighton 2-1 W, Arsenal 1-0 L, RB Leipzig 3-1 W, Wolves 2-1 L, Newcastle 1-0 L

Goals: 9 – Erling Haaland, 7 – Julián Álvarez, 3 – Rodri, 2 – Jérémy Doku, Phil Foden, 1 – Nathan Aké, Cole Palmer, Bernardo Silva

Assists: 4 – Julián Álvarez, Phil Foden, 2 – Jérémy Doku, Erling Haaland, 1 – Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Gómez, Jack Grealish, Rico Lewis, Matheus Nunes, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and City have met 52 times in the Premier League. United have won 25 times, drawn nine times with City winning 18 times. United have scored 76 goals with City scoring 74. United have won six penalties, scoring five with City winning one and failing to score it.

United have kept 18 clean sheets against City, who have kept just 11. Discipline is a problem in these fiery matches with United players being shown 92 yellow cards and seven red cards and City players being shown 108 yellow cards and one red card.

Billy Meredith, Denis Law, Brian Kidd, Terry Cooke, Peter Schmeichel, Andrew Cole, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Abbie McManus, Jane Ross, Aoife Mannion, Alex Greenwood, Charlie McNeill (academy) and Jadon Sancho have played for both teams in Manchester.

Team News

Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot), Tyrell Malacia (knee) Luke Shaw (other) and Amad Diallo (knee) have all been ruled out due to injury. Jadon Sancho is out of action at this time due to personal problems at the club. United will need to wait a bit longer for a fully fit squad.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (thigh) has a 25% chance of being available this weekend. Casemiro (ankle/foot) is back at United after the international break and the injury sustained and has a 50% chance of being fit. United will hope to get some depth back in the squad soon.

Kevin De Bruyne (thigh) and Manuel Akanji (suspended) are the only City players that will be out of action ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season. City will be in good shape ahead of the clash at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon.

Predicted United Starting XI – 4-3-3

Onana;

Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Reguilon;

Fernandes, Casemiro, Amrabat;

Antony, Hojlund, Rashford

Predicted City Starting XI – 4-3-3

Ederson;

Walker, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol;

Lewis, Silva, Kovacic;

Alvarez, Haaland, Foden

Match Prediction

United need to start showing their ability to grind out victories against those teams who are considered to be stronger and better than them. City is one of those teams whose investment has been equal to United in the past decade but have done much better.

Ten Hag’s side needs to start on the front foot and have the confidence to beat them, because they can at the end of the day. It is always possible for City to be beaten – they have lost twice in the Premier League this season – only Spurs and Arsenal are unbeaten at this time.

United have many talented players in their squad but they are not performing as they should. So those problems need to be addressed at some point this season and the general confidence of the club needs to be raised – the Glazers selling up could achieve that.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Written by John Walker


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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.