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Ratings: Fernandes and Shaw give United victory over City; Martial’s performance was a key point in the victory – Solskjaer will be pleased

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League. It was an instant start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after Anthony Martial won a penalty which was scored by Bruno Fernandes in the second minute of the match. City then got themselves into the game, attacking United but the quality was not the greatest and United started to dominate the match at times, pushing forward and threatening to score again. United led 1-0 at the break and started the second half in good stead as Luke Shaw scored the second goal of the game after a throw by Dean Henderson started the attack with Marcus Rashford, who was later injured, provided the assist. Solskjaer will be happy as Manchester turns red again. Jonny won’t be pleased though!

United started off in fine fettle against the Premier League leaders, pushing to get an early goal, which was something we had not seen in the last three matches. Marcus Rashford had the ball outside the box and nudged it to Anthony Martial, who was just inside when Gabriel Jesus challenged him, giving away a penalty in the first minute of the match. Bruno Fernandes took the penalty, beating Ederson from the spot to put United 1-0 up, scoring the first goal in three matches. Luke Shaw then had a good chance a few minutes later after Joao Cancelo’s dithering on the ball resulted in United regaining possession in the box and Shaw firing into Ederson, who made the save to deny United from going 2-0 up early in the match. United have turned up today.

City started to get themselves back into the game after going 1-0 down but Kevin De Bruyne was really not in the zone, which was a worrying sight for the Noisy Neighbours. City grew into the clash, getting more of the ball and starting to control the game, despite not being very fluent in front of goal at this stage. United may find themselves walking a tightrope at stages in the match and they will need to keep the pressure off them by retaining the ball themselves and pressuring City. The home side had a few chances to get something back from the match but wayward shooting and United defending well got the better of their shots, which saw United still in the lead on the midway point of the half.

Dean Henderson was having a positive game for United in the first half, making one good save to deny City from getting level inn the match, which was good to see, He seems to be much more vocal in the box than David De Gea, which is a good sign that he has all the ingredients to take his place in the team under Solskjaer. These next few matches will be good for him to continue showing just what he can do for his club. Harry Maguire was the first player in the match to be booked around the 33rd minute of the match, which is something he will need to stem if he does not want a suspension. Henderson made another good save to deny City in the 38th minute of the match, which is good going for the goalkeeper. It was still 1-0 to United at the end of the half.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half with United looking to double their lead from the early stages of the half, which came true for them. In the 50th minute of the match, Dean Henderson threw the ball out to Luke Shaw, who ran up the left flank and played the ball out to Marcus Rashford, who was further out on the flank. Shaw then cut in towards the box with a crowded Rashford playing the ball into the box, he took a second before launching his shot, beating Ederson, who watched the ball cross the line for United’s second of the match. Shaw was then booked in the 58th minute of the match with Henderson booked for time wasting two minutes later. United needed to keep this heads at this stage of the game.

United were close to scoring a third goal in the 69th minute of the match, which resulted in a corner but Ederson claimed it with City then on the attack. United have been in top form in the second half and actually look like the Premier League leaders, more than the leaders themselves. There was still 20 minutes to play and City were so far not getting anywhere, but that could all change if United lose their footing. Rashford seemed to be injured in the 72nd minute of the match, coming off at the nearest point with Mason Greenwood getting ready to come on. Henderson, who had a goal kick, played the ball out to allow the substitution but Greenwood was not really. He came on in the 73rd minute, switching sides with Daniel James, to help push for a victory.

With just under ten minutes remaining, United broke through again with Fernandes, who played a pass to Greenwood, who was on the right flank. He ran into the box and tried to pass further into the box to aim for a third goal. The ball was just short of Daniel James, who was in the middle of the box only for City to regain possession and launch an attack, which according to the commentators, was brilliant but did not result in a goal. United still needed to keep on top of their game here as there was a feeling that City could get a goal back, which would inspire them to get another, then a winner. Solskjaer’s side were the dominant one, despite the City onslaught at times, which was a worry, despite how dire they were.

Nemanja Matic replaced Anthony Martial in the 88th minute, Solskjaer’s second substitution of the match. Martial had a good game and look determined to change his form, which was good to see. He was up for the challenge and did well to help United take the lead, winning a penalty, which was scored in the second minute of the match. There was five minutes to be added on at the end of the half, which would see City looking to get something from this match. Solskjaer made his final substation with Brandon Williams replacing Fernandes in the third minute of added time, which resulted in a defensive shakeup to keep City at bay to close the game down and earn the victory.

United will be thrilled with their performances against City in the league this season, taking four points off them home and away and winning at the Etihad once again. This is what United needed to raise their game towards the end of the season with all to play for yet. United will face AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, which is their only home match this month. It is important that United keep going as there are things to play for this season with their form in the Premier League showing improvement, the Emirates FA Cup still to play for, with Leicester City their opposition later this month at the King Power Stadium. The Europa League could be for the taking if United play their cards right.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made an important save to deny Mahrez. Was a big hit in goal against City and did not seem to be flustered at all. His pre-assist for Shaw's goal was great thinking. This clean sheet will mean more to him and United. Good to see him get more game time and it was well deserved.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Got forward a lot of the time with United pushing to score goals. City were feckless at times, which was great to see. What a run to end though. United have a lot to play for this season. The league title might be out of reach but the improvement is there and there is a challenge happening, no matter how credible.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The clean sheet will be a defining point for United. He defended well as City seemed off the boil. Partnered Maguire well despite carrying a lower back injury.

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5 Harry Maguire

Had a good match in defence, despite being booked. Showed determination to keep United driving forward.

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23 Luke Shaw

What a performance from the left-back. He drove forward the majority of the match, until City were on the attack, in which he defended his ground. Five minutes into the second half, he drove forward with the ball, laid it off to Rashford, who passed back, then scored the second goal of the match, putting United into a good lead. He recently won the Player of the Month award for February and will be seeking to build on that inn his best season at the club.

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17 Fred

A better performance for the Brazilian. He had fun against City today, even nutmegging the opposition at times. He ran and kept the midfield ticking, which was good to see.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played an important part in the victory over City and was no doubt inspired by his performance at Old Trafford a year ago, in which he scored the second goal from some distance. He did not score today, but his performance was big and needed as United took three points off City at the Etihad again.

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Ratings: Fernandes and Shaw give United victory over City; Martial’s performance was a key point in the victory – Solskjaer will be pleased

He was an important player against City and used his pace and ability to get United forward

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18 Bruno Fernandes

He's back. Scored his 23rd goal of the season, from the penalty spot, in the second minute of the match after Martial was fouled in the box by Jesus. Created a lot throughout the match as United dominated with City scrappy in both defence and in attack. Good to see him back on track at an important stage of the season.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Played a good game for United, using his pace to get the back into the danger areas and get United forward. He had hard luck in the first half but got his assist as United doubled their lead through Shaw in the 50th minute of the match. He got an injury in the 72nd minute and came off with Greenwood replacing him.

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9 Anthony Martial

Won a penalty, which was scored by Fernandes in the second minute of the match. He did not get any goals or assists but you could see that he was ready for this match and wanted to change his form. He was not smiling, but he's going in the right direction to make things better, which is good to see.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 73'. It was a shame to lose Rashford to injury, which will be a worry. He used his pace and attacking threat to get forward, which was good for him. He might well be starting the next match if Rashford is out so he will get his time to shine.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Martial 88'. Came on with two minutes and added time to play. Bolstered the defence and his replacement has the effect is needed - to keep United on top and claiming the victory. Had little time to make more of an impact.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Fernandes 90+3'. Came on with two minutes of added time to play. His introduction made Solskjaer's side more defensive, with a City onslaught likely but never really happened. Not really enough time on the pitch to make an impact.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 2′ penalty, Luke Shaw 40′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 50′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; James, Fernandes (Williams 90+3′), Rashford (Greenwood 73′); Martial (Matic 88′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Shoretire

Bookings: Harry Maguire 33′, Luke Shaw 58′, Dean Henderson 60′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Lindelof, McTominay, James, Fernandes, Rashford and Martial start against Manchester City

Manchester United face the biggest match of the Premier League season when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have drawn the last three matches in a row with the same 0-0 scoreline, which at this stage is a problem as United did not seem to be able to score any goals. Pep Guardiola’s City sit at the top of the Premier League, having a 14 point lead over United, which was not the case in January. Solskjaer’s side will need to find a way to break down the league leaders, which will be problematic as they are in great form, winning all of their last six matches, which will see them push to win the league at some point next month. United need to get a win on the board to save their season.

Last season, Solskjaer did the double over City, winning both at home and away, also beating them in one of the semi-final legs of the Carabao Cup, losing the other and seeing themselves knocked out of the competition, which was the same this season, although it was just a one-legged tie. United are unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions, their last seven in the Premier League. However, in the league, the majority of the last seven matches (six) were all draws which is not great form heading into the biggest match of the season for Solskjaer and his United squad. David De Gea looks to be out of action for the foreseeable future, after becoming a father so this will be an even bigger match for Dean Henderson.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Grant; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo, Matic, Shoretire; Greenwood

Manchester City:

Ederson;

Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko;

De Bruyne, Rodrigo, Gundogan;

Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Substitutes:

Steffen; Walker, Laporte, Mendy; Bernardo, Torres, Fernandinho, Foden; Aguero

United and City have met 47 times in the history of the Premier League with this weekend’s Manchester derby the 48th in the English top flight. United have won 23 times, drawing nine times with City winning 15 times. United have scored 68 goals against City, conceding 61. United have been awarded a total of four penalties, scoring three of them with City being awarded one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept 17 clean sheets against City with the Blue side of Manchester keeping 10 clean sheets. United’s players have been shown 81 yellow cards and seven red cards with City’s players shown 106 yellow cards and one red card. City are currently 14 points clear of United and to avoid falling further behind, United need to win this match.

Earlier this season, it was a 0-0 draw between United and City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League. United met City in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, losing that match 2-0 at the start of January. Almost a year ago on the 8 March 2020, United and City met at Old Trafford in the Premier League last season. It was the last match that United played in front of supporters at home and they beat City 2-0 with Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay scoring the goals. Last season at the Etihad, played on the 7 December 2019, United were the victors with a 2-1 victory with Marcus Rashford opening the score from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute and Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. Nicolas Otamendi scored a consolation.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Cavani and Rashford up top, Fernandes in behind; Diallo and James to come on in the second half and use their pace to frustrate City?

Manchester United face the biggest match of the Premier League season when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have drawn the last three matches in a row with the same 0-0 scoreline, which at this stage is a problem as United did not seem to be able to score any goals. Pep Guardiola’s City sit at the top of the Premier League, having a 14 point lead over United, which was not the case in January. Solskjaer’s side will need to find a way to break down the league leaders, which will be problematic as they are in great form, winning all of their last six matches, which will see them push to win the league at some point next month. United need to get a win on the board to save their season.

Last season, Solskjaer did the double over City, winning both at home and away, also beating them in one of the semi-final legs of the Carabao Cup, losing the other and seeing themselves knocked out of the competition, which was the same this season, although it was just a one-legged tie. United are unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions, their last seven in the Premier League. However, in the league, the majority of the last seven matches (six) were all draws which is not great form heading into the biggest match of the season for Solskjaer and his United squad. David De Gea looks to be out of action for the foreseeable future, after becoming a father so this will be an even bigger match for Dean Henderson.

How United have faired against Manchester City in the Premier League.

United and City have met 47 times in the history of the Premier League with this weekend’s Manchester derby the 48th in the English top flight. United have won 23 times, drawing nine times with City winning 15 times. United have scored 68 goals against City, conceding 61. United have been awarded a total of four penalties, scoring three of them with City being awarded one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept 17 clean sheets against City with the Blue side of Manchester keeping 10 clean sheets. United’s players have been shown 81 yellow cards and seven red cards with City’s players shown 106 yellow cards and one red card. City are currently 14 points clear of United and to avoid falling further behind, United need to win this match.

Earlier this season, it was a 0-0 draw between United and City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League. United met City in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, losing that match 2-0 at the start of January. Almost a year ago on the 8 March 2020, United and City met at Old Trafford in the Premier League last season. It was the last match that United played in front of supporters at home and they beat City 2-0 with Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay scoring the goals. Last season at the Etihad, played on the 7 December 2019, United were the victors with a 2-1 victory with Marcus Rashford opening the score from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute and Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. Nicolas Otamendi scored a consolation.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has kept nine clean sheets in 14 appearances for United this season, which is a good record for the 23-year-old who is enduring his first season as a United goalkeeper. He is the future of the club and with David De Gea taking some time out after becoming a father this week, Henderson will have ample time to show Solskjaer what he is capable of. Last season at Sheffield United, Henderson faced City twice, since ding three goals in the 2-0 and 1-0 defeats home and away. At United, he will be seeking to have a good appearances against the Premier League leaders with United needing a win to claw back some of City’s 14 point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence will need to continue their current form against City, keeping three clean sheets in their last three matches is a positive, in fact it is the only positive. United got a draw against City earlier in the season and could use that tops for a good result at the Etihad for the second time in two seasons. Last season, United beat City home and away and with a point already gained against City this season, there is some positivity to look towards. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places at fullback with Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire in the centre of defence. Shaw was recently named as United’s player of the month for February and he will be seeking to continue his fine form this season.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

A midfield three might be better for United against City as they will need to defend well, which is something Nemanja Matic can do well, despite his lack of pace, run the midfield and get balls to the attacking players. Fred has bee criticised over the past week or so for not doing much other than running. His shots on goal are poor and perhaps he needs to go back to the basics and man-mark, which is something he has done well at stages this season. Scott McTominay is having a good season, with five goals scored so far this season and he will be well up for getting a good result against City this weekend, guiding his tea, to a positive result against the Premier League leaders. United need to step up and this match would be the perfect match to do just that.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has scored 22 goals and 13 assists so far this season and in the last three matches, he has not been able to inspire United to victory, like he has done so many times since he arrived at the club in January 2020. Players are able to have a few off matches, that is all part of football but he will need to find the root cause of his problems and get to the bottom of them. Each and every player on the pitch will need to do the same. United need to get back to winning ways and doing that at the expense if City will be good for the club and inspire them to keep fighting this season. United have a lot of negative supporters right now, who seem to know more than everyone else. Shutting them up this weekend would be great to see. Especially the shouty man.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford

Edinson Cavani is United’s best forward this season, despite the fact he has not yet scored more than seven goals and two assists, which is still a good return as the goals have been coming elsewhere on the pitch. Seeing the Uruguayan run riot at the Etihad, just like Robin van Persie, would be great to see this weekend – fingers crossed. Solskjaer should change the shape United for this match, choosing two forward playing together, which might create more chances for United. Cavani will get more space on the pitch, which could in turn create goalscoring opportunities for other players and even himself. Marcus Rashford should partner him up top, which could see some pace and ability with Fernandes pulling the strings in terms of creation.

Substitutes: Lee Grant; Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Amad Diallo, Donny van de Beek, Shola Shoretire; Mason Greenwood

United can name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League, using three of them during the course of the match. Solskjaer will need to get things right, which may be problematic with the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata on the sidelines through injury. David De Gea is also missing, which means Lee Grant will be the substitute goalkeeper for this match. Nathan Bishop might even get a chance on the bench, if Grant is coaching, which is what he has been doing recently. In defence, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could be available. In midfield, Amad Diallo, Donny van de Beek and Shola Shoretire could be options with Mason Greenwood the only attacking player on the bench, if Anthony Martial is not fit.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer needs to set United up to beat City to get back on track; after three draws, these players need to stand up and be counted

Manchester City -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Sunday 7 March 2021, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Manchester United face the biggest match of the Premier League season when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have drawn the last three matches in a row with the same 0-0 scoreline, which at this stage is a problem as United did not seem to be able to score any goals. Pep Guardiola’s City sit at the top of the Premier League, having a 14 point lead over United, which was not the case in January. Solskjaer’s side will need to find a way to break down the league leaders, which will be problematic as they are in great form, winning all of their last six matches, which will see them push to win the league at some point next month. United need to get a win on the board to save their season.

Last season, Solskjaer did the double over City, winning both at home and away, also beating them in one of the semi-final legs of the Carabao Cup, losing the other and seeing themselves knocked out of the competition, which was the same this season, although it was just a one-legged tie. United are unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions, their last seven in the Premier League. However, in the league, the majority of the last seven matches (six) were all draws which is not great form heading into the biggest match of the season for Solskjaer and his United squad. David De Gea looks to be out of action for the foreseeable future, after becoming a father so this will be an even bigger match for Dean Henderson.

Manchester United: DDDWWD

Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Chelsea 0-0 D, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Newcastle United 3-1 W, Real Sociedad 4-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D

Manchester City: WWWWWW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 W, West Ham United 2-1 W, Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 W, Arsenal 1-0 W, Everton 3-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 W

Top Scorers: Manchester United have not scored a single goal in their last three matches; Fernandes and Rashford have 40 goals between them this season.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek

United have drawn their last three matches in a row with the same 0-0 scoreline, which is poor. Against Crystal Palace earlier in the week, it seemed that United were devoid of confidence and had no ability to breakdown the home side, which is a major worry heading into the second Manchester derby of the season with United needing a win so badly. Solskjaer’s side have not been defeated in their last ten matches in all competitions and still have their good form away from home, which leave some hope left on the table for a good result to keep their away form record running. Solskjaer will need to get his squad to stand up and be counted against the Premier League leaders.

Manchester City Goals: 13 – Ilkay Gündogan, Raheem Sterling, 11 – Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, 8 – Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres, 5 – Bernardo Silva, 4 – John Stones, 3 – Kevin De Bruyne, 2 – Sergio Agüero, João Cancelo, Kyle Walker, 1 – Nathan Aké, Liam Delap, Rúben Dias, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Rodri

City are the team to beat this season. Back in January, with them playing fewer matches than United, they were languishing outside of the top four with United climbing to the top of the Premier League table. United’s form dropped and it allowed City to open up a 14 point lead over them at the top of the table, which is some comeback for Guardiola’s side. City have won their last six matches, scoring 15 goals, conceding three and keeping three clean sheets, which is the form of a club that is seeking to regain the Premier League title after Liverpool won it last season. United are still in the race but as each draw happens, their chances dip and it seems unlikely, as it did back in January when they topped the league. There has been progress though.

Team News: Four players ruled out for United with three more subject to late fitness tests ahead of the Manchester derby; City have no injury worries with one players close to returning to action at this stage of the season.

Phil Jones (knee), David De Gea (personal), Juan Mata (other) and Paul Pogba (thigh) have all been ruled out of the clash with City this weekend, which is a blow with De Gea being out of action, but he became a father for the first time on Thursday, so he should spend time with his new family. Victor Lindelof (lower back) seems to have suffered a recurrence of his injury, although he was on the bench in the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening. Anthony Martial (knee) was missing earlier in the week and has a 50% chance of recovering in time to face City whereas Donny van de Beek (other) was also missing but he has only a 25% chance of being fit to face City, which leave United with a few problems to solve this weekend.

Nathan Ake was the only player on the sidelines for City heading into the second Manchester derby of the season. The central defender looks to be in contention for the clash at the Etihad Stadium having a 75% chance of being fit in time for the 16:30 kick-off on Sunday. City have a strong team and have done for the past few years with Guardiola doing all the right things to set his team up domestically. United will have a big task on their hands to get a good result against the Noisy Neighbours but it is a possibility. United players will need to be fired up to face their rivals, who are 14 points ahead of them in the Premier League table. Solskjaer will need to get his tactics right and the players will need to stand up and be counted.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford to lead the line against City, supported by Bruno Fernandes; Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay to play in a three-man midfield?

Solskjaer has few options at this stage of the season with four players ruled out of this match and three more not yet fit to take part, which could change before Sunday come around. Edinson Cavani returned from injury during the week and looks set to keep his place in the team. Solskjaer should perhaps chance the shape of the team, using two forwards instead of one and letting the fullbacks provide the width, to see if it gives them any luck against City, who will be pushing United into their own half to take charge of the clash. A midfield trio of Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay is the best we can hope for at this stage with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in defence with Dean Henderson in goal.

Match Prediction: United and City will meet for the 48th time in the Premier League on Sunday. United have won 23 times, drawing nine and losing 15 but City will be the team to beat this season.

United and City have met 47 times in the history of the Premier League with this weekend’s Manchester derby the 48th in the English top flight. United have won 23 times, drawing nine times with City winning 15 times. United have scored 68 goals against City, conceding 61. United have been awarded a total of four penalties, scoring three of them with City being awarded one penalty and failing to score it. United have kept 17 clean sheets against City with the Blue side of Manchester keeping 10 clean sheets. United’s players have been shown 81 yellow cards and seven red cards with City’s players shown 106 yellow cards and one red card. City are currently 14 points clear of United and to avoid falling further behind, United need to win this match.

Earlier this season, it was a 0-0 draw between United and City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League. United met City in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, losing that match 2-0 at the start of January. Almost a year ago on the 8 March 2020, United and City met at Old Trafford in the Premier League last season. It was the last match that United played in front of supporters at home and they beat City 2-0 with Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay scoring the goals. Last season at the Etihad, played on the 7 December 2019, United were the victors with a 2-1 victory with Marcus Rashford opening the score from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute and Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. Nicolas Otamendi scored a consolation.

Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Lindelof, Pogba, Fernandes, Martial and Rashford start against City in the Carabao Cup semi-final

Manchester United will go head to head with Manchester City once again in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to push his team into their first final. This evening, it will be the second Manchester derby of the season at the Theatre of Dreams with United reaching the same stage of the competition that they did last season, seeking to get further this season – it being the fourth semi-final Solskjaer has managed the club, losing the previous three. Last season, this was a two-legged match but because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a one off tie this season.

The final this season has been delayed until April, giving supporters a chance to be at Wembley instead of the match being played behind closed doors, as is the case in the country at this time. The match will kick of at 19:45 GMT and will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports. United have seemingly turned a corner this season with an uptick in form and results, being that Solskjaer’s side are undefeated in their last six matches, winning five and drawing once, which was against Leicester City on Boxing Day. United and City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford some weeks ago too.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Fernandes;

Martial, Rashford

Substitutes:

De Gea; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

Manchester City:

Steffen;

Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko;

Fernandinho, Gundogan;

Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden;

Sterling

Substitutes:

Trafford; Walker, Mendy, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete; Rodrigo, Nmecha; Jesus, Aguero

United and City have met 18 times in domestic cups (FA Cup and League Cup). United have won 10 times, drawing once times and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals against with City scoring 26 goals. United have kept five clean sheets against their noisy neighbours in cup competitions. United have faced City nine times in the FA Cup and nine times in the League Cup (now the Carabao Cup). In the League Cup, United have won four times, drawing once and losing four times, scoring 11 goals and conceding 14. In the FA Cup, United have won six times, losing three times, scoring 18 goals and conceding 12. United and City last met in a cup competition last season.

In the Carabao Cup during the 2019/20 season, United and City were drawn against each other at this same stage, the semi-final. Back then, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, this was a two-legged fixture. In the first match, which was played at Old Trafford, City won 3-1 with Bernardo Silva (17), Riyad Mahrez (33) and an Andreas Pereira own goal (39) all coming in the first half. Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal in the 70th minute. In the second leg, played at the Etihad, it was a 1-0 victory for United with the only goal of the match scored by Nemanja Matic in the 35th minute with United losing 3-2 on aggregate, which was a shame. United will be seeking to avenge that first semi-final defeat last season, aiming to win this one.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-1-2-1-2] Wan-Bissaka and Telles to provide width with Pogba controlling the midfield and Fernandes supporting the attack?

Manchester United will go head to head with Manchester City once again in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to push his team into their first final. On Wednesday evening, it will be the second Manchester derby of the season at the Theatre of Dreams with United reaching the same stage of the competition that they did last season, seeking to get further this season – it being the fourth semi-final Solskjaer has managed the club, losing the previous three. Last season, this was a two-legged match but because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a one off tie this season.

The final this season has been delayed until April, giving supporters a chance to be at Wembley instead of the match being played behind closed doors, as is the case in the country at this time. The match will kick of at 19:45 GMT and will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports. United have seemingly turned a corner this season with an uptick in form and results, being that Solskjaer’s side are undefeated in their last six matches, winning five and drawing once, which was against Leicester City on Boxing Day. United and City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford some weeks ago too.

How United have faired against Manchester City in the domestic cups (FA Cup and the League Cup).

United and City have met 18 times in domestic cups (FA Cup and League Cup). United have won 10 times, drawing once times and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals against with City scoring 26 goals. United have kept five clean sheets against their noisy neighbours in cup competitions. United have faced City nine times in the FA Cup and nine times in the League Cup (now the Carabao Cup). In the League Cup, United have won four times, drawing once and losing four times, scoring 11 goals and conceding 14. In the FA Cup, United have won six times, losing three times, scoring 18 goals and conceding 12. United and City last met in a cup competition last season.

In the Carabao Cup during the 2019/20 season, United and City were drawn against each other at this same stage, the semi-final. Back then, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, this was a two-legged fixture. In the first match, which was played at Old Trafford, City won 3-1 with Bernardo Silva (17), Riyad Mahrez (33) and an Andreas Pereira own goal (39) all coming in the first half. Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal in the 70th minute. In the second leg, played at the Etihad, it was a 1-0 victory for United with the only goal of the match scored by Nemanja Matic in the 35th minute with United losing 3-2 on aggregate, which was a shame. United will be seeking to avenge that first semi-final defeat last season, aiming to win this one.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has played in all of United’s Carabao Cup matches this season and this should be no different. David De Gea has an important part to play for United in the Premier League and beyond so in the cup matches, Henderson should be given the chance. Of course, with this match being against City, it is possible that De Gea will start, leaving Henderson for the Watford match in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, so there is still an option for him to play a part in the cup competitions. Personally, seeing De Gea play ahead of him, having seen United get this far, keeping three clean sheets, would not be great.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence has stepped up their game this season. Eric Bailly has been a stand out performer in the past couple of matches since Victor Lindelof has been on the sidelines through a lower back injury. Against City, I would expect both Bailly and Harry Maguire to start in the centre of the defence flanked by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles. Wan-Bissaka has been a defensive rock the majority of the time for United with calls, even from myself, for him to do more in attack. Telles’ experience will be welcome against City, whilst will hopefully see him turn a corner after some bad performances so far this season.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred, Paul Pogba

A three-man midfield against City could go a long way to putting United into their first final under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United have played in three semi-finals, losing them all so far and will be seeking to turn this one around after being beaten at the same stage by City last season, 3-2 on aggregate. This being a one-off match could see a much different result. Fred should play as the defensive minded player with Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba playing a more midfield game, connecting the defence to the attack, which will see Wan-Bissaka and Telles play the width going forward.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is the man in form this season, scoring 15 goals and 11 assists so far this season – 26 goal contributions. Those that are jealous of the player will mock his penalty scoring to try to suggest United have been cheating but VAR has been at play and it is perfectly fine the United are winning penalties. It is not as if another team, Leicester City, have been rewarded well this season too, is it? Fernandes is a baller and despite the odd poor match where he doesn’t score or assist, he plays a passive part and leads from the front. Some say he should be the captain, but he’s one of the leaders in the team, which is fine the way it is.

Forwards: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Anthony Martial has now scored five goals this season with Rashford scoring 14 – 19 goals between them. The duo have assisted four times each, making 27 goal contributions between them. United rarely play with two forwards at the moment but I believe this enhances the squad, given that Mason Greenwood, Odion Ighalo and the suspended Edinson Cavani are amongst the ranks, for the rest of this month at least in respect of Ighalo. United should be able to thrive with Rashford and Martial being fed by Fernandes and even Pogba, which should see United reign in the Carabao Cup this season, at least getting to the final.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic; Mason Greenwood, Odion Ighalo

The Carabao Cup have announced that all teams in the semi-final stage of the competition will be able to name nine substitutes on the bench, as is now the case in the Premier League, using five of them, which is great as United have just come out of a tough December and could face a tough January with as many as nine matches to be played and as few as eight. David De Gea should be on the bench, just in case he is needed against the noisy neighbours. In defence, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe should be sufficient. In midfield, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic could all be options with Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo in the bench in an attacking sense, if United need them late in the match.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Manchester United -v- Manchester City – Carabao Cup – United to push City aside to earn place in the final?

Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 6 January 2021, KO 19:45 GMT

Referee: Martin Atkinson  Assistants: Harry Lennard, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United will go head to head with Manchester City once again in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to push his team into their first final. On Wednesday evening, it will be the second Manchester derby of the season at the Theatre of Dreams with United reaching the same stage of the competition that they did last season, seeking to get further this season – it being the fourth semi-final Solskjaer has managed the club, losing the previous three. Last season, this was a two-legged match but because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a one off tie this season.

The final this season has been delayed until April, giving supporters a chance to be at Wembley instead of the match being played behind closed doors, as is the case in the country at this time. The match will kick of at 19:45 GMT and will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports. United have seemingly turned a corner this season with an uptick in form and results, being that Solskjaer’s side are undefeated in their last six matches, winning five and drawing once, which was against Leicester City on Boxing Day. United and City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford some weeks ago too.

Manchester United: WWDWWW

Aston Villa 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 2-2 D, Everton 2-0 W, Leeds United 6-2 W, Sheffield United 3-2 W

Manchester City: WWWWDD

Chelsea 3-1 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Arsenal 4-1 W, Southampton 1-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Manchester United 0-0 D

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have score 29 goals between them this season with 55 goals scored in all competitions. City have scored just 45 with Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres scoring seven goals each.

Manchester United Goals: 15 – Bruno Fernandes, 14 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Edinson Cavani, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, 2 – Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have scored 16 goals, conceded seven, kept two clean sheets, winning five and drawing one of their last six matches. United have seen themselves rise to second in the Premier League, which is a good example of the way things have chanced over the course of the season so far. United exited the UEFA Champions League in December, falling into the UEFA Europa League but this seems to have made the players more determined of achieving something this season. There is positivity to be seen in this squad of players but some seem to ignore that, concentrating on the negativity and their agendas. Sad really.

Manchester City Goals: 7 – Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, 6 – Phil Foden, 5 – Ilkay Gündogan, Riyad Mahrez, 4 – Gabriel Jesus, 3 – Kevin De Bruyne, 2 – Sergio Agüero, 1 – Nathan Aké, João Cancelo, Liam Delap, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker

With have scored 11 goals, conceding three, keeping three clean sheets, winning four and drawing twice in their last six matches. City sit fifth in the league and will have two games in hand over both Leicester City and Liverpool before they kick a ball against United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. It has not been the best season for City, who were unstoppable over the past few years but seem to be easy to stop this season, unless you are Chelsea or Arsenal, who both got destroyed by the club. This season could be different for City, who need to do well on the pitch to even challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title this season.

Team News: Six players missing for City and four players missing for United ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final. City’s coronavirus test positives could give United an advantage, not that they did Chelsea much good.

Phil Jones (knee), Victor Lindelof (lower back) and Marcos Rojo (calf) are all ruled out of the clash with City on Wednesday evening. Edinson Cavani was banned last week for three matches, sitting out the first in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, also missing the clash with City in the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup clash with Watford. The Uruguayan Football Association released a statement on Monday to contest the treatment of Cavani, but it is unlikely that the FA will do anything about it. Still, it is only two matches and he will be back ready for the Liverpool match, which is the important one this month.

Aymeric Laporte (thigh), Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Eric Garcia (Covid-19) are likely to miss the clash with United on Wednesday, however, negative tests could result in the affected players being allowed to resume training, providing they are fit to do that. Ilkay Gundogan was on the sidelines with a foot injury prior to Sunday’s victory over Chelsea, him scoring the first goal of the match, so this means he should be fit to face United, after a longer period of rest because of postponed matches because of coronavirus. City have won the Carabao Cup for the last three seasons.

Predicted Starting XI: Dean Henderson to continue playing in the Carabao Cup this season? Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles to start in defence?

Solskjaer has a few options ahead fo the City clash in the Carabao Cup but will be without Edinson Cavani, who received a three-match suspension for his tweet after the victory of Everton earlier this season. It has been announced that teams in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup will be able to name nine players on the bench, using five of them throughout the match. I think the formation will chance to a 4-1-2-1-2 with Dean Henderson keeping his place in the Carabao Cup this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles will start in defence. Fred, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba will start in midfield with Bruno Fernandes playing just behind both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Match Prediction: 18 matches played in the domestic cups between United and City. United have won 10, drawing once and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals, conceding 26.

United and City have met 18 times in domestic cups (FA Cup and League Cup). United have won 10 times, drawing once times and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals against with City scoring 26 goals. United have kept five clean sheets against their noisy neighbours in cup competitions. United have faced City nine times in the FA Cup and nine times in the League Cup (now the Carabao Cup). In the League Cup, United have won four times, drawing once and losing four times, scoring 11 goals and conceding 14. In the FA Cup, United have won six times, losing three times, scoring 18 goals and conceding 12. United and City last met in a cup competition last season.

In the Carabao Cup during the 2019/20 season, United and City were drawn against each other at this same stage, the semi-final. Back then, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, this was a two-legged fixture. In the first match, which was played at Old Trafford, City won 3-1 with Bernardo Silva (17), Riyad Mahrez (33) and an Andreas Pereira own goal (39) all coming in the first half. Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal in the 70th minute. In the second leg, played at the Etihad, it was a 1-0 victory for United with the only goal of the match scored by Nemanja Matic in the 35th minute with United losing 3-2 on aggregate, which was a shame. United will be seeking to avenge that first semi-final defeat last season, aiming to win this one.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Written by John Walker

Ratings: United have little to show for a Manchester derby draw. Creativity stuttered with City uninspiring

Manchester United draw 0-0 with Manchester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It was the 183rd Manchester derby and a pretty uninspiring display of football from supposedly a team unable to string a few good performances together and another team managed by the genius of all things football. United had 11 shots on goal; two of those on target. City had nine shots; two of those on target. It was a poor result for both teams, who were seeking to propel themselves further up the table but a draw and a clean sheet will be the positives for both clubs. United will play Sheffield United on Thursday.

It was a pretty uninspiring first half for both sides in the first Manchester derby of the season. United had seven shots on goal with City having four – both teams having just one shot on target. This was not really a positive for either side, who would need to win here to put their season back on track. Neither team would benefit from a draw. Solskjaer’s side needed to get something from this match to overcome the fact that they have exited the Champions League this week, topping the group before the match with RB Leipzig and only needing a point from the match and losing 3-2, going 3-0 down before winning a penalty..

At the start of the second half, United seemed to win a penalty after Marcus Rashford was fouled in the box. Although, Rashford was offside on his run into the box. The referee gave a penalty but VAR ruled Rashford offside, so nothing was given. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 74th minute of the match with Anthony Martial replacing Mason Greenwood. City had a good chance from a free-kick to get ahead but United’s wall dealt with the pressure and the danger from the set-piece. It seemed destined that this was going to be a 0-0 draw with neither side really getting a half decent chance to break the deadlock.

United face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in the Premier League on Thursday evening, which starts the busy festive period where United will play every three days until the 29 December, then having a four day break before the first match of 2021. Solskjaer will be seeking to get his team ready for this bust festive period where they will hope to gain some ground in the league with all teams heading towards the half-way point of the Premier League season in January, which normally seems to show the teams that could break away in the race for the Premier League title. United have 20 points this season and could be seven points adrift of the top spot after the final matches are played on Sunday.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The goalkeeper did not really have much to do against the Noisy Neighbours. He seemed to be determined to keep his positioning and commanded his area.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

He tackled well and did his job in a game which was boring and easy to lose concentration.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Stopped City with a find last-ditch tackle, which stopped the neighbours from scoring in the second half. Did what he needed to do for the rest of the match.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led his side to an uninspiring derby which resulted in a 0-0 draw. A clean sheet and a point are the only positives from the match.

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23 Luke Shaw

Seemed injured at one point in the match, but recovered. Got forward for much of the match and did his job, which is what you would expect anyway.

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39 Scott McTominay

Broke forward in the first half and could have found the back of the net. He seemed more determined than most to get something from the match, at least in the early stages.

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17 Fred

Looked to have suffered an injury in the opening five minutes of the match but recovered and completed the game for United. Good to see him back, even if his side were uninspiring throughout the match.

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6 Paul Pogba

Did well in a very lacklustre Manchester derby. He did what he needed to do in midfield but offered little to break through for United in their pursuit of an opening goal against a City side that could have been there for the taking.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

His first Manchester derby. Uninspiring to say the least. He tried to score some long-range efforts but was wide of the target. It's not an ideal result but it is a point for United.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The teenager was not really at the top of his game against City, but that said, not one player on the pitch seemed to be on top of their game. He got forward al lot of the time but there was no real end product for United. He was replaced by Martial in the 74th minute of the match.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had a chance at the start of the second half and won a penalty after being fouled in the City box. He was offside and the penalty was scrapped by VAR. He got forward for much of the match but the chances were few and far between.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Greenwood 74'. Came on late in the game with United needing a goal to win the match. Granted he's not going to be fully up to speed, I thought his performance was poor and he offered little going forward.

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Goals:

Assists:

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Fernandes; Greenwood (Martial 74′), Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Harry Maguire 79′; Fernandinho 87′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Rashford, Greenwood, Fred, McTominay and Fernandes start in the 183rd Manchester derby

The 183rd Manchester derby will be played at Old Trafford this 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Fernandes;

Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial

Manchester City:

Ederson;

Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo;

Rodrigo, Fernandinho;

Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling;

Jesus

Substitutes:

Steffen; Laporte, Mendy; Gundogan, Silva, Torres, Foden

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Homegrown Rashford and Greenwood to lead the line against Manchester City? Fernandes, Van de Beek, Fred and McTominay in midfield?

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.

How United have faired against Manchester City in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Last season, whilst at Sheffield United, Henderson played twice in the Premier League against City, conceding twice in the first meeting and once in the second. The 23-year-old is a promising player for United and could hold the keys to being the next number one at the club. David De Gea’s form has been questionable of late with 10 goals conceded in the past five matches. Henderson have played 404 minutes of football for United so far this season and will be expecting more playing time as he looks to become the number one goalkeeper for the club, which is a feat he is more than capable of completing.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence can have good days and bad days. In the past five matches, ten goals have been conceded and this needs to start changing. The players need to stand up and be counted in order for the club to prevail on and off the pitch. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw could play in the fullback positions in a back four with Axel Tuanzebe and Harry Maguire playing in the central defensive area. United are starting to get players back from injury with both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof able to be called upon. I feel the latter would benefit from a break, keeping him fresh for the remainder of this tough month.

Midfield Three: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Fred

United have a strong midfield, at least on paper. Solskjaer will need to find the best balance he has and a three-man midfield playing just behind Bruno Fernandes might work well to keep United in their matches. Of late, United have been dominated in midfield and that should not really be happening. Solskjaer will need to solve the defensive problem that he has with Nemanja Matic no longer able to start back to back matches. Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Fred might be the best options in this formation with Fred marking his opponents, McTominay doing the defensive-minded tasks and Van de Beek pushing forward to support Fernandes and the attacking players to open up the opposition defence, which he something he does well.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder has scored 11 goals and added seven assists so far this season, which is a great start for the player. He is obviously upset about United’s exit from the Champions League and will be looking to give his all for the club so that can overcome that defeat on Tuesday and their exit from the competition. The Europa League beckons once agains for United, which is not ideal but still a chance to win a trophy, which is what Solskjaer will be looking to do. Some problems will need to be ironed out before that happens though. Fernandes is an inspiration when in form and ready to go – hopefully that happens against City – his first Manchester derby since signing for the club in January 2020.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

Two homegrown players could lead the line for United in the Manchester derby, which will be a proud moment for both of them. This season, Marcus Rashford has scored ten goals for his club, providing three more assists whereas Mason Greenwood has scored three goals with two assists so far, which shows that more could be done but this is most likely down to the fact he has not played as many minutes as his teammate. Rashford and Greenwood are all United have to tackle City this weekend with the prospect that both Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial will be missing due to injury.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Daniel James; Odion Ighalo

Three substitutes to make a difference in the Premier League should United’s starting XI not be able to do the business on the pitch. With the expected absences of Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial, United will be light in attacking players. David De Gea could be available on the bench with Henderson my pick to start against City. In defence, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles could offer something with Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams rested ahead of a busy period ahead. In midfield, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Daniel James could be called upon with Odion Ighalo the sole attacking player on the bench.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW