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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

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

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

Gary Neville’s prediction sees Manchester United and Chelsea hampered in Premier League title race

Former Manchester United captain and Class of 1992 graduate Gary Neville believes that United and Chelsea have little chance of winning the Premier League title whilst Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola manager both Liverpool and Manchester City respectively. Both Liverpool and City have dominated the Premier League over the last three years with City winning the league twice and Liverpool winning their first Premier League title last season. Both United and Chelsea are aiming to close the gap on the two clubs.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard both saw their clubs finish third and fourth respectively last season and so far this summer, Lampard has had the best transfer window in signing Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, and Kai Havertz whilst United have signed just Donny van de Beek this summer and have been linked with numerous players which nothing of note happening with three weeks of the transfer window remaining. Speaking to The Mirror, Neville said:

“The one thing I can guarantee you is that United will win again. That might not be this year or next year, but it will be amazing when they win again, and the longer it builds up, the greater the actual feeling is when you do it.

“It will be, maybe, when Klopp and Guardiola leave Liverpool and City – hopefully in the next couple of years! That will be the chance, as they’re two outstanding managers who have built really good teams, but they’ll leave in the next one, two or three years.

“That will be the point when United can come back in and capitalise – I’m sure Chelsea are thinking that way as well.”

Neville has a point in what he says but it will be up to United to play catch up with all three clubs now and those that finished below them in the league last season will be seeking to do a lot better too. United will know what Solskjaer needs to get United firing in the right direction this summer, but there seems to be an inability to land the signings that the club should be going for and more desire to keep saving money, which is what the Glazers have been doing at the club for years now.

United have a big rebuilding plan and have a manager that has sent the club in the right direction for the first time post-Sir Alex Ferguson, whicbis something that David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all failed to do. Granted, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a financial problem for United this summer, but that should not be used an an excuse not to provide players for the manager to better his squad. United qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League this season and will be looking to take on the biggest teams in Europe.

However, that may be where much bigger problems lie as United have a good starting XI, which has been strengthened by the signing of Van de Beek this summer, but United could really do with a minimum of three more signings with a left-back, central defender and a right-winger the positions that need to be fortified this summer. United have been linked with Jadon Sancho this summer, but had a deadline to sign the England winger, which expired more than a month ago now with the player making his first appearances for Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal on Monday evening.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United and Manchester City in chase for French teenage Angers left-back

Manchester United and Manchester City have reportedly made an offer for 19-year-old left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri who currently plays for French team SCO Angers. During the 2019/20 season, the teenager made a total of 17 appearances for his club, scoring no goals but assisting three times. This is the type of player that United would probably like to add to their team with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to play from the back, which is something the teenager currently does for his team.

The player’s current form is said to have brought him a lot of attention this summer with both United and City seeking to sign the player, the two clubs who have reportedly paid to most attention towards him. Foot Mercato has reported that both Manchester clubs have contacted the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, offering the defender a deal. It is also claimed that Mendes travelled with his client to England on Tuesday, visiting the facilities of a number of clubs, including United and City.

It is possible that Ait-Nouri could become the most expensive player in Angers’ history, which would be a good thing for the French club. Former Arsenal midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide was sold to Lyon for £28 million back in 2019 so there is a chance the 19-year-old could bring in a lot more this summer. United and City will be joined with Atletico Madrid, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Crystal Palace and AS Monaco in pursuit of the left-back.

Ait-Nouri has been at Angers since the summer of 2016, arriving at the club as a free agent from Paris FC. He signed a new contract at the club in May 2020 which will expire in the summer of 2023, meaning that his club will call all the shots this summer. Obviously, the player will be happy to see some bigger clubs interested in him and it will be considered a step up in his career. United could offer him the left-back role at the club, taking on Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams with a view of making the position his own.

City could do the same although he might only be offered a rotation option unless Benjamin Mendy is going to allow his position to be taken by the teenager. It could well be an exciting summer for the 19-year-old. He can play in three different positions, as a left-back, a left midfielder and as a left-winger. I don’t see the latter two positions being available at United though, unless it is on a rotation basis, not a permanent thing. Solskjaer will be seeking to find depth in the left-back position.

Ait-Nouri made his debut in the first team during the 2018/19n season, making three appearances for his club that season. Added to his 17 appearances and three assists this season, the player has made 20 appearances for the club in two seasons. He could have played more matches this season if it was not for the coronavirus pandemic, which suspended world football in mid-March with the French authorities cancelling both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. This could be an exciting summer for the player who could well be playing in the Premier League next season.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United swooping in on Manchester City academy star Charlie McNeill

Manchester United are reportedly confident in signing Manchester City academy star Charlie McNeill this summer. The 16-year-old is reported to have scored 600 goals during his career so far, left United in 2014, a club he supports and one that he played for at junior levels. It is stated by the Daily Mail that City would like to sell the player for a seven figure sum also including a number of additional performance-related clauses. He could well be a talent, if given the opportunity to shine.

Both clubs have hit a stalemate in negotiations though. The player will turn 17 on the 9 September 2020 and if he crosses that date and rejects a professional contract at City, United would be able to sign him with compensation being paid instead of a transfer fee, so perhaps that is why there is a stalemate at this present time. It was reported earlier this summer that McNeill had agreed to a move to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, reported by City Xtra on the Sports Illustrated website.

It is stated that the 16-year-old would like to leave the club as he was not getting many opportunities at U18 level, making nine appearances and scoring one goal and one assist for the club this season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended then cancelled youth football. The player has already stated that he intends to leave City this summer, saying his goodbyes on social media, thanking the club for his past six years there. United seem to be making a big rebuild at U18 level this summer. On Instagram, McNeill said:

“A massive thank you to Manchester City for everything over the past six years.

“It’s been such a pleasure to play with some amazing players and I’ve made some amazing friends too.

“Thanks to all the staff and players for helping me develop as a player and also as a person. I wish everyone the very best.”

United have already confirmed three new signings in the clubs academy this season with Joe Hugill, Logan Pye and Radek Vitek announced as part of the U18 squad for the upcoming 2020/21 season. In addition to these three, Neil Ryan’s side look set to complete the signing of three other players who will be subject to international clearance. This will be the main delay with all three arriving at the club and being allowed to play. Last summer, United signed Hannibal Mejbri and he was cleared to play in mid-September.

Barcelona fullback Marc Jurado, 16 is likely to be the first of three other players to sign for United this summer. It was reported by The Sun that Jurado was ‘blown away’ by United’s project and will be happy to continue his development at the club, leaving La Masia. It would seem that United are intent on signing the best youth prospects in Europe this summer, therefore creating something for the future. Alvaro Fernandez Carreras, 17, will be leaving Real Madrid for United, according to The Sun. The player idolised Marcelo, so could well become a player for the future at the Old Trafford club.

Isak Hansen-Aaroen, 15, is the third player and The Sun reported that United completed the signing of the player last year, when he was 14. He will be leaving Tromso and became their youngest ever player at 15 years and 319 days when he made his debut earlier this month. It will be an exciting period for the player and for the future of United’s academy. It looks like United mean business at this level and if they can confirm all three of these players and add McNeill to the squad, there will definitely be some talent on show from the start of the new season.

Written by John Walker

Manchester City now in the race to sign Jack Grealish at the same time the player is advised to think about Manchester United move

Manchester City have reportedly declared an interest in Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish if Bayern Munich end up signing Leroy Sane this summer. United are said to be interested in signing Grealish this summer with reports suggesting that the player would be interested in a move to the Old Trafford club. This could complicate the matter.

United are said to be readying a move for the attacking midfielder as soon as the transfer window opens but have reportedly been quoted £80 million for the player, whether Villa are relegated from the Premier League or not this season. Pep Guardiola, the manager of City, has already described the 24-year-old as ‘one of the best players in the league’.

City will require £50 million from Bayern for them to sign Sane this summer but £35 million is what has reportedly been offered. It makes me wonder whether City could sign Grealish for less than the £80 million that has been quoted for the player this summer. United might need to move quickly, if they are interested in signing Grealish this summer.

Former Liverpool striker John Barnes, who seems to hold a certain bitterness to United, has advised Grealish to think about a move to United this summer. Barnes worries that the 24-year-old will not flourish if he is not considered as one of the important players at the Old Trafford club, which might actually be the case, if United do end up signing him. Barnes said:

“It depends whether he’s going to be a first-team regular at Manchester United, playing every single week and being a main player at Manchester United.

“He’s the main player at Aston Villa and we can all see what he does, if he goes to United where Pogba, Martial, Rashford are the main players, will he have that much of an impact?”

Grealish has not yet played for England manager Gareth Southgate but is tipped to play for his country, when they can play international matches again. Barnes has questions about this and wonders if moving to United would raise his chances of playing for England, as he was tipped to be capped whilst playing for Villa. He said:

“To say that because he’s at Manchester United he’s going to play for England, that’s what he has to prove. He’s the main man at Aston Villa, he does everything and everything comes through him, that’s why he’s got such a big profile and why he plays well.

“If he goes to Manchester United, is he going to take over from Pogba or Fernandes as the main playmaker, probably not. So then just because he’s at Manchester United it doesn’t mean it will help his England chances.

“His England chances are great because he’s playing well at Aston Villa, he has to make that decision and his decision can’t be based on whether it is going to help his England career, his decision has to be based on whether this is going to help his football career because he’ll be at a club in the Champions League or fighting for honours.”

Review & Ratings: Martial on target against City, McTominay scored a stunner; James and Fernandes impact brilliant – City in dire straits

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-0 at Old Trafford in the second Manchester derby in the Premier League this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be so happy with the performance against Pep Guardiola’s City side. Anthony Martial, assisted by Bruno Fernandes, opened the scoring in the 30th minute with Scott McTominay doubling United’s lead at the death – both goals were scored because of errors by Ederson, who was poor at best at the Theatre of Dreams.

Both United and City started well in the game with both teams having credible chances on goal in the early stages. The breakthrough came on the half our mark though with United going 1-0 through Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes played a clever free-kick which was latched onto by the Frenchman which saw Ederson make an error and Martial score his 16th goal of the season, matching his 11 Premier League goal from his debut season and being well on the way to his best season at the club.

City could have equalised in the second half by Sergio Agüero was ruled offside, which was proven by VAR despite David De Gea stopping dead on the attack. At the other end of the pitch, United could have doubled their lead after another Ederson error which Martial could have capitalised from, instead colliding with the far post hitting his knee. The City team were nothing special – you can almost smell the decline of the squad and the manager, who will not be happy.

City were still seeking that elusive equaliser throughout the second half, having 72.3% of the ball throughout the match and not doing much, apart from passing, with the ball. United had less of the ball but mustered 12 shots on goal (six on target) with City having just seven shots on goal (four on target). Late in the game, Ederson got the ball after a United attack, played it out only for Scott McTominay to latch onto the ball and thunder an effort, from distance, into the net. 2-0 win and a double over City.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one made some good saves to deny City despite not having a lot to do with City having few shots on goal throughout the match. The clean sheet will mean so much after recent mistakes. De Gea was really happy to see McTominay score United's second at the death, which after all that pressure, was such a great feeling.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The iceman kept a cool head against City at Old Trafford, with United on the receiving end in the second half of the match with City seeking an equaliser, which never came. Will be happy with an important clean sheet and a decisive set of victories against City this season.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain put in a good defensive performance against City, after missing the 3-0 victory over Derby County to injury. City were pressuring United in the second half with Maguire holding firm.

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23 Luke Shaw

At times he was like a horse bolting from the stables, which was great to see.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

After missing the last game through injury, reports suggested he was not fit enough to play against City, despite him starting. He really got himself stuck into the game, doing what he does best and helping his team take on the might of City. A good performance. If he was not fully fit, he should give himself a pat on the back. He never faltered, showing why United signed him.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The veteran midfielder did well against City and despite the criticism he has faced recently, he has played a good game, getting forward at times to help his team. Defensively, which was needed for much of the second half, he kept his cool and helped United prevail.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian midfielder was booked in the first half for s dive despite the replay showing Otamendi putting a foot out to catch him. VAR did not change anything either, which is pointless. However, Fred accepted him card and played on, although he was not an inspiration in the side today, doing his job, nothing more or less.

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33 Brandon Williams

The young left-back, or wing-back as he was today, did well against City up until Mahrez came on which added pressure to his position and his inexperience got the better of him. Despite that, he did not shame himself or his club. He was replaced by Bailly in the 78th minute.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The man is a genius. He always seems to want the ball, has his head up and wants to get the better of his opposition time and time again. He will be a bargain for United based on his eight appearances for the club so far. His assist today gives him his third, matching his goal tally so far too. A revelation.

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Review & Ratings: Martial on target against City, McTominay scored a stunner; James and Fernandes impact brilliant – City in dire straits

James did well against City, on his return from a knock. His pace its his biggest asset right now. He got himself into some good positions and could have opened the scoring himself. In the second half, he was still pushing to better his goal and assists tally this season, which was good to see. He was still pressing City late in the second half, during their onslaught to find an equaliser.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman had a good game against City, opening the scoring in the 30th minute after a decent free-kick from Fernandes set him up to get the better of Ederson, who made an error allowing him to score. He nearly got another in the second half, colliding with the post, but recovering from the knock. Martial was replaced by McTominay in the 78th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

3 Eric Bailly

Replaced Williams 78'. Came on to change the game with Williams being hounded by Mahrez. He had a few defensive involvements, as would have been expected.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Martial 78'. It was backs against the wall for United for much of the second half and McTominay held well with few chances getting through. Not all United players need to be world class and McTominay gets what is needed and pretty much does it. In stoppage time, he capitalised from ANOTHER Ederson mistake, scoring United's second goal, at the death, from distance. Cracking stuff.

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Review & Ratings: Martial on target against City, McTominay scored a stunner; James and Fernandes impact brilliant – City in dire straits

Replaced Fernandes 88'. Came on to give United some attacking impetus in the late stages. It was nothing special for him as he never got on the scoresheet. However, he will be happy with an important win.

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Goals: Anthony Martial 30′, Scott McTominay 90+6′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 30′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Fred, Williams (Bailly 78′); Fernandes (Ighalo 88′); James, Martial (McTominay 78′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Tuanzebe; Mata; Greenwood

Bookings: Fred 42′, Harry Maguire 90+5′; Fernandinho 29′, Rodri 30′, Joao Cancelo 59′, Gabriel Jesus 90+8′

copyright: JW