Manchester United vs Manchester City Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

A lot will be at stake when Manchester United host arch-rivals Manchester City in a much-anticipated Manchester derby on Saturday.

Manchester United will try to stake their claim in the Premier League title race when they welcome Manchester City to Old Trafford. The Red Devils have won their eight matches on the spin, getting  the better of Charlton Athletic in their most recent match in the Carabao Cup. But Manchester City bowed out of the competition through a 2-0 loss to Southampton.

Manchester United did advertise some positives during their harrowing 6-3 loss to Manchester City earlier this season. But they are in a far better shape compared to the early stages of the campaign. Such has been Erik ten Hag’s influence that he has taken the fewest number of matches to register 20 wins among all United managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson.

To put things into perspective, the Red Devils have now lost just once in their last 18 games in all competitions. So Manchester United will certainly pose a different kind of threat to Manchester City on Saturday. And the onus will be on the home side to maintain their momentum.

On the other hand, it has not been smooth sailing for Manchester City, who hit yet another bump in the last match against Southampton. The reigning English champions did not have a shot on target throughout the entire match. And Pep Guardiola has already conceded that they will have no chance if they play like that against the Red Devils.

As far as the Premier League title race is concerned, Manchester City lost ground with a stalemate against relegation-threatened Everton. Their recent run of form does not guarantee them an edge over their Premier League counterparts. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester United

Diogo Dalot was called off as a precautionary measure, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka introduced on the right side of the defence in the game against Charlton Athletic. But the Portuguese international should be fit in time to feature in this high-profile clash.

Raphael Varane is available, while Lisandro Martinez made his first start since returning from the post-World Cup break. Jadon Sancho remains an absentee, as he has been approved for an elongated time off. Meanwhile, Donny van de Beek is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury.

David de Gea has kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League. But it will take a lot to register his ninth shut out in the top flight this season. Raphael Varane had a very unfortunate injury in the last Manchester derby. But the French defender has been fit for the most part since then and will be in the charge of the Manchester United defence alongside Lisandro Martinez.

Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw will get the nod in the right and left side of the defence. Casemiro has been a catalyst in Manchester United’s revolution. And the Brazilian international will have another opportunity to demonstrate his influence in the middle of the pitch.

Christian Eriksen has also been a bright spot in the Manchester United setup and will feature alongside Casemiro. Bruno Fernandes got a much-deserved rest against Charlton, and the Portuguese playmaker will reprise the no. 10 role. Meanwhile, Manchester United have reached an agreement to sign Wout Weghorst.

The Dutchman might get registered just in time to have a place on the bench for this illuminated clash. But Anthony Martial, who scored a brace coming from the bench in the reverse fixture, will lead the line. Marcus Rashford will be selected on the left flank, and Antony will try to recapture his form from the right.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Eriksen, Casemiro; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford; Martial

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola will ring in a number of changes following Manchester City’s defeat to Southampton earlier this week. Ederson will be the obvious choice in the goal, with the Citizens lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him.

Ruben Dias is out with an injury, but John Stones should be fine to appear in the backline with Aymeric Laporte. Joao Cancelo should be back as the left-back amid uncertainties surrounding his future. Meanwhile, Kyle Walker will be on the right-hand side, starting ahead of Rico Lewis due to the enormity of the fixture.

Rodri will return to the base of the midfield, with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva starting alongside him. The two creative midfielders are poised to come to the fore with their gameplay. Meanwhile, the Spaniard will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park.

Riyad Mahrez has emerged as a super-sub in the last few games. And the Algerian winger will start on the right flank this weekend. Jack Grealish will be stationed on the left in the wake of his recent impressive form. Erling Haaland netted a hat-trick in the reverse fixture, and he will be the go-to player for Guardiola..

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish

Key Stats

  • Manchester United have lost more Premier League home games against Manchester City than they have versus any other opponent (8). No side has beaten the Red Devils more often overall in the competition than the Citizens (18, level with Chelsea and Liverpool).
  • Manchester United have conceded 12 goals in their last three Premier League meetings with Manchester City, including six in their meeting at the Etihad Stadium in October. That is as many goals as they’d shipped against the Citizens in their 12 previous meetings combined.
  • Since and including their win over Liverpool on August 22, no team has won more points in the Premier League than Manchester United (35). The Red Devils have been victorious in 11 of their 15 games in this time (D2 L2). They had lost each of their four league matches before this run.
  • Marcus Rashford has scored in his last three Premier League appearances for Manchester United and is looking to score in four in a row for the first time since January 2019. However, he has not scored in any of his last five appearances against Manchester City in the competition, managing just one shot on target in these games.
  • Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hat-tricks for Manchester City in their 6-3 win over Manchester United in the reverse fixture. The last player to score in both Premier League meetings for the Citizens versus the Red Devils in a season was Sergio Aguero (2014/15), and the last Englishman to do so was Shaun Wright-Phillips (2003/04). No Manchester City player has ever scored 2+ goals in both league meetings.

Player to Watch

Marcus Rashford

Erling Haaland will invariably be under the spotlight whenever he takes to the field. And with Manchester City stuttering a little, the Norwegian striker will have enormous responsibility in the derby. But Marcus Rashford is our Player to Watch for this weekend’s highly-anticipated fixture.

Rashford has been Manchester United’s star performer, with the 25-year-old being their main source of goals. The English international has already found the net on 15 occasions this season, and he will be pretty hard to stop. It is no wonder that Erik ten Hag desperately wants the English international to sign a new contract with Manchester United.


Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City

This could be a high-scoring affair, considering there are a number of resourceful players on both sides. Manchester City’s impeccable standards have seen some dip in the last few games. But a pulsating affair like this could witness some high-flying goals.

On the other hand, the Red Devils are on the rise under Erik ten Hag. While the Dutchman will exercise caution ahead of the big game, Manchester United have the quality to inflict damage on Manchester City. But in the end, there might not be much to separate the two sides. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-2 draw in the derby.

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