Manchester City vs Manchester United: Preview and Prediction

Manchester City will aim to keep up with Liverpool at the top of the table when they welcome Manchester United to the Etihad on Sunday.

Gameweek 27 of the 2023/24 Premier League season continues on Sunday, which will bring us two matches. The action gets underway with the game between Burnley and Bournemouth before Manchester City and Manchester United round up the proceedings at the Etihad.

Manchester City nearly completed the sextuple last year after missing the Community Shield. But they are the reigning champions of the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. While the quadruple dreams went up in smoke again, they can repeat the treble as they are alive in every other competition.

But Pep Guardiola’s men are a point behind Liverpool heading into Gameweek 27. Meanwhile, Manchester City will face Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarter-finals while being 3-1 up in the Champions League Round of 16 against FC Copenhagen.

As for Manchester United, they are enduring a horrendous season thus far. While the Red Devils set up an FA Cup quarter-final date with Liverpool by beating Nottingham Forest this week, they did not last long in either the UEFA Champions League or the EFL Cup. Meanwhile, the pressure is piling on Erik ten Hag, with Manchester United falling eight points behind Aston Villa in the race for the top four.

The reverse fixture had Manchester City cruising to a 3-0 win over Manchester United, with Erling Haaland scoring a match-winning brace. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Manchester United on Sunday, the Manchester City manager will be bereft of the services of two first-team players.

Guardiola has ruled Jack Grealish out of the Manchester Derby due to the Englishman’s groin injury. The former Aston Villa captain might only return to action towards the end of this month. Meanwhile, Josko Gvardiol remains on the sidelines with his ankle issue.

Gvardiol’s absence means Nathan Ake will start as the left-back, with the Dutchman joining Ruben Dias, John Stones, and Kyle Walker in the backline. Ederson Moraes will take his spot between the sticks.

As for the midfield unit, Rodri will play the anchor role, with Kevin De Bruyne being more advanced as he looks to pull the strings in the final third. Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez, and Phil Foden will play around De Bruyne, with Erling Haaland leading the line for Manchester City against Manchester United.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake; Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Alvarez, Foden; Haaland

Manchester United

Unlike his counterpart in the Manchester City dugout, Erik ten Hag has a plethora of issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Etihad. The Manchester United manager will be without eight first-team players.

The Dutchman has been sweating over the fitness of Raphael Varane and Bruno Fernandes. But the duo should be fit to start against Manchester City. However, Harry Maguire might not shrug off a knock to take on the reigning Premier League champions this weekend.

In addition, Luke Shaw (hamstring), Lisandro Martinez (knee), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (unspecified), Mason Mount (calf), Anthony Martial (groin), and Rasmus Hojlund (muscle injury) remain on the sidelines.

Andre Onana will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Manchester United lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Manchester City. The backline should feature Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, and Sofyan Amrabat.

As for the midfield unit, Kobbie Mainoo will return to the eleven to pair up with Casemiro in the double pivot in the middle of the park. Bruno Fernandes will reprise his usual no. 10 role, with Antony and Alejandro Garnacho being the two wide attackers. Finally, Marcus Rashford will lead the line for the away side.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Onana; Dalot, Varane, Lindelof, Amrabat; Casemiro, Mainoo; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho; Rashford

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have won five of their most recent six meetings in all competitions with Manchester United, the exception being United’s 2-1 league win at Old Trafford last season. City can do a sixth Premier League double over Manchester United, which will be more than any other side.
  • Manchester City are unbeaten in 35 home matches in all competitions (W30 D5), one shy of their longest such run under Pep Guardiola, which they recorded between 2016 and 2018. The club record of 42 matches came between December 1919 to November 1921.
  • Manchester United have won six of their most recent seven games in all competitions, with last weekend’s defeat to Fulham their only loss in nine league and cup fixtures in 2024.
  • Manchester United have scored 18 goals in their most recent eight Premier League matches, as many as they netted in their opening 18 games of the season.
  • Erling Haaland has been directly involved in eight of Manchester City’s ten goals in his three Premier League appearances against Manchester United, scoring five times and assisting three more. The only Manchester City player to find the back of the net more times than Haaland in the Premier League is Sergio Aguero, who struck eight in 13 outings.

Player to Watch

Marcus Rashford

Embed from Getty Images

Erling Haaland will invariably find himself in the spotlight on Sunday, as will Kevin De Bruyne. Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes will look to outshine De Bruyne in the creative battle. But we have picked Marcus Rashford for this section as he desperately searches for his best form.

The English international continues to be a shell of a player he was last season. Slammed by fans and pundits for his perceived lack of commitment, he issued a rebuttal on the Players’ Tribune this week. However, Rashford needs to let his game do the talking, which will be the best way to prove his naysayers wrong. A strong showing on Sunday will go a long way in achieving that objective.


Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United

Manchester City cruised to a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture, and things will not get any easier for Manchester United at the Etihad. With the home side eager to keep pace with Liverpool after the Reds’ last-gasp win over Nottingham Forest opened up a four-point gap at the top of the table, there is no room for error.

But Manchester United will unlikely cause much trouble for Manchester City apart from scoring a consolation goal. Marcus Rashford might have some reprieve with that strike, but Erling Haaland with outshine him on the day. The Hard Tackle predicts another straightforward win for Manchester City, this time by a 4-1 scoreline.

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