Manchester United play host to Manchester City in Sunday’s much-anticipated Manchester derby at Old Trafford. The Red Devils have won their last four outings in the English top-flight, but they still find themselves eight points adrift of the Citizens, who have dropped points in just one of their 15 league games this term. Pep Guardiola’s side suffered their defeat of the campaign during Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, but the game may not have much of an outcome this weekend with the Catalan tactician opting to rest a number of first-team regulars with a view to the cross-town derby.
What happened last time around?
The last outing between the sides was at the Etihad Stadium which finished in a goalless draw. The Citizens dominated the play with more than twice the possession but United held on with 10 men for a valuable point on the road. Marouane Fellaini received his marching orders six minutes from time for a senseless headbutt on Sergio Aguero which earned him his second yellow card.
Players to watch for:
Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United: The Belgium international has the tendency to disappear while tackling clubs near the top of the standings. Since his move to Old Trafford, Lukaku has not found the scoresheet against top-six opposition, and he received plenty of stick for the Chelsea game, in particular, where he failed to make a single touch in the opposition box. The former Evertonian has notched just five goals in 39 appearances against the elite clubs since the 2014/15 season, and he has a huge point to prove in the derby.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City: The Argentine has not looked his best since his recovery from a rib fracture. Nevertheless, he has continued chipping away with the goals whilst taking advantage of being the designated penalty taker. Aguero has an excellent record versus United with eight goals in just 11 matches (transfermarkt), and the onus will be on him to deliver a strong performance in a game which could enhance City’s quest for a third Premier League title.
Manchester United could go on the defensive versus the Citizens, who undoubtedly possess loads of talents in the forward department. A City win would probably end United’s hopes for the title heading into the festive period, and Mourinho will be determined to avoid a defeat.
Manchester United 1-1 Manchester City
Image – Getty