Manchester United face Manchester City in the second Manchester derby of the Premier League season on Saturday afternoon.
The last time these two teams faced each other, City were the victors, going 4-0 up before Antony scored. City then went 6-1 up before Anthony Martial scored a goal and a penalty to give United some face in defeat. Despite the score and the result, it was a better outcome for United than it could have been.
United are now on an eight-match winning run, scoring three goals in each of their three matches, putting them in a much better position against City this weekend. In the last eight matches, United have scored 21 goals, conceding four and keeping five clean sheets. City’s form is good but in recent weeks Everton managed to get a 1-1 draw and on Wednesday evening in the quarter final of the Carabao Cup, Southampton knocked them out.
Pep Guardiola will have to change the mentality of his team ahead of this derby at Old Trafford which will see United use their current form to try and get one over them. Guardiola seemed to be rattled by Southampton, the bottom team in the Premier League knocking them out of the competition that they have been most successful in. It goes to show that form is temporary and even the teams that have world class players in every position can still lose.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;
Goalkeeper: De Gea
David De Gea has been in great form this season and he will need to be at his best when City come to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday. City have scored 69 goals in all competitions this season with Erling Haaland scoring 27 of those. The Norwegian striker is going to be a big problem for United, even if if form and the form of his team has been questionable in the last few matches or so. City were terrible against Southampton in the Carabao Cup.
But this is the Premier League and City will be seeking right the wrongs from the Southampton match and will start their big guns against United. The one thing Ten Hag will have done with this United team is get them ready for the big matches this season. United have already beaten Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this season, drawing against Chelsea and the only other top six team in the Premier League to beat them was City.
De Gea will need to be up for the challenge of City and be ready to give the best of his goalkeeping ability, which is something that he can do for this club. United need to forget what City have done in the past and think more about what they have done in the past. This match, at least in the last few seasons, has been lost before a ball has been kicked. United are a much tougher team to beat now and they should demonstrate that to City.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw
United could see the return of their best defensive partnership against City. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have been that for United this season. The Argentinian FIFA World Cup winner has been an inspiration for United this season and despite the major concerns, from the pundits, about his height – he has proved them all wrong. Varane was rested for the Charlton match so he should be fresh and ready to go against City.
Martinez adds some steel to United’s back four which was not previously there, unless you look back to the time of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, which was when United had a defence as good as this one. It is about time that United found the player they really needed to shore up the defence. Aaron Wan-Bissaka could get the nod to face City with Diogo Dalot’s fitness in doubt after he came off against Charlton, which was a shame.
Luke Shaw will most likely slot back in at left-back against City, although he has been playing on the left side of the defence, playing in a new role for him, which could have been with a view of him playing in that position against Barcelona, at least for the first leg with Martinez suspended. Shaw has been a decent player for United this season, scoring one goal and two assists so far. Of course, he does a lot more on the pitch than that though.