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United v City – Manchester Derby Match Preview

It’s the Manchester Derby this weekend, as Manchester United make their first return to Old Trafford since their Liverpool horror show.

Here’s all you need to know about Saturday’s much-anticipated meeting:

Form

Manchester United: LWLWD

Following the shambolic 5-0 defeat against their bitter rivals just under two weeks ago, speculation unsurprisingly began to mount over the future of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, amid suggestions that former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte could be the man in line to replace him.

 

However, after a turbulent few days amid the fallout of the Liverpool mauling, the Norwegian has seen the pressure on his position somewhat eased after picking up two positive results on the road, starting with a comfortable 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Having shipped 11 goals in their previous three games in all competitions, the United boss opted to switch to a back five for the trip to north London, with the move seemingly paying off as the Red Devils registered a rare clean sheet against their beleaguered opponents.

The tactical change also appeared to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo, who fired in an expert volley and registered a classy assist for strike partner Edinson Cavani, with the two veterans aiding in alleviating the scrutiny on their manager and in turn, piling the pressure on Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo – who has since been replaced by the aforementioned Conte.

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Solskjaer then saw his side pick up a vital point against Atalanta in the Champions League, with Ronaldo netting for the fourth European game in a row as his brace rescued a draw for Manchester United – the Portuguese icon netting an exquisite strike in stoppage time to once again snatch the headlines.

While far from a vintage display by the Premier League side, the result leaves them top of Group F with just two games left to play, albeit with the trip to Italy coming at a cost as Raphael Varane was forced off early on with a hamstring injury, while Victor Lindelof also missed the match in Bergamo.

Man City: WWDLW

It’s been a poor week by Manchester City‘s lofty standards, as the champions suffered a rare slip up at home in the league on Saturday, having already seen their lengthy Carabao Cup run come to an end just a few days earlier.

After winning the competition in each of the last four years, City’s dominance came to an end as they were dumped out by David Moyes’ in-form West Ham United side on penalties, with that result ensuring a first exit from the league cup since back in 2016.

Pep Guardiola’s men followed that up with a frustrating 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at the Etihad at the weekend, as goals from Wilfried Zaha and Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher powered the visitors to victory, albeit with the home side inhibited by Aymeric Laporte’s dismissal just before the break.

While such a result is likely to be a mere blip, it does mean that City are now five points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side at the summit heading into this weekend, with only three points now separating them from their city rivals and weekend opponents, United.

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City did redeem themselves in midweek, however, with a convincing 4-1 win at home to Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with the victory edging them closer towards qualification for the knockout stages, as well as ensuring a ninth successive home win in the competition.

As for the trip to Old Trafford, Guardiola is set to be without Ferran Torres once again due to injury, while Laporte will be forced to miss out through suspension.

Last Meeting

Man City 0-2 Man Utd, 7 March 2021

It was United who came out on top when the two sides last met, as Solskjaer continued his fine record against the former Barcelona boss to end City’s remarkable 21-game winning run in all competitions.

That sensational run of form for the hosts had all but ended any lingering hopes of a United title triumph, although the visitors ensured there would be no early coronation, with Bruno Fernandes firing home from the penalty spot inside just two minutes, following Gabriel Jesus’ foul on Anthony Martial.

While the home side largely dominated proceedings, the Red Devils remained a continued threat on the counter, with unlikely scorer Luke Shaw rounding off a blistering breakaway to put his side 2-0 up just after the break.

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Despite United hanging on for the victory, the result still left their rivals with an 11-point lead at the summit, as they edged towards a third league title in just four seasons.

Predicted Lineups

Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Fernandes; Cavani, Ronaldo

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Silva, Foden, Jesus

Who is the referee?

Michael Oliver

What channel is the Manchester Derby on?

UK and Irish readers can watch, or stream, the match on Sky Sports Premier League.

What time is kick off?

Saturday 6 November, 12:30 GMT

Odds

Man United – 7/2

Man City – 4/6

Draw – 3/1

Read – Six signings that could transform Conte’s Tottenham

Read Also – Five veteran strikers ripping it up across Europe’s top five leagues

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