It’s Derby day once again on Saturday evening, as Manchester United host Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford, with the hosts looking to bounce back from their midweek Champions League woes.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s intriguing encounter:
Manchester United: WWLWL
While their league form has somewhat got back on track, Manchester United suffered a real blow on Tuesday night against RB Leipzig, as a costly first-half display saw them crash out of the Champions League despite only needing a point from their last two matches to qualify.
After going 3-0 down with little time left to play, the Red Devils did produce an exciting late rally to raise hopes of a remarkable comeback, yet they ultimately fell short, their defeat seeing them propelled back into the Europa League.
That disappointment has again heaped pressure on the United boss, although Saturday could be the perfect opportunity to put things right, particularly with Solskjaer’s men having done the double over Pep Guardiola and co in the league last season.
As for this campaign, United have won their last four league fixtures, including their most recent comeback win over West Ham United, a game that showcased their continued routine of conceding first yet going on to blitz sides late on, meaning they have come from behind to win in all five of their Premier League away meetings so far this term.
The challenge now will be to try and translate that winning knack to home encounters, while they’ll also need to put in a positive display over 90 minutes rather than just in short spells, particularly with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling to come at the weekend.
As for team news, United will be sweating over the fitness of striking duo Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, with both men having missed the midweek trip to Germany through injury. Another issue also remains the uncertainty around Paul Pogba’s future, after his agent, Mino Raiola, went public on the Frenchman’s apparent desire to leave Old Trafford.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 10, 2020
Manchester City: WWDWW
While they may be seventh in the table at present, there is no denying that Manchester City are still firmly in the title race, particularly with them having played a game less than most of their direct rivals.
It’s been something of a slow start to the season for Pep Guardiola’s side, with a lack of goals a real issue so far this term, while they also slipped to a damaging defeat against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham a few weeks ago.
Since that away defeat, however, City have looked more like their old selves, with a devastating 5-0 win over Burnley, followed up by an equally as comfortable 2-0 triumph over Fulham last weekend.
The big test now will be whether they can replicate those performances on a more consistent basis, with the visit to Old Trafford a chance to claim a third successive league win for the first time this season.
That will be easier said than done, however, with City suffering defeats home and away to their Manchester rivals in the league last term, although they did knock Solskjaer’s side out of the Carabao Cup semi-final back in January.
In terms of team news, Guardiola has a relatively full complement of players to choose from, with Sergio Aguero likely to be able to make a return from injury, though the City boss has confirmed that the Argentine won’t start.
"Is Aguero ready to start the Manchester Derby?"
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) December 9, 2020
Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City 8 March 2020
The sides last met in what was both clubs last Premier League fixture before the season was forced to take an extended break due to the ongoing pandemic.
The hosts had been in excellent form since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January and the Portugal international quickly made his mark in his first Manchester derby, serving up a delightful dinked free-kick that found the feet of Anthony Martial who fired home through the hands of City stopper Ederson.
The Brazilian was at fault on that occasion and would go on to gift United a second late on in stoppage time, with a misplaced throw-out falling to Scott McTominay who curled home a wonderful long-range effort into the empty City net to send Old Trafford into raptures – the last time fans of either side saw their team in action.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood, Rashford.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Sterling, Mahrez, Jesus.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event.
What time is kick off?
Saturday 12 December, 17:30 GMT
Man Utd – 10/3
Man City – 8/11
Draw – 3/1