Saturday. January 14th at 14:30. Old Trafford stadium. Two English clubs will meet for another edition of one of the most iconic football rivalries, the Manchester Derby. What to expect? Which team is favored to come out on top this time?
Their previous meeting
In terms of goals, this match has big shoes to fill, as it follows a nine-goal thriller played on October 2nd, which turned out to become the all-time highest-scoring Manchester derby. City edged out the opposition with a convincing 6-3 victory thanks to stellar performances from Phil Foden and Norwegian wonderboy Erling Haaland, who both scored a hat-trick.
City dominated the 1st half 4-0, allowing United to score only in the 2nd, including a brace by Anthony Martial in the dying minutes of the match when it didn’t really matter anymore.
The ever-reliable David De Gea will be patrolling between the posts for United. In front of him in defense, we’re likely to see Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Raphaël Varane, and the World Cup winner Lisandro Martínez.
Bruno Fernandes is expected to join Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in the midfield. While it is unsure if the new signing Wout Weghorst will manage to register his first game for United this Saturday, Marcus Rashford, who has scored in all six of United’s games since the World Cup, and Anthony Martial are believed to form the attacking line.
As for Citizens, goalkeeper Ederson will be guarded by John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Nathan Ake, who right now “is playing beyond our expectations as a left-back”, as per the team’s manager Pep Guardiola.
Midfield will likely belong to Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and supremely gifted Bernardo Silva. Up front, duties will be assigned to none other than Erling Haaland – the highest-scoring player across Europe’s top-five leagues with 21 goals. He could be joined by in-form attacker Riyad Mahrez, with either Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, or Julian Alvarez completing the front trio.
Since the heartbreaking loss to City in their previous meeting, Erik ten Hag has turned things around and seemingly restored faith in the players and fans, as United have lost just one of their last 18 matches.
It looks like the dramatic divorce between United and Cristiano Ronaldo might just have been the right thing to happen, as the club is enjoying an inspiring series of wins. The question remains, should they manage to keep the streak alive?
Equipped with a goalscoring machine in the form of Erling Haaland and an obviously better record in recent mutual games, City enters the Derby as overwhelming favorites.
City last capitulated to their rivals way back in March 2021. Nonetheless, they shouldn’t write off their opponents, as a loss would prove painful, putting United just one point behind them in the Premier League. Surely, Guardiola has his game plan set, and he will strive to grab a 4th consecutive win over United.