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Prediction for the 183rd time on Saturday
Manchester United and Manchester City lock horns for the 183rd time on Saturday, with just one point and one place separating the near-neighbours in the Premier League table.
Both clubs endured disappointing starts to their respective campaigns, but have begun to climb the table in recent weeks and would stay in touch with the leading pack with victory in this match, Sport Mole reported.
If you had told Manchester United fans at the beginning of 2020-21 that they would go into their first derby of the season, more than a quarter of the way into the campaign, sitting above Man City in the table then they would have no doubt taken that position.
However, all has not been well for either of these teams so far this term and, while Man City do now seem to be finding their feet, Man United continue to struggle with inconsistency and vastly differing home and away form.
Defeat to RB Leipzig in midweek condemned them to Europa League football again after Christmas, despite getting themselves into a position where they only needed one point from their final two games to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.
The 3-2 loss in Leipzig, which followed a 3-1 home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain a week earlier, was only made to look a little more respectable by two late goals for the Red Devils as they threatened another comeback away from home.
|(Photo by ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)|
That has been a feature of their Premier League campaign so far, remarkably coming from behind to win all five of their top-flight away games so far this season - something which has never been done before in the competition.
Indeed, the Red Devils have now won a club-record nine successive away league games and are unbeaten on the road since January, and with questions again being asked of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following their Champions League exit it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that it is only their away form which is keeping him in the job at the moment.
United's record at Old Trafford is an entirely different story, with only a league-low 21% of their points - four of 19 - coming on their own patch so far this season.
Three of those four points did come in their last such match as they narrowly edged past West Bromwich Albion, but they have not won back-to-back home league games since early July and will expect a much sterner test against Man City.
That said, Solskjaer has displayed an uncanny knack of pulling big results out of the bag when he needs them most, and he has won three of his five previous managerial meetings with Pep Guardiola too - the best win rate of any manager to have gone head to head with Guardiola four or more times.
Solskjaer could also justifiably point to the league table as evidence that Man United's season is not going quite as badly as many have made out; victory on Saturday would temporarily lift them to within two points of leaders Tottenham Hotspur, having played the same number of games.
Such poor home form is an issue which would prevent a sustained title challenge unless fixed, though, and Man City will relish the chance to pour more misery on their neighbours in what has already been a difficult week on and off the pitch.
City have by no means enjoyed a faultless season themselves so far, though, and they make the short trip to Old Trafford sitting below their bitter rivals in the table.
Indeed, whereas Man United are six points better off than they were after 10 games of last season, Man City are four points worse off.
Guardiola's men are beginning to find the sort of consistency we have become used to seeing from them in recent campaigns, though, and they head into this derby on a five-match unbeaten run during which time they have not conceded a single goal.
Only Spurs have beaten Man City in their last 15 games across all competitions, while their victory over Fulham last weekend secured back-to-back Premier League wins for the very first time this season.
Guardiola's men have now scored as many goals in their last two league outings as they had in their previous seven combined, while they could also keep three consecutive top-flight clean sheets for the first time since May 2019.
There will still be concerns over Man City's away form, though, having won just once on the road in the league since their opening game of the campaign.
Defeat to Tottenham in their last such outing was their fifth away league loss of 2020 - their most in a calendar year since 2015 - and that includes being beaten by Man United on their last visit in March.
The goals have not exactly been flowing freely either, scoring six and conceding five in their five away outings to date, although that is still significantly better than Man United's home record.
Solskjaer's side have netted just three times at Old Trafford so far in 2020-21 which, when coming up against a team with five clean sheets on the bounce, does not bode well in this battle for bragging rights.
Possible starting lineups
Sport Mole predicted possible starting lineups of two teams as below:
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Mata, Fernandes, Rashford; Greenwood
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Mendy; Rodri, Fernandinho; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling; Jesus
Meanwhile, 1x Best presented the two probale lineups with some differences:
|Possible lineups of two teams. Photo: 1XBet.|
According to 1X Bet, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani are Manchester United's only injury concerns heading into Saturday's Manchester Derby.
Luke Shaw returned from injury in Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig but could only manage an hour before coming off.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place in the side despite a shoddy display in midweek. He has previously performed superbly up against Raheem Sterling.
Paul Pogba almost dragged United to a point against Leipzig but is unlikely to start here following comments made about his future by his agent at the start of the week.
Cavani and Martial's availability could change things but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood lead the line against City.
Juan Mata could also come in on the right of midfield, as United tend to retain possession better with him in the side, with Rashford left and Greenwood up front.
Dean Henderson deserves a run in the first-team after another David de Gea error in midweek but is unlikely to get one here.
Sergio Aguero marked his return from injury with a goal on Wednesday night but Pep Guardiola has confirmed he is not fit to start against Manchester United.
Raheem Sterling, who has not scored in 20 career appearances against United, also netted from the bench in midweek.
Bernardo Silva has started the last four Manchester derbies in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see whether Guardiola uses him again in that false nine position.
Though with Gabriel Jesus fit, that would some demotion for the Brazilian. Silva should therefore compete with the likes of Sterling and Riyad Mahrez out wide.
John Stones has incredibly leapfrogged Aymeric Laporte in the pecking order in recent weeks and looks set to start at Old Trafford alongside Ruben Dias.
Ilkay Gundogan came off against Marseille as a precaution and will need to be checked ahead of Saturday. Eric Garcia is less likely to make the squad.
Should Gundogan fail his fitness test, City could revert to a 4-3-3 formation with Kevin De Bruyne deeper and Silva in midfield. Fernandinho is another option
Head- to- head and some match facts
These two sides met four times last season, and it was United who emerged with the derby bragging rights having won three of those - including both league games.
The Red Devils have not won three successive league editions of the derby for more than a decade now, while they could also lose three in a row across all competitions for the first time since 2009.
Manchester City have won more Premier League away games at Old Trafford than any other visiting side, though, with six of their seven such victories coming in the last nine seasons.
Man Utd have won their last 4 matches (Premier League).
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 7 of Man City's last 8 games (Premier League).
Man Utd have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches against Man City in all competitions.
Man Utd have seen under 2.5 goals in 5 of their last 6 home matches against Man City in all competitions.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Man Utd's last 3 home games (Premier League).
Is this the best Man Utd team since Sir Alex Ferguson retired?
Spending Over £1BILLION since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013
According to Haitian Times, Manchester United have spent over £1billion in the transfer market since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Their summer acquisitions of Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri – totalling just over £75million – took United’s post-Fergie spend beyond this milestone. In that time, there have been 37 signings, four managers and just three pieces of silverware.
A haul of one FA Cup, one League Cup and one UEFA Europa League in seven seasons illustrates how United have declined as a force – on the pitch at least – since the end of the Ferguson dynasty.
|Sir Alex Ferguson won the Premier League title before retiring as Man United manager in 2013. Photo: PA.|
They are by no means the only Premier League club to surpass the £1bn mark – Manchester City have spent in excess of £1.2bn in the same time span. But then City have won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups.
It’s certainly the case that not every Ferguson signing was an enormous success – remember Bebe? – but United’s recruitment strategy since 2013, overseen by Ed Woodward, has been heavily criticised.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1... United's transfers since 2013
Asked for their five worst signings, four best, three that got away, the two legends they would have back and the one signing needed now, Sky Sports stated:
Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian and Diogo Dalot
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera
3 that got away
Memphis Depay, Wilfried Zaha and Jonny Evans
2 legends Man Utd need now
Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand
1 signing needed now
|Since then, silverware has been scarce at Old Trafford with the 2016 FA Cup a rare success. Photo: Getty.|
The best United side in the post-Fergie era does depend what your definition of "best" is
For Sky Sports' Gerard Brand, this United side may be the most entertaining since 2013, but they need tangible success, consistency and durability to be called the best.
"Is this the best United side since Fergie left? Yes and no. Is this the most exciting United side to watch since Fergie retired? Yes, I think it is. They can score all sorts of goals, and the entire midfield and front three are on form."
"But the true test of a good team is how you react and get yourself off the canvas. The signs since the restart are good; they reacted well a few days after the shock late Saints equaliser, but the true test is to come again when things don't go their way for a couple of games back-to-back. I think there are still question marks there, and no team has won a domestic trophy with four or six weeks of good form."
"If we're looking at United since Fergie left, I do believe the best side they had on balance of both attack and defence sense was 2017/18 season under Jose Mourinho, earning 81 points and conceding just 28 goals all season. But many would say they sacrificed entertaining football for results... it really does depend on what floats your boat!"
|How to watch Man United vs Man City |
According to Evening Standard, there are two ways you can watch this football match including:
+TV channel: Saturday evening’s game will be televised on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League.
+Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers will be able to watch the match online via SkyGo and the Sky Sports app.
Besides, fans can also keep up to date with everything going on in M16 via rolling updates on ManUtd.com and its Official App, where you can also track in-game data using our Match Centre. MUTV will provide build-up, live radio commentary and post-match reaction as well as showing a full rerun of the game the following day.
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