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Preview: Manchester City vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester City will be looking to take another huge step towards winning this season's Premier League title when they welcome bitter rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Pep Guardiola's side, who are on an incredible 21-game winning run in all competitions, top the table, 14 points clear of second-placed Man United, who are very much locked in a battle for a top-four finish.


Match preview

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on March 2, 2021© Reuters

Man City continued their staggering run of form with a 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night, with Gabriel Jesus netting twice and Riyad Mahrez also registering in the latter stages of the contest.

Guardiola's team have now been victorious in each of their last 21 matches in all competitions, including 15 in the Premier League, which has left them in a very comfortable position at the top of the division.

Mathematically, the title race is far from over, but Man City have a 14-point advantage over second-placed Man United and would take another huge step towards the trophy with a victory in the Manchester derby.

The Citizens have not actually lost in the league since November 21, while they have won every match since back-to-back draws in the middle of December, which included a 0-0 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture.

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal in the Premier League on February 21, 2021© Reuters

Man City are breezing towards the league title, while they will face Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the EFL Cup at the end of April looking to secure yet another domestic trophy. The FA Cup, meanwhile, sees them face Everton at the quarter-final stage on March 20, with an improving Toffees also eyeing silverware.

Guardiola's team are also in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League as they have a 2-0 lead over Borussia Monchengladbach ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie on March 16.

Injuries have been a problem for a number of clubs this term, but Man City currently have a fully-fit squad, meaning that Guardiola will have the luxury of making wholesale changes if he wishes and still selecting a side capable of beating any team on the planet.

The Citizens also have the best home form in the league this season, picking up 35 points from 14 matches, while they have conceded just nine times at the Etihad Stadium in England's top flight this term, with John Stones and Ruben Dias forming an impressive partnership in the middle of their defence.

Manchester United's Luke Shaw in action with Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend in the Premier League on March 3, 2021© Reuters

Man United, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a disappointing goalless draw against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night; the Red Devils have managed to hold onto second position but are only five points clear of fifth-placed Everton, who have a game in hand on each of the top four.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have actually drawn each of their last three matches 0-0, while they have shared the points in four of their last five in England's top flight, which has seen their title hopes evaporate.

Like Man City, the 20-time English champions will have their eyes elsewhere as they prepare to tackle AC Milan in a two-legged Europa League last-16 affair over the next couple of weeks, in addition to facing Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on March 21.

The Red Devils simply cannot afford to let their league form drift, though, as a key period will see them take on Man City, West Ham United and Tottenham in three of their next four encounters.

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring against Real Sociedad in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

Paul Pogba's absence has been felt in recent weeks, while the goals have started to dry up, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all struggling to find the back of the net.

Man United are the second-highest goalscorers in England's top flight this season with 53, although 15 of those have come from Bruno Fernandes, who has also started to look tired following a lot of football in recent weeks.

Solskjaer's side might have dropped to third by the time that they take to the field for this game as Leicester will be looking to return to winning ways away to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday night.

Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton and West Ham will also be hoping for a Man City win in the derby, and there is certainly a possibility that Man United could be pulled out of the Champions League positions over the next couple of weeks if they are unable to find their form once again.

Unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since January 2020, Solskjaer's side are a team to be taken seriously on their travels, but they have drawn eight of their 14 away league games this term, including a stalemate at Chelsea last weekend.

Manchester City Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Manchester United Premier League form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Manchester United form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D


Team News

Dean Henderson warms up for Manchester United on February 25, 2021© Reuters

Man City boss Guardiola revealed on Friday that he has a full squad for this contest, with Nathan Ake overcoming a muscular problem to make himself available for selection.

There are expected to be wholesale changes from the side that started against Wolves, with Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko all in line to return to the starting XI.

Guardiola has decisions to make in the final third of the field, but it would not be a surprise to see Raheem Sterling operate through the middle, with Foden and Bernardo Silva in the wide areas, meaning that Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Mahrez could all be on the bench.

As for Man United, Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that David de Gea has returned to Spain for the birth of his first child, meaning that Dean Henderson will keep his spot between the sticks.

Phil Jones, Juan Mata and Pogba are all still unavailable through injury, but Martial and Donny van de Beek could return to the squad, having been absent against Palace.

Victor Lindelof is also expected to return in the heart of the defence as his back problem was protected against Palace, while Daniel James is likely to feature on the right for the Red Devils.

Greenwood could be the player to drop out in the final third, with Edinson Cavani making his return from injury at Selhurst Park on Wednesday, and the Uruguay international should retain his spot here.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Sterling, Bernardo

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani


Head To Head

Man United lead the head-to-head record over Man City 76 wins to 55, while there have also been 53 draws between the two bitter rivals dating back to 1891.

The two teams played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford earlier this season, but Man City overcame Solskjaer's side in the EFL Cup at the start of January courtesy of a 2-0 success.

Last season's league clash at the Etihad Stadium ended in a 2-1 victory for Man United, with Rashford and Martial on the scoresheet for the 20-time English champions. As a result, Man City's last home victory over the Red Devils in any competition was a 3-1 Premier League success in November 2018.


SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United

Man United have won three of their last six meetings with Man City in all competitions, suffering just two defeats, both of which were at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are more than capable of making it a difficult afternoon for Guardiola's side, but we are struggling to back anything other than a home win here.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring their third goal on February 13, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd32199464352966
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham32167953421155
5Chelsea31159750311954
6Liverpool31157953371652
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs321481054371750
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal32137124436846
10Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
11Aston Villa301351243331044
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32118133241-941
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton31106153956-1736
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153553-1835
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton31712123338-533
17Burnley3289152645-1933
18Fulham33512162543-1827
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3242261756-3914

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