MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 07:34:40
Apr 7, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 54,259
Man CityManchester City
Man UtdManchester United
Kompany (25'), Gundogan (30')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Pogba (53', 55'), Smalling (69')

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

Sports Mole previews the Premier League action as Manchester City take on rivals Manchester United with Pep Guardiola's side aiming to be crowned champions.

Manchester City welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League as Pep Guardiola's side aim to be crowned champions with a win over their fierce rivals.

United come into the 176th derby knowing that a victory of their own will keep City waiting for at least another week, as well as sparing any potential blushes by denying City the title on their watch.

Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne takes on Antonio Rudiger during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Chelsea on March 4, 2018© Offside

City head into the game knowing that three points would make them Premier League champions for the third time and top-flight winners for a fifth. What better way to clinch the crown than by beating your local rivals?

History could also be impacted by Guardiola too, who stands on the brink of joining both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti in winning a league title in England and at least two of the other big five leagues on the continent.

This City side could arguably go down as one of the greatest that we have seen in the history of the game, having produced a lucid blend of attacking football and periods of total dominance on the pitch.

Highlights of the campaign have included a 30-match unbeaten run that stretched back into April of last term, while the exploits of Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero have dominated many of the back pages throughout the campaign. Saturday night's fixture could, however, lead to one of the finest clippings City fans will cherish eternally should they beat Mourinho's charges at the Etihad.

Looking at the game itself, City have plenty of work to do as Guardiola's men came horribly unstuck against Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash at Anfield.

Not only does the 3-0 disadvantage leave the Sky Blues on the brink of a European exit, but the manner in which they offered little goal threat against a Liverpool defence that has at times been clumsy will likely concern Guardiola as he looks at the bigger picture on the continental stage next season.

Football often offers plenty of opportunities to right your wrongs in quick succession, and this fixture presents a glorious chance to banish some of those Anfield demons by clinching the title in the 176th Manchester derby.

The two clubs have taken part in 41 Premier League encounters since the birth of the league, where United have tended to dominate with 20 wins during the period. Recent history has often favoured a rising City, however, who will be aiming to embarrass their rivals with the grandest of gestures come Saturday night.

Recent form: DWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWL

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho watches on during the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion on March 17, 2018© Offside

United head into the contest with the main motivation of preventing the mother of all PR disasters following a season that has been coloured by varying inconsistencies.

Ask Mourinho and he will likely point towards progress in Europe and in the Premier League, while also seeking to address the club's "football heritage", but it cannot be ignored that this United side is now coming to terms with living in City's shadow.

The progress made under Guardiola has placed further strain on United, who in another season, without the Sky Blues at such a peak, might well have found themselves at the top of the standings.

The Guardiola revolution has arguably changed perceptions of progress and that has undoubtedly cast a more critical and unflinching eye on Mourinho's rebuilding project at Old Trafford.

What will please United fans of late are the performances of Romelu Lukaku, Jessie Lingard and David de Gea, though. After an inconsistent period in the season, Lukaku has served as a leading figure in United's attack, alongside the mercurial Lingard, whose performances have thrust him into consideration for a starting spot with England at the World Cup. As for De Gea, the Spaniard is leading the pack in the race for the Golden Glove with 16 clean sheets.

Marcus Rashford has fond memories of the derby, given that the youngster scored the only goal of the game having earned his first taste of the derby at senior level back in 2016. That victory at the Etihad almost two years ago also saw Rashford become the youngest derby goalscorer in the history of the Premier League.

The club's shock exit from the Champions League at the hands of Sevilla has left the FA Cup as the only real chance that United have of earning silverware this term, although this fixture is likely to be of as much significance to United's local fanbase as they aim to prevent City from clinching the inevitable on their watch.

United have won their last four fixtures in the Premier League, including crucial wins against Liverpool and Chelsea at Old Trafford, leaving the club firm favourites for a second-place finish come the end of May.

Recent form: WLWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Team News

Sergio Aguero in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Leicester City on February 10, 2018© Offside

Guardiola had suggested that he may field a weakened side against United, although that might well have changed following the recent defeat at Anfield.

City could be without key frontman Aguero, who missed the trip to Liverpool through injury, potentially giving another starting opportunity to Gabriel Jesus.

Raheem Sterling started on the bench in place of Ilkay Gundogan on Wednesday and that gamble seemingly backfired, leaving a chance for Sterling to return on the wing.

United are likely to continue with Lukaku up top as the lone frontman. The Belgium international has scored in each of his last three matches in all competitions.

Phil Jones and Ander Herrera are thought to have regained full fitness, but Daley Blind could still be struggling to make it back in time for the game across town.

Both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay will be competing for a spot in midfield, where the pair will likely be fighting off competition from Herrera to feature alongside Nemanja Matic.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Stones, Otamendi, Kompany; Walker, Sane, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lingard, Mata; Lukaku

Head To Head

United are unbeaten in their last two league visits to the Etihad Stadium, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

City have already beaten United this season, however, clinching a 2-1 win over Mourinho's men in the reverse of this fixture back in December. David Silva gave City the lead before Rashford quickly equalised, although the contest was to be settled by an Nicolas Otamendi goal in the second half.

Across their past six meetings, United have won three, drawn one and lost two against City. The sides have met 41 times in the Premier League, United winning 20, losing 13 and drawing eight against the Sky Blues.

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We say: Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United

City's defeat against Liverpool in midweek perhaps changes the complexion of this contest and Guardiola might alter his plans to go full out for the win, potentially handing his side a much-need boost ahead of their second-leg fixture in the Champions League.

Both sides need no more motivation than knowing that a win for City hands them the Premier League crown, causing pandemonium in the blue half of Manchester. Victory for United will mean little for their own season, but it will at least prevent a seismic embarrassment locally by making City wait just a little longer for glory.

With little but second to play for, Mourinho's cautious approach might fall by the wayside on Saturday night, while Guardiola's choice of personnel will dictate whether the hosts go all guns blazing with another crucial game coming just a few days later.

For the neutrals and Premier League in general, a City win would be entertainment gold and provide a historic endpoint in the club's emphatic march to top-flight glory this term.

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Sergio Aguero in action during the FA Cup game between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City on February 19, 2018
Read Next:
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4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
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