MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 21:40:57| >> :120:6913:6913:
Mar 8, 2020 at 4.30pm UK at Old Trafford
Attendance: 73,288
Man UtdManchester United
2-0
Man CityManchester City
Martial (30'), McTominay (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's derby between Manchester United and Manchester City, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Local rivals Manchester United and Manchester City will meet for the fourth time in the space of three months this weekend when the Red Devils welcome the reigning champions to Old Trafford on Sunday.

United currently boast the bragging rights for the season with two wins to one, but they sit 15 points behind Sunday's visitors in the Premier League table and know that anything other than a victory could harm their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.


Match preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on on January 29, 2020© Reuters

The 182nd edition of this derby may not carry as much weight as many of the recent meetings when it comes to the destination of the Premier League title, but it still promises to be a significant one for United in particular.

The race for Champions League football next season continues to be hotly contested with only three points separating four teams between fifth and eighth, while Burnley, Arsenal and Everton cannot be counted out just yet either.

Man City's European ban could be cause for double celebration as far as United are concerned if they do end up finishing fifth - the position they currently occupy - with that enough to earn a seat at Europe's top table as things stand.

However, the Red Devils will need to hold off stiff competition from Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United, the latter of whom arguably hold the advantage at this stage given their game in hand over the teams above them in the table.

Man City's appeal against the ban does mean that a question mark remains over whether fifth place will be enough, though, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will no doubt be urging his side to exploit Chelsea's inconsistency and bridge the three-point gap to the top four over the final 10 games of the season.

Manchester United's Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring their third goal with Manchester United's Fred and teammates on March 5, 2020© Reuters

United are certainly going into the business end of the campaign in good form; Thursday's FA Cup cruise at Wayne Rooney's Derby County booked their place in the quarter-finals and made it nine games unbeaten across all competitions, during which time they have kept seven clean sheets and conceded only two goals.

Solskjaer will justifiably argue that they should have only conceded one goal considering David de Gea's gift to Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 1-1 draw with Everton last time out, although a contentious VAR call then denied the Toffees a late winner at Goodison Park to keep United's unbeaten streak intact.

The 20-time champions will be looking to get back to winning ways in a double-header which sees them face Man City and fellow Champions League hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur in their next two top-flight games, while a Europa League trip to LASK Linz is sandwiched between those two matches.

It is a relatively kind run-in for United after that, though, with Sheffield United and Leicester City the only teams currently in the top half that they will have to face in their final eight games of the campaign.

A positive result against City this weekend would be a bonus to some extent, then, although Solskjaer has already got the better of Pep Guardiola in two of their three meetings this season, both of which came at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City players pose with the trophy as they celebrate winning the EFL Cup on March 1, 2020© Reuters

However, City's record at Old Trafford has been superb in recent years, while their most recent defeat to United was made irrelevant by the first-leg victory in that EFL Cup semi-final as they booked their place at Wembley courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

Guardiola's side went on to continue their dominance of domestic cup competitions by beating Aston Villa in last weekend's final, claiming a third successive EFL Cup crown, while they sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup by edging past Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

Throw their memorable victory away to Real Madrid into the mix and this is Man City's first taste of Premier League action since scraping past Leicester on February 22 - a result which secured successive top-flight clean sheets for only the second time this season.

Plenty has changed since then - in addition to collecting another trophy and winning at the Bernabeu, they have also seen Liverpool lose in the league for the first time this season, although they remain 22 points adrift of Jurgen Klopp's side and that deficit could grow to 25 when the Reds face Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime.

Liverpool's defeat was of more significance to City in that it means the Reds could now win the title at the Etihad Stadium on April 5 if both teams keep on winning, although Guardiola's side face some tough challenges between then and now with United, Arsenal, Burnley, Real Madrid and an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United still to come in March.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on February 26, 2020© Reuters

The priority for the remainder of the campaign will still be adding the Champions League to their trophy cabinet, but Guardiola is a serial winner and this is a team built in his mould so they will very much have their sights set on a League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League treble now.

The champions will not wave the white flag in the Premier League either with the outcome of their European ban still to be decided, and victory on Sunday would see them build an 18-point lead over United to close in on confirmation of a top-four spot.

City make the short trip to Old Trafford looking to win six consecutive games across all competitions for the first time this season, while they could also keep three Premier League clean sheets in a row for the first time in 2019-20.

The magnitude of the match - and perhaps the desire to prevent United from being the team to capitalise on their European ban - should be enough to ensure that the players' minds remain focused on domestic matters rather than the looming visit of Madrid later this month.

However, Guardiola could still consider changes to his team following the announcement that their league game against Arsenal - postponed due to the EFL Cup final - will now take place at short notice on Wednesday evening.

Manchester United Premier League form: LLDWWD
Manchester United form (all competitions): WDWWDW

Man City Premier League form: WDWLWW
Man City form (all competitions): LWWWWW


Team News

Kevin De Bruyne warms up for Man City on March 1, 2020© Reuters

Both teams have injury doubts hanging over key players ahead of Sunday's contest, with Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Maguire both facing a race to be fit in time.

De Bruyne is suffering from a back injury which ruled him out of the midweek win at Hillsborough, although Guardiola revealed in his pre-match press conference that the playmaker is "getting better" and could still be in contention to feature.

The derby comes too soon for Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, though, with the latter still working towards match fitness having been sidelined since August with a knee injury.

Guardiola has a decision to make regarding who leads the line; Gabriel Jesus scored the winner in their last league outing whereas Sergio Aguero netted the only goal of the game in midweek.

That strike means that the Argentine has now scored 23 goals across all competitions this season - more than any other Premier League player - while he also now has 254 goals in 367 appearances for City, one more than United's record scorer Rooney managed in 559 games for the Red Devils.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their first goal on March 4, 2020© Reuters

Another Rooney record is now in sight for Aguero, who would surpass the former England captain as the leading scorer in Manchester derby history with a hat-trick at Old Trafford. Aguero is currently on nine derby goals, one short of the Man City club record and two behind Rooney's mark of 11.

At the other end of the spectrum, Raheem Sterling will once again be looking for his first ever goal against United, having drawn blanks in all 19 of his previous meetings at Liverpool and Man City - by far his worst run against any opponent.

The winger will no doubt be hoping for another De Gea mistake, then - no player has made more errors leading directly to goals in the Premier League since the start of last season - but Solskjaer has confirmed that the Spaniard remains his number one.

A number of other players are expected to return to the starting XI after sitting out on Thursday, although injury doubts persist over Maguire (ankle), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back) and Daniel James (knock).

Solskjaer is hopeful of having all three available for the match, but Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba remain sidelined with this derby coming just too soon for the latter, who is due to return to first-team training next week.

Anthony Martial could be pushed out wide after Odion Ighalo scored twice in midweek, with the January loan arrival staking his claim for a first Premier League start since New Year's Day in 2017.

Bruno Fernandes, who has been widely credited with giving United the lift which has resulted in their improved form, is expected to start again having been directly involved in 19 goals from 21 league games for Sporting Lisbon and United this season.

Man Utd possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Fred; James, Fernandes, Martial; Ighalo

Man City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling


Head To Head

Unusually, the home side has failed to win seven of the last eight editions of this fixture, with one draw and six victories for City in that time.

That includes three consecutive Man City victories at Old Trafford in all competitions, and another away win this weekend would see United lose four home derbies in a row for the first time since February 1931.

On the flip side, United could win back-to-back matches against Man City for the first time in a decade, while 2009-10 was also the last time the Red Devils did the double over their local rivals.

The reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium saw Rashford and Martial earn United a 2-1 victory in December, with Nicolas Otamendi pulling a goal back for Man City.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Man United 2-2 Man City

There have only been two draws in the last 24 editions of this derby across all competitions, but with both sides coming into the match in good form we can see them cancelling each other out.

United certainly need the win more than City in terms of their league aspirations this season, but the away team has dominated this fixture in recent years and we are backing Guardiola's side to come away with a share of the spoils on Sunday.



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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates their second goal scored by Odion Ighalo on February 27, 2020
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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