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Bragging rights in Manchester

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Manchester United vs Manchester City preview

For the better part of the history, the bragging rights in the city of Manchester have been claimed by the team wearing the red. However, the last decade has seen a shift with a new rising team wearing the blue. However, despite this, the Manchester Derby remains one of the most entertaining games on the calendar. Manchester City, who are the defending champions, will travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, a team that has played good football in bits and pieces.

The gap between the two teams on the Premier League table might only be six points, but the gulf appears bigger when one sees how both teams operate on the field. Despite losing two of their last three Premier League games, Pep Guardiola’s men still are second on the table while United are currently on eighth.

Both teams are also coming off after winning their respective Champions League clashes. However, while City put Young Boys to the sword, Erik Ten Hag’s men barely scraped their way past Copenhagen, requiring a final-minute penalty save from Andre Onana.

On paper, Manchester City look far better, but if there’s one thing we have learned from past derbies at Old Trafford, it is that even at their worst, United do manage to put in a performance for the ages against their city rivals.

And Erik Ten Hag will be hoping that his team can recreate another of such displays, which will provide an immense boost in a season where they have been inconsistent. To be fair, some situations, such as that of Mason Greenwood and Antony, have been out of their control. However, their on-field performances have not helped their cause either.

In addition, some of their new signings are also getting acclimated to the new setting and have not been operating at their best.

On the other hand, City continue to evolve under Pep Guardiola, with new stars emerging every season. The defending champions lost their creative star Kevin de Bruyne to injury early on in the season and, since then, have improvised their tactics to account for his absence. Star striker Erling Haaland has also had better support from his teammates in sharing the goal-scoring burden.

However, they have not been able to entirely negate the impact of de Bruyne’s absence, as evidenced by their defeats against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal.

Manchester United vs Manchester City lineups 

Manchester United lineup 

Erik Ten Hag was significantly boosted when left-back Sergio Reguilon returned for the Champions League game. With Luke Shaw already out with a muscular injury, the team United were without a proper left back until the Spaniard returned. Furthermore, Casemiro is also training with the team, which means that he is all set to return for the game. Harry Maguire, who scored the winner against Copenhagen, will retain his position in the team alongside Raphael Varane, Reguillon, and Diogo Dalot. Scott McTominay will likely be benched for Casemiro. In attack, Bruno Fernandes will form a triumvirate with Antony and Marcus Rashford behind the sole striker Rasmus Hojlund.

Manchester City predicted lineup: Onana; Reguillon, Maguire, Varane, Dalot; Casemiro, Amrabat; Rashford, Fernandes, Antony; Hojlund 

Manchester City lineup 

Manchester City won their previous Premier League game against Brighton, in which their midfielder Rodri returned after serving a three-game suspension. In his absence, City struggled massively against Wolves and Arsenal. Apart from him, only de Bruyne is out, which gives Guardiola a lot of options to choose from.

City have been playing a back three recently and will continue to do so with Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, and Josko Gvardiol occupying the three positions. John Stones and Rodri will be in the middle of the park behind the quartet of Phil Foden, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez, and Bernardo Silva. Erling Haaland will be the sole striker.

Manchester City predicted lineup: Ederson; Gvardiol, Dias, Walker; Rodri, Stones; Doku, Silva, Alvarez, Foden; Haaland 

Manchester United vs Manchester City predictions 

Out of the two teams, Manchester United are more desperate for a win. The game is a chance to win three points and provide a boost that might propel the team on a run where they can challenge for a top-four spot. While City have been brilliant at their best, there are certain chinks in their armour that United can exploit.

Moreover, the home fans at Old Trafford are also a different beast against their city rivals, and this could propel their team to take something away from the game. FootTheBall predicts a 2-2 draw.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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