Pep Guardiola’s City are leading the way at the top of the table once more and a victory over their bitter city rivals would inject their title push with renewed energy.
Jose: “I don’t think [Sunday’s game] is special because of what happened last season. It’s special because it is a Manchester derby and it means what it means.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 9, 2018
United, meanwhile, are beginning to recover their form in recent weeks following a difficult early period of the season under Jose Mourinho. Sunday’s game presents a prime opportunity for the Red Devils to make up ground on their old rivals at the top of the table.
Nine points currently separate the two sides, with United seventh in the table heading into the weekend, and with both sides in strong current veins of form, all indications point to another Premier League classic between the two Manchester heavyweights.
How to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Sunday 11 November|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||16:30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Etihad Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Premier League|
Guardiola’s midfield ranks are further depleted by the absence of Ilkay Gundogan, who continues to nurse a hamstring injury picked up during the Champions League encounter with Hoffenheim.
Romelu Lukaku is the possible big-name absentee for Manchester United, with Mourinho’s Belgian star struggling with tendon issues which have kept him out of the recent wins over Bournemouth and Juventus. Lukaku has returned to training but is unlikely to start on Sunday.
Doubts also remain over the fitness of Antonio Valencia, with the United captain having missed out on the midweek trip to Turin despite returning to full training – while Paul Pogba has been added to the injury list late in the week after missing training on Friday.
Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot are also absent with knocks in further blows to Mourinho’s defensive ranks, whilst Marcos Rojo has not featured recently despite returning from injury two weeks ago.
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; B. Silva, Fernandinho, D. Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling|
|Manchester United||De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Sanchez, Martial|
Head to Head Record
In the previous 176 matches between the two sides in all competitions, City have an inferior history of results against old rivals United. The Red Devils have won 73 of their all time encounters with their ‘noisy neighbours’, whilst the blue side of Manchester has enjoyed victory just 51 times. 52 clashes between the sides have ended in draws.
The last meeting of the pair saw United produce a stunning comeback win at the Etihad with a 3-2 victory at the home of the champions. Mourinho’s men fought back from a two-goal first half deficit to claim a dramatic turnaround in the second half to snatch all three points.
City’s previous win over United came not long before that thrilling showdown, however, as Guardiola’s side emerged victorious at Old Trafford earlier that same season, with goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi earning the champions a 2-1 victory.
City have put together a storming run of recent form which has seen Guardiola’s side display the efficiency and firepower of champions. Wednesday’s thumping 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk was the latest piece of emphatic evidence of the sheer strength of City at present.
Even in the absence of star man De Bruyne, City’s attacking excellence has seen them breeze past opponents, as was the case in their previous Premier League outing, in which Guardiola’s men dismantled Southampton with a 6-1 rout at the home.
REPORT: Gabriel Jesus hit a first senior hat-trick as Manchester City took a giant stride towards the Champions League knockout stages with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.https://t.co/1JxZgdbFo1 pic.twitter.com/ouXYT1wiVh
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 7, 2018
That result meant that the Eithad had seen 12 goals scored by the home side in the space of three days, making United’s trip to face their neighbours all the more daunting for Mourinho’s side. City’s recent 1-0 win over Tottenham at Wembley also displayed an unerring capability of beating the other big teams, home or away.
United, meanwhile, have developed a recent knack of comeback results which suggest a renewed resilience and determination among Mourinho’s charges in refusing to be beaten.
Their midweek win over Juventus was the finest example, as United produced a late show to come from a goal down in Turin to snatch a stunning win at the home of the imperious Italian champions, despite former hero Cristiano Ronaldo drawing first blood in the match.
A similar late turnaround saw United claim a vital win away at Bournemouth last weekend as Marcus Rashford struck in injury time to seal a dramatic win for the Red Devils after the home side had led in the game.
Here’s a look at how both sides have performed in their previous five outings.
|Manchester City||Manchester United|
|Shakhtar Donestsk 0-3 Man City|
|Chelsea 2-2 Man United|
|Tottenham 0-1 Man City|
|Man United 0-1 Juventus|
|Man City 2-0 Fulham|
|Man United 2-1 Everton|
|Man City 6-1 Southampton|
|Bournemouth 1-2 Man United|
|Man City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk|
|Juventus 1-2 Man United|
Manchester United are certainly the side with more to prove in Sunday’s Manchester derby, though the recent showing of grit and resilience in a string of comeback victories in important matches have suggested that Mourinho’s side are well up for the fight.
It doesn’t get much more difficult than a trip to face Juventus in Turin, and United’s overcoming of that obstacle will have provided confidence of doing the same away to City, though an away day at the Eithad is arguably as tough as they come at present.
“That’s exactly what we wanted going into the derby!”
“The substitutes and Jose must take huge credit.”
“Martial deserves a special mention, he was United’s best player.”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 7, 2018
City have been blitzing all who stand before them of late, with real efficiency at both ends of the pitch raising the game of Guardiola’s side ever further. United will require a real old-fashioned display of miserly Mourinho-style defending to halt the City juggernaut on Sunday.
United certainly have enough quality and form to be in the game, but City should simply have too much quality and confidence for their old rivals to live with at the Etihad.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United