Soccer

Man United Vs Man City Preview

Credit: Sky Sports

Man United vs Man City takes the early kickoff slot Saturday morning. The local Derby completes a hat trick of tricky fixtures for United, including a convincing win over Tottenham, and a not-so convincing draw away to Atalanta. City roll into the match off the back of a 4-1 Champions League victory over Brugge. However, the Cityzens slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the last round of Premier League fixtures. Due to this slip-up, United (5th, 17 points) can draw level with City (3rd, 20 points) should they win.

Full recap of the last round of fixtures here

Squad Updates

Man United

Following the 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, analysts pointed to the lack of defensive organization shown from United.

Since United has switched to a 5-man defensive formation and modified the emphasis of attack to counterattacking. Unfortunately, Raphael Varane was substituted in the first half against Atalanta due to injury. With Victor Lindelof also a doubt for the match, United could be forced to play a back 4. Solskjaer expects the Swedish defender to be available, although. Paul Pogba started midweek, but his poor performance was maligned by former United midfielder Paul Scholes for lack of discipline. Off the field, rumors continue to swirl around the Frenchman’s contract situation, an unwanted distraction ahead of one of the biggest games of the season. Edinson Cavani picked up a late training injury on Friday, ruling him out of the clash.

Man City

Aymeric Laporte will miss the match due to suspension after picking up a red card in the loss to Crystal Palace last weekend. John Stones will deputize for the nationalized Spaniard in defense. Pep Guardiola stated in his press conference that Kyle Walker picked up a minor knock midweek and is doubtful for Saturday. After registering 3-midweek assists from left-back in the Champions League, Joao Cancelo will start from the right should Walker be unavailable. With Rodri and Bernardo Silva in the form of their lives, Kevin De Bruyne’s recent performances have left many wanting more from the Belgian. Jack Grealish finds himself in a similar boat, as fans are beginning to demand more end product from the most expensive Premier League acquisition of all time. It would be bold of Guardiola to drop both, however.

Ilkay Gundogan is in good form and will likely replace one of them, with Foden and Jesus also nailed on to start.

Predictions

City is the favorite according to the bookies, but are winless in their last 4 league matches against United. Having won 3 out of the 4, United should feel confident. On the other hand, Edinson Cavani’s absence could be a decisive blow. Since City will dominate possession, Cavani’s work rate and experience would be valuable in defense.

With 4th placed West Ham hosting 2nd placed Liverpool on Sunday, expect movement at the top of the table. A loss for United could see them potentially 5 points off the Champions League places after just 11 matches. Arsenal, Tottenham, and others could overtake them as well. Needless to say, this is an important match for United. Although Pep resembles Lex Luthor, Ole appears to be his kryptonite. Winning would indicate a return to form for Solskjaer, losing will reopen the debate on his credentials. I expect City to win 2-0 comfortably, limiting United’s chances by denying them the ball.

See you bright and early.

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