English Premier League
Date: Sunday 25th October, 2015
Venue: Old Trafford
The biggest Premier League encounter of the weekend takes place at Old Trafford on Sunday as Manchester United host Manchester City in the eagerly anticipated derby. First place faces third – Arsenal, positioned second, are two goals better than United on goal difference – but there are only two points separating the chasers from the chased.
A convincing away win at Goodison Park for Louis van Gaal’s men will fill them with confidence but doubts arise whether the midweek trip to Moscow will take its toll. City, on the other hand, hosted La Liga side Sevilla in a 2-1 win. An own goal from Adil Rami and late Kevin De Bruyne winner secured a comeback for the Blues.
Manuel Pellegrini, who is in all sorts of bother with City captain Vincent Kompany, described De Bruyne as ‘perfect’ after the recent Champions League clash. Whether or not David Silvia is available, their new Belgian signing promises to be a handful for United.
Thankfully, United don’t have any key players out injured, unless you count Ashley Young. Last season he was definitely one of Van Gaal’s most consistent squad members and surprisingly one on which we had an over-reliance.
City are definitely without Sergio Aguero. The Argentine picked up a lengthy injury while on international duty, just days after entering the Premier League record books. The fifth player to score five goals in one game; he did so in just 20 minutes against Newcastle.
When City is missing a key player like Aguero–and possibly Silva–you’ve got to fancy your chances. United are at home too but need to fight City like they did last season (4-2 at Old Trafford), defending convincingly. Unlike what they showcased recently at the Emirates.
Guaranteed a starting place no matter how woeful his form, United often look like they have fielded only nine outfield players. That is depressing considering it’s our captain we’re talking about. A good performance is due, mind, and there’s not many better fixtures to burst back onto the scene.
Manchester United vs Manchester City Team News
Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are the only absentees from Louis van Gaal’s squad. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are likely to start their third consecutive game at the heart of defense, and the midfield duo of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger should remain the same. Ander Herrera is the one that makes things happen going forward, like fellow Spaniard Juan Mata, who we expect to see return to the starting eleven.
David Silva will not return in time for the derby and Samir Nasri, with his ridiculous Justin Beiber haircut, is still a doubt. We won’t know until Sunday whether Vincent Kompany has been removed from the naughty step.
Possible Starting Line-Ups
Manchester United: David de Gea; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind; Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial; Wayne Rooney.
Manchester City: Joe Hart; Bacary Sagna, Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Aleksandar Kolarov; Yaya Toure, Fernandinho; Jesus Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling; Wilfried Bony.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City