Down The Wings

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Match Preview: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Manchester City vs Manchester United | Premier League | Etihad Stadium | KO 16:30 | Sky Sports

Manchester United travel to the Etihad on Sunday afternoon to face Manchester City, in the 185th iteration of the Manchester Derby, knowing only a win will be good enough to leapfrog Leicester City and regain second place in the Premier League.

Should Pep Guardiola’s side win, they will move seventeen points clear of The Reds, and given that City have dropped just sixteen points all season, the title race will be over.

Whether United ever showed enough to be true title challengers this season is up for debate, however a loss against The Blues will once again indicate that they have not been good enough against the big sides, when it really matters.

They have won none of their seven matches against ‘big six’ opposition this season, picking up just five points in that time.

Title challengers must win the majority of their big matches, whereas United have not even won one this season, which is not good enough.

How do Manchester United Look?

Paul Pogba’s absence is the biggest blow for United going into the derby.

The Frenchman has been unavailable in recent weeks, and this has led to a dip in United’s performances and, most importantly, results.

Since Pogba came off injured against Everton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have won just one of their four Premier League matches and have failed to score in each of their last two.

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Should Manchester City’s strong defence manage to isolate Bruno Fernandes and stop him creating chances, then United will undoubtedly struggle at the Etihad.

Anthony Martial missed United’s last match- a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace, with an injury, but is expected to be back on Sunday.

Edinson Cavani started in the trip to Selhurst Park, but came off injured, and was not photographed entering the team hotel, so is a doubt.

Donny Van de Beek is still unlikely to play due to injury.

David de Gea is in Spain, following the birth of his child, so Dean Henderson is again expected to start.

Opposition: Manchester City

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Manchester City, unfortunately for United, are in the form of their lives.

They have won their last 21 matches in all competitions, and have looked dominant in doing so, in a run that has took them to the Carabao Cup final, took them clear at the top of the Premier League, and has them with one foot in the UEFA Champions League quarter final.

Ruben Dias has been the signing of the season, solidifying their defence, taking them from a decent looking side, to one that is capable of winning the lot.

They are expected to have an almost fully fit side to face United, with fourth choice defender Nathan Ake being the only injury doubt.

Key Stats

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Manchester United did the double over Manchester City in the Premier League last season and drew 0-0 at Old Trafford earlier in this campaign.

United have won in each of their last two visits to the other side of Manchester, a record that will give them some belief going into this one.

Prediction

Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United.

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