Manchester City vs Manchester United | Premier League | Etihad Stadium | Sky Sports
When Manchester City were taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, Manchester United had just won the UEFA Champions League and no one could have foreseen the powershift that was to come in the city.
Fast forward 14 years and City have won five Premier League titles and United are in constant battles for top four, however, it is common knowledge that The Reds will always remain the bigger brother of ‘little city’.
When the two sides face at The Etihad on Sunday afternoon, form will go out of the window, ability will come second to the atmosphere and fight within the game; whoever wants it more, whoever is willing to sacrifice more, will come out on top.
How do Manchester United look?
There are a number of queries United fans will have about the team news going into this one.
None of Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo or Raphael Varane were spotted entering the team hotel on Saturday evening, sparking speculation that the trio may be out and play no part in the derby.
There had been rumours that Ronaldo may would be dropped for this game, with reports suggesting that Bruno Fernandes may be deployed in an unorthodox false nine position, and with CR7 not being seen with the team, these rumours may be coming true.
Edinson Cavani, who has been absent more times than he has been available this season, was supposedly expected to be part of the matchday squad for this match, so only time will tell whether he makes it.
Speaking on the Uruguayan, United boss Ralf Rangnick said “I don’t think he could play for more than, I don’t know, half an hour” … “He’s ready for that, for coming on as a sub but I don’t think he can be in contention to start that game”.Embed from Getty Images
Should Varane miss the match, a centre back partnership of Victor Lindelöf and Harry Maguire would be expected to start, with the latter being dropped in the last match, against Watford, that saw United keep just their second clean sheet in seven games.
In Rangnick’s biggest match so far at United, he did not change from a back four, so the same would be expected against City on Sunday.
Opposition: Manchester CityEmbed from Getty Images
Pep Guardiola’s side sit top of the Premier League, three points ahead of United’s biggest rivals, Liverpool and know that a win in the derby will give them some breathing room over Jurgen Klopp’s side.
There is no question over Pep’s style. He loves to control the ball, dictate the tempo, and wait for openings to punish the opposition.
The use of his fullbacks is intriguing.
Left-back Joao Cancelo and right-back Kyle Walker tuck into midfield when City attack, keeping the middle of the part compact, picking up any loose balls that are cleared by the opposition, to allow them to recycle possession and restart attacks.
It is common knowledge that the blues don’t have a truly recognised number nine, and often play attacking midfielder Phil Foden in the most advanced position.Embed from Getty Images
This often sees City scoring from crosses that are cut back from the byline and tapped into an empty net from the penalty spot.
They do this with ease, making it look simple, but it is almost impossible to stop, and United’s fullbacks must be alert and aware of this going into the match on Sunday.
Under Guardiola, Manchester City have won just one Premier League match at home against United in seven attempts.
Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United