Down The Wings

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Match Preview: Manchester United vs Manchester City

Manchester United vs Manchester City | Premier League | Old Trafford | Sky Sports

Following a draw and a win in the first two of United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘three matches to save his job’, it is all to play for on Saturday afternoon when Manchester City visit Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the first derby of the season, with reports suggesting that the game is crucial in the future of the Norwegian.

Should United win, they will draw level on points with City, but a loss will continue their patchy run of form, and, dependent on the manner of the loss, could cost Solskjaer his job.

The Reds are struck with a number of injury concerns, so it will be intriguing to see how the boss sends out his players on Saturday.

How do Manchester United look?

The most pressing injury worry for United, following their 2-2 draw with Atalanta, is the fitness of Frenchman Raphael Varane.

The summer signing has only recently returned from a spell on the side-line but is set to miss at least another four weeks of action due to a hamstring issue he picked up in Italy.

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Speaking ahead of the derby, Solskjaer confirmed the bad news on Varane, saying “With all the technology, you expect him to be out for four-five weeks. It’s a blow for us as he’s come in and been really influential, but Eric Bailly came in last time and was exceptional”, suggesting that Eric Bailly may be the one to replace Varane at the weekend.

This, therefore, indicates that United will again start with a back five against City, with a central defensive partnership trio of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf (who is expected to be fit again) and Bailly.

When Varane went off injured in midweek, The Reds reverted to the 4-2-3-1 formation that fans have become accustomed with under Solskjaer, suggesting that the manager does not have complete faith in his new system- a potentially worrying sign for the future.

Marcus Rashford was not seen with the squad arriving at the team hotel on Friday evening, but there are no other indications that he will not be involved

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There are also unconfirmed reports coming out of Uruguay that Edinson Cavani has a recurring issue that may force him out of the match, although no official club source has addressed these rumours yet.

Paul Pogba is still unavailable, due to the suspension he picked up for his red card against Liverpool, whilst Fred was thought to be a doubt but has travelled with the squad.

Opposition: Manchester City

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Pep Guardiola’s side are yet to really get going in their title defence this season and sit third in the league, with 20 points from the opening 10 league games.

City play a typical Guardiola brand of football, waiting for opportunities to arise thanks to their ‘tiki taka’ style.

They do not play with a recognised number nine, something that they attempted to rectify in the summer by approaching both Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kane’s price tag was too much, and United legend Ronaldo would never ever join a club like City and made the correct choice in re-joining the biggest team in the world, and by far the most successful in Manchester.

Their lack of attacking options through the middle has resulted in them failing to score in seven of their 17 games so far this campaign, a clear weakness for the blues.

They look solid defensively, although will be without the suspended Aymeric Laporte, and Kyle Walker is a doubt due to injury.

Key Stats

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has one of the best records in the world against Pep Guardiola, winning three and drawing one of his eight games against the Spaniard.

United have not lost to City in the Premier League since 2019.


Manchester United 1-1 Manchester City.

Match Preview Writer

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