Connect in the back of the net

Both teams head into this game with a lot to play for, as there always is.

Pride, bragging rights and the usual three points are what lay on the line but this particular encounter has the added spice of the winner taking a huge leap towards Champions League qualification.

Thanks to last week’s extra time win against Anderlecht in the Europa League, Manchester United progressed through to face a tough side in the form of Celta Vigo.

Not only does this provide a chance to gain a second piece of silverware for the Red Devils this season, but also another route into the illustrious, historic competition that is the UEFA Champions league.

Due to this, it’s safe to say that the blue side of Manchester are pinning their European qualification hopes on this game more so than the red side is.

 

Team news

Both teams head into this game with fairly long lists of absentees, City with the longer list of seven players either doubtful or completely ruled out.

Manchester City’s list includes Ilkay Gundogan, Bacary Sagna, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones, David Silva, Sergio Aguero (doubtful) and Fernandinho (doubtful).

After recent injuries, United really are hitting an injury crisis, especially in the centre back department.

Players that are ruled out completely include: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling. (All injury news is according to premierinjuries.com)

 

Predicted line-ups

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Bravo, Navas, Otamendi, Kompany, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Young, Herrera, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Martial, Rashford

 

Form

In the Premier league, Manchester City have only been defeated once in their last eleven games.

The single defeat came at Stamford Bridge, a 2-1 loss which was hardly surprising when you consider Chelsea’s dominance this year, especially at home.

The past five Premier League games for Manchester City have been a mixed bag, featuring two wins, a loss and two draws.

Although, fairly impressive form when you consider that they’ve played Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in their last five.

As previously mentioned, City need to win this game, the top four is their only hope of gaining Champions League qualification for the 2017/ 2018 campaign.

An early goal will do them the world of good, United will have to attack as no team wants to lose to their rivals which will leave space for players such as De Bruyne, Sane and Aguero to exploit and hurt the United side.

Manchester United’s Premier League unbeaten streak remains and is now up to an impressive 23 games.

Despite ten of these games being draws, to go twenty-three games unbeaten in this competitive league is a monumental feat, something that has to be admired.

United’s past five Premier League games include three wins and two draws, the most notable of these results being Manchester United’s 2-0 home win over Chelsea.

A tactic similar to what was used in this game may be deployed.

City, having the home advantage, will be pressing for a goal and with the pace that Man Utd hold in the attacking positions they can certainly hurt Manchester City.

 

History

In the past five meetings between these two, the Red Devils have the better record, winning three, drawing two and losing one.

Although, history counts for nothing, both sides have undergone major changes this season, while both club managers are still experiencing their introduction year with their new clubs.

Honours are even this football year, a win and a loss for each Manchester club in the derby puts even more on the line in this heavyweight clash.

 

Written by Lewis Atkin

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