The day when Manchester is either blue or red is upon us. Manchester United and Manchester City lock horns at Old Trafford with European qualification at stake for both these sides.
United have won their last five league games on the trot blowing away Tottenham at Old Trafford and humbling Liverpool in their own backyard to leapfrog City to 3rd place. While Manuel Pellegrini’s side have lost three of their last five games including a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Monday, United are a much different side compared to their patchy selves at the start of the campaign under Louis van Gaal.
Let’s take a look at Manchester United’s lineup in what is effectively a battle for inner city bragging rights.
Projected United Lineup vs City
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
The Spanish shot-stopper barely worked up a sweat last weekend as United enjoyed the vast majority of the possession. But he’ll be undoubtedly kept busy by the likes of Aguero and Silva this time around.
Defence – Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Blind.
Valencia against David Silva could be a mouthwatering contest, considering Valencia has performed his role diligently in recent weeks and kept the likes of Eriksen andSterling quiet in recent weeks. Phil Jones had a fantastic couple of games against Liverpool and then Villa and would be up for the challenge. Marcos Rojo knows all about his Argentinian teammate Sergio Aguero and if the fixture at the Etihad is anything to go by, we’re in for a battle. Daley Blind is dependable and solid at left back.
Midfield – Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Fellaini, Young.
Michael Carrick offers that much-needed balance and calmness to United in midfield and he is complemented by the silky Ander Herrera who has been revelling in his deep-lying playmaker role. Herrera scored a couple of goals against Villa and would be itching to make his mark in a Manchester derby.
Juan Mata’s creativity and vision offer a different dimension to United’s play. The Spaniard will start on the right side while Louis van Gaal has a decision to make on Angel Di Maria, who registered his 10th assist of the season last time out against Villa.
Marouane Fellaini had an impressive game at Eastlands earlier in the campaign and would be relishing taking on a City defence short of confidence.
Striker – Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney scored arguably the greatest overhead kick you’re ever likely to see in this very fixture four years back, and the Manchester United skipper would be desperate to turn around United’s poor recent record in this fixture with a win on Sunday.