Preview: Manchester City vs. Manchester United – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Premier League clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two bitter rivals with a taste for victories lock horns in Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, as Manchester City play host to Manchester United.

The Red Devils have not been in Premier League action since getting the better of Arsenal 3-1 on September 4, while Pep Guardiola‘s side ran out 3-0 winners over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break.

Match preview

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Another day, another goal for Erling Braut Haaland. Now sitting on a remarkable 11 for the Premier League season, the 22-year-old scored his side’s second in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Wolves following Jack Grealish‘s opener 55 seconds into the contest.

Any hopes of Wolves staging a remarkable comeback were dashed when Nathan Collins received a straight red card for an inexcusably high challenge on Grealish, and a 69th-minute strike from Phil Foden completed the job for the reigning champions.

Pep Guardiola’s side had briefly returned to the top of the pile with that 3-0 success, but Arsenal’s subsequent win by the same scoreline over Brentford meant that the champions went into the international break in second place – one point adrift of the North London club.

At least one of Arsenal or third-placed Tottenham Hotspur will drop points in Saturday lunchtime’s North London derby, which could potentially open the door for Man City to reclaim their rightful spot at the top of the pile with a 10th successive home win in all competitions.

It comes as little surprise to learn that Man City are the Premier League’s leading scorers on home turf this season – racking up 14 in just three such games and conceding a joint-low two – and all seven of their last top-flight wins at home have been accompanied by at least three goals.

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The reigning champions could hardly be better prepared for this contest, but nor could Man United, who would have been disappointed to see the international break come around when it did as they seek to maintain their rich vein of form.

The death and state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II means that the Red Devils will be taking part in their first Premier League fixture for nearly a month this weekend, having lost to Real Sociedad and overcome Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League since that 3-1 success over Arsenal.

Having overseen a dramatic upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford with four consecutive top-flight wins, Erik ten Hag earned a nomination for the Premier League’s Manager of the Month award for September after leading his side to fifth in the table – five points adrift of Man City with a game in hand.

A run of three successive away wins, with three clean sheets to boot, represents a potential recipe for success for Ten Hag at the Etihad, but no man since Alex Ferguson has been able to steer the Red Devils to victory in their first Manchester derby in charge of the club.

Man City did the double over Man United by an aggregate scoreline of 6-1 in the 2021-22 season – inflicting a heavy 4-1 defeat upon their rivals at the Etihad back in March – but no fixture in the Premier League has seen the away side win on more occasions, 21 to be exact.

Manchester City Premier League form:

Manchester City form (all competitions):

Manchester United Premier League form:

Manchester United form (all competitions):

Team News

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Man City will expect to be boosted by the long-awaited return of Aymeric Laporte from a knee injury for the Manchester derby, and the centre-back’s comeback will be timely after John Stones went off with a tight hamstring in England’s draw with Germany.

Laporte will most likely have to settle for minutes as a substitute given his lengthy layoff, as Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias continue in the heart of the backline, and Guardiola will be without Kalvin Phillips for a number of weeks due to shoulder surgery.

Kyle Walker‘s return to fitness means that Guardiola is covered at right-back in the likely absence of Stones, while Haaland could become the first player ever to score a hat-trick in three successive Premier League home matches this weekend.

Over at Old Trafford, Man United are sweating over the fitnesses of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, with the former still nursing an Achilles problem while Rashford sustained a thigh injury prior to the international break.

With both strikers considered major doubts for the contest, the door has been opened for Cristiano Ronaldo to make just his second Premier League start of the season after netting for the first time this term against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.

Harry Maguire endured a torrid time with England, which culminated in him returning to Man United with a tight hamstring, but Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez were always expected to pair up at the back.

Martin Dubravka, Donny van de Beek, Brandon Williams and Aaron Wan-Bissaka represent another wealth of injury concerns for Man United, and Ten Hag is facing another selection dilemma with Casemiro and Scott McTominay, with the former pushing hard for a start here.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Haaland, Grealish

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo

We say: Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United

As impressive as their recent resurgence has been, Man United were gifted two of their goals against Arsenal by a leaky Gunners backline, and the enforced swap of an out-of-sorts Ronaldo for an in-form Rashford does not spell optimism for the visitors.

The Red Devils are still finding their feet under Ten Hag, who prepares for a true test of mettle against a Man City side who are almost always in a free-scoring mood at the Etihad, and we can only envisage the champions coming out on top in Sunday’s derby.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

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