Man City vs. Man U
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick off: 5:30PM
Manchester City will be looking to take another huge step towards winning this season’s Premier League title when they welcome bitter rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who are on an incredible 21-game winning run in all competitions, top the table, 14 points clear of second-placed Man United, who are very much locked in a battle for a top-four finish.
Man City continued their staggering run of form with a 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night, with Gabriel Jesus netting twice and Riyad Mahrez also registering in the latter stages of the contest.
Guardiola’s team have now been victorious in each of their last 21 matches in all competitions, including 15 in the Premier League, which has left them in a very comfortable position at the top of the division.
Mathematically, the title race is far from over, but Man City have a 14-point advantage over second-placed Man United and would take another huge step towards the trophy with a victory in the Manchester derby.
The Citizens have not actually lost in the league since November 21, while they have won every match since back-to-back draws in the middle of December, which included a 0-0 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture.
Man City are breezing towards the league title, while they will face Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the EFL Cup at the end of April looking to secure yet another domestic trophy. The FA Cup, meanwhile, sees them face Everton at the quarter-final stage on March 20, with an improving Toffees also eyeing silverware.
Guardiola’s team are also in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League as they have a 2-0 lead over Borussia Monchengladbach ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie on March 16.
Injuries have been a problem for a number of clubs this term, but Man City currently have a fully-fit squad, meaning that Guardiola will have the luxury of making wholesale changes if he wishes and still selecting a side capable of beating any team on the planet.
The Citizens also have the best home form in the league this season, picking up 35 points from 14 matches, while they have conceded just nine times at the Etihad Stadium in England’s top flight this term, with John Stones and Ruben Dias forming an impressive partnership in the middle of their defence.
Man United, meanwhile, will enter this weekend’s contest off the back of a disappointing goalless draw against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night; the Red Devils have managed to hold onto second position but are only five points clear of fifth-placed Everton, who have a game in hand on each of the top four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have actually drawn each of their last three matches 0-0, while they have shared the points in four of their last five in England’s top flight, which has seen their title hopes evaporate.
Like Man City, the 20-time English champions will have their eyes elsewhere as they prepare to tackle AC Milan in a two-legged Europa League last-16 affair over the next couple of weeks, in addition to facing Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on March 21.
The Red Devils simply cannot afford to let their league form drift, though, as a key period will see them take on Man City, West Ham United and Tottenham in three of their next four encounters.
Paul Pogba’s absence has been felt in recent weeks, while the goals have started to dry up, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all struggling to find the back of the net.
Man United are the second-highest goalscorers in England’s top flight this season with 53, although 15 of those have come from Bruno Fernandes, who has also started to look tired following a lot of football in recent weeks.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton and West Ham will also be hoping for a Man City win in the derby, and there is certainly a possibility that Man United could be pulled out of the Champions League positions over the next couple of weeks if they are unable to find their form once again.
Unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since January 2020, Solskjaer’s side are a team to be taken seriously on their travels, but they have drawn eight of their 14 away league games this term, including a stalemate at Chelsea last weekend.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden, Sterling, Bernardo.
Man U possible XI: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani.