Coming off the back of a solid, if not necessarily spectacular victory against Peterborough in midweek, Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to be at their brilliant best in the Manchester derby on Sunday evening.
Grinding out a 1-0 win against Everton in their previous Premier League clash, the pressure is on Manchester City to get the all-important three points as a heated title race till the end of the season beckons.
On the other end of the spectrum, Manchester United sit in fourth place, having played two and three games over top four rivals Arsenal and Tottenham respectively – meaning defeat this weekend could further dent their chances of Champions League football for next season.
With a goalless draw against Watford in their previous fixture as an indicator of their topsy-turvy form, Ralf Rangnick’s side have a steep test on their hands, as they face the best side in English football at present.
After Manchester City conquered Old Trafford with a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture in November, a league double could be on the cards for the Premier League champions.
As the world waits in anticipation for the 187th Manchester Derby, here is how we expect the league leaders to line-up.
Starting with no surprises in goal once again, Ederson is expected to keep his place from Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Peterborough United.
After being benched against Everton in Manchester City’s last league encounter and being suspended for their most recent clash against the Posh, Kyle Walker will be raring to go at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening.
With Ruben Dias ruled out for up to six weeks, according to Pep Guardiola, the Portuguese international will miss out on the weekend’s Manchester Derby – as John Stones could be in contention to occupy the right-sided centre-back role.
Ruben Dias could miss a total of seven games for Manchester City, should he remain sidelined for the total period of six weeks. A comprehensive list of those matches can be found here.
Aymeric Laporte is likely to partner the Englishman in the centre of defence.
A 100th start in a Manchester City shirt across all competitions seems imminent for Joao Cancelo, who was rested in favour of Oleksandr Zinchenko at the Weston Homes Stadium.
Goalkeeper vs Manchester United: Ederson
Right-Back vs Manchester United: Kyle Walker
Right-Sided Centre-Back vs Manchester United: John Stones
Left-Sided Centre-Back vs Manchester United: Aymeric Laporte
Left-Back vs Manchester United: Joao Cancelo
Rodri is expected to slot straight back into his usual defensive midfield role against Manchester United on the weekend, after Fernandinho occupied the position against Peterborough in midweek.
With a big game on the horizon, there’s no better man for such occasions than Bernardo Silva – who is likely to be the first name on the teamsheet, especially after his antics in the reverse fixture.
Kevin De Bruyne is another name who looks certain to be an automatic starter this weekend, as he has the chance to score his 50th Premier League goal for Manchester City.
Defensive Midfielder vs Manchester United: Rodri
Attacking Midfielder vs Manchester United: Bernardo Silva
Attacking Midfielder vs Manchester United: Kevin De Bruyne
After scoring a stunning opener against Peterborough on Tuesday night, the in-form Riyad Mahrez is dead set to start from the off, especially after being named on the bench for the Premier League champions’ previous two league games against Everton and Tottenham.
Following a midfield masterclass from Phil Foden in the FA Cup fifth round this week, the boyhood Manchester City fan is expected to operate as a false nine on derby day.
Raheem Sterling was rested mid-week, which likely means Pep Guardiola was resting him for the all-important clash on Sunday.
Right-Wing vs Manchester United: Riyad Mahrez
False-Nine vs Manchester United: Phil Foden
Left-Wing vs Manchester United: Raheem Sterling
Starting XI: Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo; Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling.
Substitutes: Scott Carson, Cieran Slicker, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, James McAtee, Jack Grealish, Gabriel Jesus, Liam Delap.
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