Manchester United vs Manchester City Preview and Lineups

Saturday’s Premier League action gets underway at Old Trafford with the 186th edition of the Manchester derby between Manchester United and Manchester City. It’s time to preview the game and take a look at the expected lineups.

Man United needed another Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics to avoid defeat against Atalanta in Bergamo in midweek Premier League action. The 36-year-old’s brace, including a stunning last-gasp equalizer, gave the Red Devils a 2-2 draw in Italy, extending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s life at Old Trafford at least until this weekend.

In the meantime, Man City swept Club Brugge away with an overwhelming 4-1 victory at the Etihad, maintaining their impressive Champions League campaign. After reeling off a series of underwhelming performances in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to translate their European form to the domestic front.

Manchester United vs Manchester City Head-to-Head

Manchester United have the all-time H2H record in the Premier League firmly on their side, having won 50% of their meetings with Manchester City since the competition was rebranded in 1992 (W24, D9, L15). Despite his topsy-turvy managerial career at the Theatre of Dreams, Solskjaer has a fair share in the Red Devils’ H2H supremacy.

Since falling to a 2-0 home defeat in his managerial Manchester derby debut in April 2019, the Norwegian has guided Man United to a four-match unbeaten streak against Man City in the Premier League (W3, D1). Having that said, the reigning English champions have won seven Premier League matches at Old Trafford, the joint-most of any team in the competition.

Though it may sound surprising, the Red Devils have registered a clean sheet in their last three top-flight encounters against cross-town rivals in a row. That’s as many shutouts as they had in their previous 18 Premier League clashes against the Citizens. 

Manchester United Form Preview

There are very few managers in the Premier League who are under more pressure than Solskjaer. The Norwegian has come under heavy scrutiny following Manchester United’s lackluster start to the season. Though a comprehensive 3-0 win over Tottenham last time out threw Solskjaer a lifeline, this could prove a crucial fixture for his future at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer’s decision to shift his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-1-2 versus Spurs immediately bore fruits, as the Red Devils kept a Premier League clean sheet for the first time since a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton in late August. However, they have failed to register a shutout in any of their last 13 top-flight matches at Old Trafford, which remains a massive concern.

The famed Old Trafford still strikes fear into the hearts of the visiting sides, yet Man United have slumped at home in 2021. After suffering seven competitive defeats on home turf in 2021, the Red Devils could lose eight in a single calendar year for the first time since 1989.

Manchester City Form Preview

Despite Manchester City’s landslide victory over Club Brugge, the scars of a 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace last time out are still fresh. Guardiola may rue his failed attempts to sign Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the summer, as his men continue to struggle with an out-and-out striker. 

The Citizens have failed to get on the scoresheet in three of their opening ten Premier League fixtures this term, as many as they had throughout the entire 2020/21 campaign. Against this backdrop, they have racked up three wins in four league away matches (D1) since falling to a 1-0 loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Matchday 1.

Given Man City’s well-documented winning mentality and mental fortitude, it may come as some surprise that they’ve failed to win any of the three Premier League games in which they conceded first this season (D1, L2). The abovementioned loss to Palace could summon devils from the past, as the last time City lost back-to-back top-flight matches, the first of those defeats came at the hands of non-other than the Eagles.

Manchester United vs Manchester City Predicted Line-ups

Manchester United (3-4-1-2): David de Gea; Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Fred, Luke Shaw; Bruno Fernandes; Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker; Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva; Phil Foden.