Eternal rivals Manchester United and Manchester City will lock horns at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for the 191st edition of the hugely anticipated Manchester derby.
Erik ten Hag’s men have enjoyed a slight upturn in fortunes recently after recording three wins on the trot, showing signs that the tides could be swirling in their favour.
However, Sunday’s showdown against Man City represents perhaps their strongest test of character this season in what promises to be an enthralling game of football.
Man United have been plagued with injury problems this term, which contributed significantly to their awful start to the 2023/24 campaign.
However, Ten Hag’s side have been offered a reprieve on the injury front with several key players returning to training, although Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw remain long-term absentees.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is among those who have returned to full first-team training, although the Man City game could come too early for the Englishman.
According to Ten Hag, Casemiro is in the race against time after twisting his ankle while on international duty with Brazil. But he is unlikely to be risked for the derby showdown.
Man United are aiming to repeat last season’s feat after coming from behind to win this fixture 2-1 on home turf.
Despite the brighter mood in the dressing room after their previous results, a reality check could be on the cards on Sunday with Man United still not at full strength.
Unlike their Manchester counterparts, the Cityzens do not have any pressing concerns heading into the derby affair, although Kevin De Bruyne remains a long-term absentee.
Pep Guardiola has a largely healthy squad to choose from, with player preference likely to be a huge determining factor in naming his starting line-up.
Man City are favourites heading into the mouth-watering contest, but after losing their last two Premier League fixtures on the road, they will need to be wary of the threat from their local rivals.
The last time Man City lost more consecutive away games was in 2020, which included a 2-0 defeat at Man United, setting the stage for an action-packed showdown at the Theatre of Dreams.
Man United potential starting line-up
(4-2-3-1): Andre Onana; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Sergio Reguilon; Sofyan Amrabat, Christian Eriksen; Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Antony, Rasmus Hojlund.
Man City potential starting line-up
(3-4-2-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol; John Stones, Rodri; Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden; Erling Braut Haaland.
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