In Review

Manchester derby preview: Man City vs. Man Utd team news and predictions

Midweek victories have boosted the confidence of the rival teams and fans

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

  • What: Premier League matchweek 16  
  • When: Saturday 7 December 
  • Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester  
  • Kick-off time: 5.30pm (GMT) 
  • TV coverage: live on Sky Sports

Manchester rivals City and United go into this weekend’s derby clash on the back of impressive midweek victories in the Premier League. 

On Tuesday Pep Guardiola’s Man City side returned to form with a 4-1 win against Burnley. Gabriel Jesus (two), Rodri and Riyad Mahrez were on the scoresheet for the defending champions at Turf Moor. 

At Old Trafford on Wednesday night Marcus Rashford scored a double as Man Utd beat Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur. The 2-1 win has lifted the pressure on United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.  

Ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby City sit third in the Premier League table, three points behind second-placed Leicester and 11 points adrift of leaders Liverpool. United are in sixth.  

How to watch on TV?

The Manchester derby kicks off at 5.30pm and is live on Sky Sports. Sky’s coverage begins at 5pm.

What the managers said

City boss Guardiola on striker Jesus

“He has to be himself; we need his goals. That’s why we could win the last game - so we need him for his goals. He has put this idea in his head that he can do it every game.

“Confidence has to be here all the time, not because of a good or bad performance, winning games or losing games. 

“With the greatest athletes all the time something undeniable is their mentality and how strong they are. I think that is the key difference, they have to play, they would not be there without it. 

“Always they can control it, they don’t need a manager to speak to them, mum, dad friends, they have to believe ‘I am good enough and I am going to show again that I am’.”

United boss Solskjaer on the derby

“Manchester derbies are always special games but you can’t say it matters more... for the fans, of course. We’re up for it. The fans were fantastic at home [against Tottenham] and I’m sure we’ll hear them on Saturday.

“Confidence is a strange thing in football. You can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much and I know our boys will be up for it.

“We’re going away against arguably the best team in England. It will be a difficult game but we need consistency.”

Derby team news and possible starting XIs

Man City team news 

After his two goals in midweek Gabriel Jesus will continue up front for City in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero.

Ilkay Gundogan returns from suspension but Pep Guardiola could keep Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva as his midfield three. 

Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has not played since the start of October and has returned to training this week. Centre-half Aymeric Laporte and winger Leroy Sane remain on the long-term injury list.

When asked about Zinchenko’s fitness, Guardiola said: “He’s trained the last days, with all the squad. He’s ready, but due to the physical condition, I don’t know how many minutes he can play.”

Man Utd team news

Midfielder Paul Pogba will definitely miss the derby but his French team-mate Anthony Martial could be involved after sitting out the win against Spurs. 

United boss Solskjaer said: “We hope to have Anthony definitely for part of the game [against City] - I’m not sure if he’s able to start.”

Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot are also out but Nemanja Matic could return to the squad. 

Possible starting XIs
  • Man City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, D Silva; B Silva, Jesus, Sterling 
  • Man Utd: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Pereira, McTominay, Fred, James; Lingard, Rashford 

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Pundit predictions: who will win the derby? 

Charlie Nicholas, Sky Sports 

“Does United’s victory over Spurs signify the turning of a corner under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? We’ve said that so many times, but we’ve been proven wrong on every occasion. City have the fire, the burning desire back in their bellies, we saw that in the victory at Burnley, and it is for that reason why the United revival will be short-lived. It will be a blue day in Manchester. Prediction: Man City 3 Man Utd 1.”

Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport

“I know United played very well in their win over Tottenham on Wednesday, and that they have had some good results against the bigger clubs this season. But from their wins over Chelsea and Spurs to their draw with Liverpool, those results have all come at Old Trafford, and they have still only won once away in the league - at Norwich. City were impressive as they beat Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday night and for Gabriel Jesus to score twice was more good news for them. Prediction: Man City 2 Man Utd 0.”

Andy Murray, British tennis player, via BBC

“If Paul Pogba were to be back that would help United a little bit, but I am going with City. 3-1.”

Tom Doyle, London Evening Standard

“The Red Devils will be full of confidence heading to the Etihad given their impressive win over Tottenham, and the fact that they have performed better this season against the big teams as opposed to lesser opponents who tend to sit back. United are capable of getting a result against a City team lacking both confidence and the ruthlessness of Sergio Aguero, but Guardiola will feel he has enough quality in the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne to seal three points. Prediction: Man City 2 Man Utd 1.”

The Stats Zone

“Both teams warmed up for the derby with impressive wins in midweek as City beat Burnley and United overcame Spurs. Guardiola’s men have not been at their free-flowing best lately but have been playing at a high enough level that they should have too much attacking quality for their neighbours here.”

Steve Jennings, Squawka 

“Despite their midweek confidence boost coupled with Rashford’s fine form, United are going to find it difficult to leave the Etihad with anything this weekend. City were back to their best against Burnley and there’s a good chance they will carry that momentum into the derby, winning by at least two goals. Prediction: Man City 3-1 Man Utd.”

This weekend’s Premier League fixtures

Saturday 7 December (3pm unless stated)
  • Everton vs. Chelsea (12.30pm, live on BT Sport 1)  
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Liverpool  
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley  
  • Watford vs. Crystal Palace  
  • Manchester City vs. Manchester United (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 8 December
  • Aston Villa vs. Leicester City (2pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Newcastle United vs. Southampton (2pm)  
  • Norwich City vs. Sheffield United (2pm) 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 9 December
  • West Ham United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on Sky Sports)

Today’s back pages

Marco gets the ‘Silva bullet’ at Everton

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