Early team news for the Manchester derby

Thursday 04 March 2021 14:00

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given some early team news ahead of our Premier League clash with league leaders and rivals Manchester City.

We travel to the Etihad sitting second in the table and will look to close the gap with victory in the derby on Sunday.

The boss made four changes to his side for the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday and among them was Eric Bailly, who came in for Victor Lindelof in defence.

The Swede was an unused substitute against the Eagles as he manages a recurring back issue and while Ole was tight-lipped in his post-match press conference about who might partner skipper Harry Maguire against City, he was hopeful Victor would be among his options.

“Victor struggled with his back, you know when he plays on a Sunday night, that was a demanding game, he did really well and I didn’t want to play him if I didn’t have to and Eric is more than capable and he’s played really and he’s played really well tonight as well,” he said.

“So [I'll make a] decision on Sunday, I’m not giving [it] you now. Hopefully Victor’s back is OK, [now] that he’s had that rest that he needs.”

Why De Gea and Martial missed the Palace match


The surprise absences of David and Anthony from Selhurst Park have been explained.

Meanwhile, David De Gea was absent from the matchday squad due to personal reasons, but the boss said Dean Henderson is prepared should the Spaniard not be available at the weekend.

He added: "I can’t really say about David, it’s of course a private matter. Dean is ready if he’s called upon."

Anthony Martial was also missing from the trip to Selhurst Park, with Ole revealing prior to kick-off that he had sustained a knock to his knee in training on Monday.

It is hoped he will be available for selection for the game against the Citizens, but Ole admitted it wasn’t certain at this stage.

Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Phil Jones will all be missing for the Reds due to injury, while we await an update on Donny van de Beek, who was on bench at Chelsea on Sunday but didn't make the squad at Selhurst Park.

Pogba, however, could be in line for a return before the season pauses for World Cup qualifiers at the end of March, Solskjaer has said.

Will Pogba return before the internationals?


Solskjaer was asked that question in the second half of his press conference and his answer is very encouraging.


Guardiola once again rotated his side in midweek for the 4-1 victory over Wolves, with John Stones, Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Phil Foden among those given the night off.

As it stands, the home side's only injury doubt is Nathan Ake, who is still making his way back from a hamstring injury which has kept him out since Boxing Day.