City v United: An essential guide to the derby
Manchester United will make their shortest journey of the season to face Manchester City on Saturday, as the Premier League's top two go head to head. Here's everything you need to know...
Setting the scene: The Reds make the short trip across town to the Etihad Stadium for the second Manchester derby of the season this weekend. United will be looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat against City at Old Trafford back in December and further consolidate second place in the Premier League but it will be a tough task against the leaders, who will be looking to put their emphatic UEFA Champions League defeat at Liverpool in midweek behind them.
How can I follow it? Saturday’s big match kicks off at 17:30 BST and will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. MUTV subscribers on Sky or Virgin Media, the MUTV app, or online at MUTV.com can enjoy match build-up from 15:30 BST on the Match Day show and listen to radio commentary of the game, before watching it in full on Sunday at 18:00 BST. You can also keep up with all the action as it happens via ManUtd.com's live match blog and our official Twitter account @ManUtd.
What’s the team news? The boss declared before last weekend’s victory over Swansea City that Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera have regained full fitness, which was a welcome boost for the Reds on the injury front. He also said that Daley Blind has returned to training and it remains to be seen if the Dutchman will be available for selection this weekend, but Sergio Romero is expected to be out
“for a few weeks” after sustaining an injury on international duty with Argentina. Mourinho could give a further update on his squad in Friday’s pre-match press conference. Meanwhile, City could be without top scorer Sergio Aguero, who missed Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg defeat at Liverpool through injury. John Stones and Fabian Delph were unused substitutes at Anfield and could be involved on Saturday after recent injuries, but Benjamin Mendy is expected to remain sidelined.
How have we been doing? The Reds enter our first match of the penultimate month of the campaign in fine fettle overall, winning the last four games in the Premier League including notable victories over Liverpool and Chelsea at Old Trafford. United have also bounced back from the disappointing UEFA Champions League exit with successive 2-0 wins at home either side of the international break, against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup and Swansea City in the league last weekend.
Goals: United 2 Swansea City 0Video
What about City? Pep Guardiola’s side have enjoyed a formidable season so far, in which they have won the Carabao Cup, reached the Champions League quarter-finals and are close to securing the Premier League title. The Citizens have won their last five Premier League games, scoring 14 goals and conceding just twice, since a 1-1 draw at Burnley on 3 February and enter the match on the back of Wednesday’s dismal 3-0 Champions League quarter-final first leg loss against Liverpool at Anfield. It's only the third time they have failed to score in a match this season and leaves them with a mountain to climb ahead of the second leg at home next Tuesday.
What’s our record like against them? Historically, the Reds have a strong record against our near neighbours heading into the 176th Manchester derby – winning 72 and drawing 52 of the previous 175 encounters. United also hold the edge in the 40 Premier League encounters between the sides, winning 20 to City’s 13 while there have been eight draws – including the goalless stalemate in last season’s corresponding fixture 12 months ago. The Reds will be desperate to claim the bragging rights after losing 2-1 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in December. David Silva opened the scoring for the visitors before Marcus Rashford levelled matters on the stroke of half-time, but Nicolas Otamendi’s 54th-minute effort proved the difference.
One to watch: In a team packed with multi-talented superstars, Kevin de Bruyne has been the shining light for City this season and is deservedly in the running for the PFA Player of the Year award. The Belgian playmaker, who has been instrumental in many of City’s wins this season, has scored 11 goals and registered 20 assists in all competitions this term. Capable of opening up any defence, de Bruyne is the chief orchestrator for Guardiola’s side and the Reds will have to be alert to nullify his considerable threat.
What they said: Juan Mata is keen to give the Reds faithful a performance they deserve in Saturday’s derby. Writing in his blog, the Spaniard said:
“This game doesn’t come in an ideal situation, for there’s quite a gap of points between the two of us, but we all know that it’s a special game. We’re looking forward to playing against them and having a good performance. That’s what our fans deserve.”
Did you know? Our last derby match-winner in the league was Marcus Rashford, whose dream introduction to first-team life in the spring of 2016 was capped with the only goal of the game in his first taste of the derby at senior level, while that strike at the Etihad also made him United’s youngest derby goalscorer in the Premier League era.
Will defences be on top? Perhaps unsurprisingly given the fact the top two teams in the division are up against each other, Saturday’s game will bring together the best defences in the Premier League this season, with United conceding 23 goals and City just 21 in 31 games so far. The Reds have kept clean sheets on our last two visits to the Etihad Stadium and David De Gea is leading the way in the race for the Golden Glove with 16 shut-outs in the league, two more than City’s Brazilian stopper Ederson who is in second place.
Remembering Ray: The Premier League has confirmed there will be a moment's applause before kick-off on Saturday - and at grounds up and down the country - in memory of former United midfielder Ray Wilkins, who sadly passed away on Wednesday at the age of 61.
Who’s the referee? Martin Atkinson will take charge of his fifth Manchester derby on Saturday and the Reds are unbeaten in the previous four, including the 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium last season in which he sent off Marouane Fellaini. The West Yorkshire whistler will also oversee his fifth United game of the campaign and his first since the 2-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford on 25 February. He will be assisted by Lee Betts and Stephen Child, with Craig Pawson on fourth official duties.
The Premier League has confirmed Martin Atkinson is the referee for Saturday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Rivals Watch: A big day of Premier League action on Saturday gets under way with a lunchtime showdown between Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park. Here’s the full fixture list…
Saturday 7 April (15:00 BST unless stated)
Everton v Liverpool (12:30 BST)
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton & Hove Albion v Huddersfield Town
Leicester City v Newcastle United
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur
Watford v Burnley
West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City
Manchester City v Manchester United (17:30 BST)
Sunday 8 April
Arsenal v Southampton (14:15 BST)
Chelsea v West Ham United (16:30 BST)