On September 22, Manchester United cross into the blue half of Manchester to take on Manchester City in the first edition of the Manchester derby this season. This match-up will feature the champions of the last two seasons with City winning it in 2012 and United in 2013. Both teams are under new management with Manuel Pellegrini taking over for City after Roberto Mancini got the sack last season and David Moyes is the new manager in the red half taking over for the retired Sir Alex Ferguson.
Injuries: Phil Jones (Late Fitness Test), Danny Welbeck (Late Fitness Test), Rafael (Late Fitness Test), David Silva (Questionable), Gael Clichy (Late Fitness Test), Micah Richards (Questionable), Martin Demichelis (Out).
Both teams have injuries to deal with going into the game; Manchester City will definitely be missing new signing Martin Demichelis after picking up a knee injury soon after signing for City. City will also have to be concerned over David Silva, Gael Clichy, and Micah Richards who are all set to be late decisions whether they will play or not. Manchester United look like they may miss Phil Jones with an ankle injury picked up against Liverpool. Rafael and Danny Welbeck are also injury concerns for the game and have no listed return date. (All injury news from Physioroom.com)
Both teams have brought in new managers and, while both have had very different summers, both have come under some early pressure from the fans. After having a bad summer only being able to bring in Fellaini, David Moyes has come under scrutiny for not having a great start by the Manchester United standards.
Pellegrini has come over from La Liga and spent a lot of money this summer but has already dropped points in both league away games this season. Neither manager can afford to lose this game with the pressure already mounting for both of them. Both teams won comfortably midweek in the Champions League with United winning 4-2 at home to Bayer Levakusen and City winning 3-0 away to Viktoria Plze.
Last season, each game was won by the away team. Seven out of the last eight games between the two teams, in all competitions, have been decided by one goal. The one game that not decided by one goal was the famous 6-1 City victory in October of 2011. City have only lost two league home games in the last two seasons. There has only been one draw in this fixture since 2006 and only one draw at City since 1993.
Two players that could be key to the game are Wayne Rooney and Vincent Kompany. Both are big time players but have not had perfect starts to the season.
Wayne Rooney requested to leave at the beginning of the summer but David Moyes refused to sell him. With all that happened with Rooney this summer, he started the first game of the season sitting on the bench not coming on until the 62nd minute. Rooney got his first start of the season in United’s huge game against Chelsea and, while the game was a pretty boring 0-0 draw, Rooney looked United’s best player on the day.
Rooney then missed the Liverpool game, which United lost 1-0, after suffering a major gash on his forehead. Rooney recovered from his injury over the international break and has scored three goals in United’s last two games, against Crystal Palace and Bayer Leverkusen. So far this season, Rooney has looked like he has bounced back from his sub par season last year and has been a goal scoring and a creative force for United. He is creating a chance every 30 minutes, in the Premier League, a clear cut chance every 104 minutes, and has two assists and a goal, in the League. Rooney was also able to grab two goals and an assist in United’s midweek clash in the Champions League. Wayne Rooney has always been a player that can change a game and seems to be in the form that could allow him to totally steal the show.
Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, has missed the last three league games for City after he had to go off in the 70th minute of the opener after picking up an injury. Kompany made his return for City in their Champions League game midweek vs Viktoria Plzen. The Belgian international has the ability to shut an opposing player down and is a huge upgrade in terms of both ability and leadership for Manchester City. Kompany is an elite defender who last season was able to have a 80% tackling percentage, won 61% of his ground duels, and didn’t make a single defensive error all last season. He is a good captain who leads by example and will be a huge player in this game.
Neither team and neither manager will want to lose this game which may lead the game to be similar to the United Chelsea game earlier this season and be a boring draw. This game could also be like the last few Manchester Derbies and with City being at home they will want to come out and attack allowing United to counter attack them. With City as good as they are at home it is difficult to see a home loss for them.
Prediction: 3-2 to Manchester City