The first Manchester derby of the 2013-14 season was played on September 22nd 2013 and ended in humiliation for United Manager David Moyes, as his team were comprehensively outclassed and beaten 4-1 by a rampant City side. The hosts outperformed United in almost every part of the pitch, Sergio Agüero opening the scoring just past the quarter hour mark and Yaya Toure adding a second just before the break. Any hopes the visitors had of resurrecting a point were shattered as City quickly added two more goals within 5 minutes of the restart; Agüero doubling his tally on 47 minutes and Samir Nasri capping an outstanding performance by volleying a Jesús Navas cross.
Wayne Rooney, who scored a consolation goal just before the end and put in the kind of energetic performance that was sadly lacking from his team-mates, was the only United player to take the game to the noisy neighbours, but it wasn’t enough. United were consistently below the standard set by City and this game had the uncomfortable hallmarks of the 6-1 thrashing meted out by the hosts two seasons previously.
United Manager Louis Van Gaal will be keen to reassert pride in the derby and to get the City-United axis back on a more familiar footing to Red Devils fans, while Manuel Pellegrini will be seeking a win following his side’s dropped points to this season’s dark horses West Ham.
To see how fans of both Clubs may be thinking about this game, we looked at the Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football data from this fixture last season, to see what players were picked for the lineups last year.
Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football is a game similar to “Football Manager”, but applied to live football, where you manage your favourite Club and pick lineups, bench, formations and substitutions, all in real-time. When fans play the game, the Beat Your Manager team can measure the popularity of different players, by looking at how frequently they are selected for the starting lineup, substitutes bench or not selected at all.
The app ran for the 2013/4 EPL season and is currently inactive while the developers are creating the revised version – we’ll keep you posted on when it’s going to re-launch.
Formation: 4-4-2 by far the most popular choice
Just under half (45 per cent) of City fans went for a 4-4-2 formation for this game last season, with a more attacking 4-3-3 much further behind in second place, selected by 17 per cent. A whopping 57 per cent of Man United fans went for a 4-4-2 formation, with a similar 17 per cent opting for the more aggressive 4-3-3.
Goalkeepers: Most popular guys on the pitch
Fans of both Clubs selected their regular number 1s for this fixture and confidence in their respective keepers was never higher. Both goalkeepers were the most popular players on the pitch; Joe Hart’s perfect 100 per cent score with City fans just pipping David De Gea’s outstanding 99 per cent rating with United fans.
No quibbles from the Managers, who started both players, both of whom are also expected to line out on Sunday.
Defenders: United have three clear fan choices in defence; but where are they now?
Pablo Zabaleta was City’s most popular defender (and 3rd-most popular player) on a staggering 95 per cent rating from Blues fans. Matija Nastasić earned a very respectable 2nd-place in the lineup with the approval of 80 per cent of fans, with Joleon Lescott (75 per cent) close behind and Aleksandar Kolarov (57 per cent) just squeezing into the back four.
United had three clear fan favourites in defence, with Patrice Evra (96 per cent), Rio Ferdinand (95 per cent) and Nemanja Vidić (94 per cent) all very closely-rated and taking up three of United’s top-five most popular player spots. After Vidić and with Rafael out, United’s next most popular defender was Jonny Evans, his below-average 43 per cent rating enough to qualify him for the lineup.
Instead of Kolarov, Pellegrini fielded Vincent Kompany (who just missed out the fan pick for the lineup on 52 per cent), but kept faith with the other three fan-choices. Moyes similarly made one change to the fans’ lineup, starting Chris Smalling (18 per cent fan rating) instead of Evans.
With only Evans still at the club (and out injured for this fixture), the prospect of another prolonged assault on the United goal looming this weekend means that Van Gaal’s back four is going to look distinctly different this year, with the Dutchman likely to call on the skills of Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw to shore up the defence.
Pellegrini has kept faith with much of last year’s lineup, with only Lescott now playing elsewhere (West Bromwich Albion) and has brought in new blood in the form of Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) and Eliaquim Mangala (Porto).
Midfield: All change for United; steady as she goes for City
The red half of Manchester lost this match last season being totally overrun in midfield, with Touré in particular looking in a different class to United’s new boy Marouane Fellaini. City’s midfielders dominated the popularity stakes with fans, taking the top spot and all four midfielders in the top 6.
With David Silva out, Touré (98 per cent) was City’s most popular midfielder and 3rd most popular player, with Samir Nasri (84 per cent), Fernandinho (77 per cent) and Navas (63 per cent) equally spread out behind. Both Touré and Nasri rewarded fans and Manager with goals, while Navas tormented United throughout the game.
United’s most popular midfielder was £27.5m new boy Fellaini (on 85 per cent) and he was followed by Michael Carrick (78 per cent) and Shinji Kagawa (61 per cent).
With Darren Fletcher out, the fourth spot in midfield was grabbed by Nani, who endured a troubled season last year but still made a (rare) entrance into the fans’ lineup for this match, his unimpressive 32 per cent rating with fans still putting him into the lineup.
Pellegrini kept faith with all four fan choices in midfield, but Moyes made two changes; starting Ashley Young (32 per cent fan rating, but with a lower bench rating than Nani) and Antonio Valencia (30 per cent fan rating) instead of Nani and Kagawa, with Tom Cleverley (25 per cent fan rating) replacing the Japanese early in the second half.
United’s midfield on Sunday is likely to see as many changes as the defence; Nani, Kagawa and Cleverley have all been offloaded (to Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund and Aston Villa respectively), while Valencia is injured and Young is in doubt. Fans should expect to see Daley Blind, Ángel di María and Ander Herrera play a substantial role in bolstering the midfield, alongside a reinvigorated Fellaini.
By contrast, City’s midfield is likely to be largely similar to last year, with perhaps Silva now available for this fixture in place of the injured Nasri and the addition of new boy Fernando.
Forwards: All eyes will be on the forwards come Sunday
Wayne Rooney was the most popular striker on the pitch, with a 95 per cent rating from United fans. With Robin van Persie injured, the next-most popular striker for the club was Danny Welbeck, his unimpressive 32 per cent fan rating putting him far behind his rivals on the pitch.
City’s most-popular forward spots with Blues fans were taken by front-men Agüero (88 per cent) and Edin Dzeko (73 per cent). Agüero turned in a devastating performance for both fans and Manager, scoring two goals, which meant that Pellegrini stuck with his starting lineup choice of Álvaro Negredo (64 per cent fan rating) instead of fan-pick Dzeko.
Welbeck has moved to Arsenal and Negredo to Valencia, so both sides have lost personnel, although City are probably more comfortable with their forward line, especially with so many attacking midfielders. United will welcome the hero of the Chelsea game, van Persie, back for this fixture, but both Rooney and new-boy Radamel Falcao are both in doubt, limiting Van Gaal’s options upfront.
Fan-selected lineup, bench, not selected ratings Man City vs. Man United 2013/4 EPL Season: