The second big match of the weekend will be taking place early on Sunday, as the first Manchester derby is held at the Etihad Stadium. It will be the first time at Erik ten Hag experiences this match and it will be fascinating to see him go up against Pep Guardiola. The pair have a mutual respect, as they were working at Bayern Munich at the same time. Ten Hag was managing the B team, while Guardiola was taking charge of the senior side. At the weekend, they will be rivals and both will be desperate to get the bragging rights.
It has been a very good start for Manchester City this season. Despite this, they aren’t at the top of the table, trailing Arsenal by a single point. Depending on the result in the North London derby, City could have a chance to move back to the summit with three points on Sunday. Many believe it is an inevitability that City will retain their Premier League title. Liverpool have had a poor start, while none of the other teams have shown that they can maintain title winning form over a whole campaign. One of them could emerge as a genuine threat to City, but at the time of writing, the title looks to be theirs to lose.
Manchester United had a good run prior to the international break, with four successive victories in the Premier League. Ten Hag will be pleased with the results, but they will need to improve their performances if they are to emerge as contenders for the top four. This will be a big test of their credentials. The wins over Liverpool and Arsenal will give them belief, but City are in better form. Although they are on a winning run, they will be outsiders this weekend.
A win for Manchester City on Sunday would mean they have won three successive Manchester derbies for the first time since 2014.
The Manchester derby has seen the away side win 21 times in the Premier League. No fixture has resulted in more away wins.
The Belgian international delivers in big matches and he will be determined to have another good showing this weekend against Manchester United. Before the international break, he grabbed two assists against Wolves and he will be full of confidence heading back into Premier League action. There are still doubts about Manchester United’s midfield. In De Bruyne, City have one of the most creative players in the world and he should have a platform to cause a lot of problems for Ten Hag’s side. Interestingly, De Bruyne doesn’t have the best record in this fixture, with just three goals and one assist in 11 Premier League matches. He will be desperate to put that right on Sunday. Guardiola can normally rely on him to stand up in matches against other top six teams. This will be Erling Haaland’s first Manchester derby. City now have a striker that will score the chances that De Bruyne creates. The pair could once again be the standout performers.
There is still some bad feeling towards Jadon Sancho from Manchester City fans, as he chose to leave the club earlier in his career. He has now returned to England and he is playing for their local rivals. Although it was a tough first season for him in the Premier League, he has started in much better form under Ten Hag. Perhaps he now has the right coach to get the best from him. Sancho is a player with a lot of talent, but he needs to be utilised in the correct way. His direct running and ability to create chances is now there for all to see. The attacker is currently out of the England squad, but he will still believe that he can make the tournament in Qatar. To do this, he needs to maintain his good form for United and increase his goal contributions further.
After being taken off for England, John Stones won’t be available for this match. Aymeric Laporte is close to a return, but he won’t be thrown in this weekend.
Harry Maguire is injured for the visitors, but he was unlikely to start in any case. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are both facing late fitness tests to be passed fit.
Manchester United have been slowly improving under Ten Hag, but they are short of the quality to beat Manchester City. They will need luck to get a result this weekend, especially away from home. Guardiola’s men should have enough quality to get the three points.
Manchester City 2-0 Manchester United