Fresh off the heels of their 3-0 win over Wayne Rooney’s Derby County during Thursday’s Fifth round FA Cup matchup, Manchester United return to action on Sunday in the Manchester Derby.
Sunday will mark the 182nd matchup between the two teams and the fourth time this season the crosstown rivals have met. United hold a 2-1 advantage over City so far this year, with both wins coming as away matches at the Etihad, while City won at Old Trafford in January.
While Manchester United have lost their last three home games against Manchester City in all competitions, they have only lost four against them consecutively once previously, between January 1926 and February 1931.
Manchester United are looking to complete a league double over Man City for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired, last achieving it in 2009-10. The last Red Devils manager other than Ferguson to achieve a double over City was Dave Sexton in the 1978-79 season.
Looking at the league table, City are in second place with 51 points while United are in a three-way tie at 5th place on 34 points with Tottenham and Wolverhampton. Normally this isn’t an issue but with the possibility of City being kicked out of Champions League action for the next two seasons, fifth place is now a Champions League qualifying spot for next year.
Speaking about the potential Champions League spot at his Friday press conference, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replied; “We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves,” Solskjaer explained. “Keep improving and keep getting results.
“But I know it’s going to be tight. Wolverhampton, they’re definitely putting up a challenge as well. There’s loads of teams that want to get this top four. We’re one of them.
“We’ve just got to be able to handle and manage a squad well enough, rotate well enough. These next few games are important. If you can get six points against City and Tottenham now we’ve given ourselves a good chance.”
On the injury front, United might be in a little trouble if the trio of Harry Maguire (ankle), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back), and Daniel James (undisclosed) are fit enough on Sunday. The group were held out of Thursdays FA Cup win with various injuries.
When asked about the health of his injured trio Solskjaer replied; “It’s touch and go [with Maguire] because he rolled his ankle and he twisted his ankle, but hopefully he’ll recover quickly. I wasn’t going to rest him today, so I didn’t give him a day off birthday-wise! (Thursday was his birthday) But I hope he’ll be fit.”
“I hope so but none of them have been training yet since the last game,” Solskjaer said of Wan-Bissaka and James. “We’ve got to look at them Saturday probably, [Friday]’s the recovery day. (Source: MEN)
Possible United XI vs City: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, McTominay, Fred, Fernandes, James, Martial