24th April, 2019
The local derby game between Manchester United and neighbours Manchester City could not have come at a worse time for the hosts who are currently enduring a very trying period this season.
On the other hand, it is an opportunity for Manchester City to take a major step towards securing Premier League title glory. As a matter of fact, they are condemned to defeat Manchester United in Wednesday’s pivotal derby.
All of that combined, makes the match between the neighbours a must win one for both teams and guarantees an explosive encounter in which only the fans are guaranteed satisfaction.
Manchester United, still smarting from a very humiliating 4-0 hammering away at Goodison Park on Sunday, have somehow inexplicably started to stall following Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s announcement as the substantial team coach last month.
The Red Devils have not only lost four of their last five matches across all competitions but also crashed out of the Champions League at the Nou Camp last week and consequently needing to make up some serious ground if they intend to secure another top four finish.
As the situation stands right now, they are located down in sixth position on the table and three points adrift of Chelsea, with a huge part of their issues at the back end of the season coming as a result of their defensive deficiency.
Having conceded seven goals in their last two appearances, United’s 48 goals conceded this season is their worst defensive record in four decades.
Along with drastically struggling with their form at the back end of the Premier League campaign, Solskaer’s side also hold a very worrying record against their cross-town rivals.
Having suffered a 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture, Wednesday’s hosts have lost five of their last seven Premier League fixtures against Manchester City at Old Trafford. That is a record one cannot even dream of in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson as coach of the team.
As far as this match is concerned, Manchester United will make changes in defence after Phil Jones was forced off through injury in the loss at Everton. Ander Herrera is expected to be available after four weeks out with a thigh injury, while Luke Shaw returns from suspension.
As far as the visitors are concerned, while Manchester City may have seen their Champions League dreams come to an end last week, Pep Guardiola’s side still have their sights firmly set on reclaiming their Premier League crown.
As they chase a two-point deficit to Liverpool (with a match in hand) and with the chance to reclaim their spot at the top of the table, the former Barcelona boss has seen his side continue to shine in England’s top-flight.
After securing a 1-0 win over Spurs on Saturday, City have now won their last 10 Premier League games – their longest streak since a run of 18 between August and December 2017.
Not surprising is the fact that it has been the Sky Blues’ form in the final third that has really spearheaded their title charge. Already bagging 79 league goals this season, Wednesday’s visitors hold the best attacking stats of any side in Europe’s top-tiers.
One man to watch for Guardiola’s side will be leading goalscorer, Sergio Aguero who presently sits joint top of the overall goals-coring charts with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 30-year-old marksman has scored five in his last seven across all competitions.
However, it is not all good news for Manchester City as their midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will miss the derby after sustaining a muscular problem last weekend.
Claudio Bravo is the only other absentee through injury.