After two months of international break, club football returns to our lives in a huge way, as the two Manchester giants clash in a much-anticipated derby and the biggest football game of this weekend, worldwide.
There are so many things that make this a special game: so many stars on the pitch, two teams already going after the Premier League title hoping to end each other's perfect record, and the renewal of the best managerial rivalry of all time.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are fierce competitors and always treat us to simply fantastic tactical duels. They'll do it again at Old Trafford this Saturday, and the 22 pieces of this fascinating puzzle will try to use their talents to bring a win to either the Red or Sky Blue side of Manchester.
How are the teams coming into the Derby? What will be the starting eleven on Saturday? Let's take a look.
Team News: Jose Mourinho has only one big concern regarding his team selection: Henrikh Mkhitaryan sufferd an injury during international duty and is doubtful to play on Saturday. Despite beginning the season as a bench option, the former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has had big impact in the minutes he's played, and his absence will certainly be felt.
Other than that, however, there are no suspensions or injuries to worry about, and Mourinho will be able to field a ridiculously strong starting eleven:
David De Gea
Antonio Valencia - Eric Bailly - Daley Blind - Luke Shaw
Marouane Fellaini - Paul Pogba
Juan Mata - Wayne Rooney - Anthony Martial
That team has pace, defense, strength, passing, creativity, experience, and goals. Pretty much all you need. What a scary side.
Team News: Pep Guardiola has a major selection headache, all because of one player: Sergio Agüero picked up a three-match ban on charge of violent conduct for an elbow against West Ham's Winston Reid two weeks ago, and the striker will not play on Saturday. Agüero's absence opens up a lot of possibilities for Guardiola, and coming up with a unique gameplan to face Jose Mourinho is something the Catalan coach is very good at.
The easiest choice would be Kelechi Iheanacho, but Pep might want to spice things up. His two new signings from Germany (Gundogan and Sané) are ready for selection, and Guardiola might throw both of them into the pitch, move Nolito or De Bruyne to the striker position as a False Nine, and beef up the midfield to have more possession of the ball at Old Trafford.
There are a lot of possible options for Guardiola's starting lineup based on the players available and what he has done so far.
Option 1: Bravo/Caballero | Sagna/Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy/Kolarov | Fernandinho | Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Nolito | Iheanacho
Option 2: Bravo/Caballero | Sagna/Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy/Kolarov | Fernandinho | Sané, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling | Nolito
Option 3: Bravo/Caballero | Sagna/Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy/Kolarov | Fernandinho | Sterling, Gundogan, Silva, Nolito | De Bruyne
We could even see Kolarov at center-back, but that's not an ideal option against United's aerial threat. Otamendi should be the starter alongside John Stones to face Zlatan, Pogba and Fellaini in the air, with Kolarov fighting for a left-back starting spot with Gael Clichy.
Claudio Bravo is available, but with only two training session it's tough to know whether Pep trusts the Chilean enough to start in the Derby. There's also Sané and Gundogan, and it's impossible to know how many minutes they'll play, if both will start, if only one will start, if both will be on the bench... So many possibilities!!!
Here's my prediction for the starting lineup, considering all the options above:
Bacary Sagna - John Stones - Nicolas Otamendi - Aleksandar Kolarov
Raheem Sterling - Kevin De Bruyne - David Silva - Leroy Sané
Very fast, talented side designed to keep the ball and hurt United on the wings. That would be my bet for Guardiola's starting lineup, with Gundogan coming in at some point in the second half. But Pep is Pep, his mind is insane, and we'll only know his idea for the game once the lineup is announced.