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Manchester Derby: Predicted Lineups

Who starts at Old Trafford?

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


Pep Guardiola rested a lot of his main players in the midweek game in the Champions League, so there is absolutely no doubt he is going with his strongest possible team to play the exact same way he has done all season. There might be a few tactical tweaks here and there as it’s customary for Pep in big games, but personnel and style should not be in doubt on Sunday.

In goal, Ederson; at the back will be Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph, even though Kompany and Delph are slight injury doubts, but should be fit to start; in midfield we’ll see the amazing trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and David Silva providing control of possession and creativity; up front we’ll have the usual wingers in Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané, and given the magnitude of this game and the fact Gabriel Jesus played all 90 minutes against Shakhtar Donetsk, we’ll probably see Sergio Agüero leading the line.

City’s approach doesn’t change regardless of opponent or stadium, so we’ll see the Blues dominating possession and looking to create chances with quick passing and smart off-the-ball movement. The fact that Silva and De Bruyne had the entire week off could be a major factor in this one, and the duo might be the reason Manchester City get a point (or three) at Old Trafford.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D.Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané

Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!):

Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D.Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané


Like Pep Guardiola, we all know that José Mourinho has a clear plan for big games and doesn’t change it regardless of opposition or stadium. But UNLIKE Guardiola, José likes to defend as much as possible and make the game ugly and tough to watch until his team is able to get a goal on the counter.

Mourinho has made a career out of stopping strong attacking sides in big games, and he loves to stop Pep Guardiola sides more than any other manager in the world. We can be certain that he’s been working on a specific plan for this game for quite a long time, and that makes it very hard to try and predict the players or the formation he’s planning to use on Sunday.

Given Manchester United have played a 5-3-2 formation a lot in recent weeks, picking up very good results against strong teams (like Watford and Arsenal), and given that formation worked well for teams like Southampton and West Ham United who nearly took points from City at the Etihad, Mourinho could stick to that plan and replace the suspended Paul Pogba with Ander Herrera to maintain the solidity in midfield.

Up front, in-form Anthony Martial and a Romelu Lukaku who loves to score against City should provide plenty of threat, and Jesse Lingard is playing the best football of his life at the moment and will cause plenty of trouble to a City defense that can be exposed at times.

United will be dangerous on the counter, and the Blues will have to be really good in possession to avoid silly mistakes and not give the opponent a chance to break. If they do, look out.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Young; Lingard, Matic, Herrera; Lukaku, Martial


Man City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané

Man United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Young; Herrera, Matic; Rashford, Lingard, Martial; Lukaku