This has been a disappointing campaign for the Sky Blues, and the only way to "save" it somewhat is by qualifying to the Champions League as soon as possible. A victory against United puts City in third place, one point above Liverpool with a game in hand. It truly is a vital game for City, one that Pep Guardiola will most definitely want to win.
José Mourinho is also going to want to win this one, though, and the two kind of don't like each other and will try to kill each other through their players. Let's see who is likely to suit up for battle and start the game:
The 120 minutes against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final were really bad for City, who lost a key player in David Silva and left Yaya Touré with very little energy for a game just four days later. Vincent Kompany is also a doubt because we don't know if he's able to play consecutive matches, and there's also concern about Fernandinho and Sergio Agüero.
At the end of the day, though, all of them (except Silva) are expected to start, and given David's injury, Raheem Sterling is ready to return to the starting lineup for Thursday's Derby. Leroy Sané will start, and hopefully this time he can actually do something. Also look out for Gabriel Jesus, who is ready to come back and will probably be on the bench.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Navas, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Touré; Sterling, De Bruyne, Sané; Agüero
Bitter and Blue Lineup (4-1-4-1): Caballero; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne, Touré, Sané; Agüero
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are out because of injury, and Mourinho really has a short squad to work with. The Europa League semi-final is next week, but if José is resting any players, he'll probably do it in the weekend, not at the Etihad. Expect all of the big guns left, but they might be a little tired from so many matches in recent weeks.
Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera are back from injury, and Michael Carrick may start in place of Pogba. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was rested against Burnley and should start up front with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, now the default striker with Zlatan's injury. Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw will be fighting for a start at left-back, and it all depends on what Mourinho wants to do: if he wants a defensive full-back, it's Darmian; if he wants an attacking, energetic, dynamic player, Young is the answer; if he wants to shock us all, then it's Shaw.
Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini; Lingard, Rashford, Mkhitaryan