Manchester City travel out of Manchester to face United at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, and the blues will be eager to win the match for three reasons: to get back on form after defeat to Palace, to keep the pace with the league leaders and to finally put one over the reds on their own patch.
United are unbeaten in four Premier League matches against the blues, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under intense pressure after losing their last home match 5-0 to Liverpool. And with the story of Cristiano Ronaldo apparently snubbing a move to City in the summer (despite the blues not even bidding for him), the match is guaranteed to have an extra pinch of spice.
United go into the match on the back of a strange run. They beat Spurs 3-0 at the imaginatively named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but drew at Atalanta in midweek and haven’t won at home in the league since beating Newcastle 4-1 in September.
Since then, they have lost to Aston Villa (1-0) and drawn 1-1 with Everton before that thumping by the Mersey reds. In between, they also lost 4-2 at Leicester, beaten at home in League Cup by West Ham and lost to Young Boys in the Champions League, as United’s season continues to be jittery.
Ronaldo is the obvious danger man and without him and his 9 goals, United would probably have a new manager. Since re-joining the reds, Ronaldo has attempted 33 shots from 11 matches, the highest from the United team, and has a goal conversion rate of 27%. Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood both have 4 each.
Fernandes and Paul Pogba have provided the most assists with 7 each, with the former attempted 735 passes, the most from any United player. 568 have been completed, and from 15 games, his pass accuracy rate is 77%. Fernandes has created 46 chances, the highest in the team, while the boy wonder has attempted 311 passes from 11 games, completing 262.
Who’s the Boss?
Solskjaer’s in, Solskjaer’s out, in out, in out, shake him all about. Ole’s at the wheel for Saturday’s derby and has a good league record against Pep Guardiola. Recent pressures though are beginning to show in his United team and rumours are that his time is running out at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer, who was the last United player to score at Maine Road, has presided over 166 United matches, winning 91 and losing 38, giving him a win ratio of 55%.
Last Time Out
Not really worth mentioning at it was probably the most cautious and boring derby to date as the two teams played out a 0-0 draw. We’re not doing a last time out article on that one as I fell asleep writing it.