Manchester City welcome neighbours and rivals United to Manchester, knowing a win will put the blues even further ahead of their opponents and take another giant stride towards the Premier League title.
City have won their last 21 matches in all competitions and are well laced to take their third title in four years, and face a United side that were determined not to let the blues run away with it.
United have won just two of their seven Premier League matches away from home in 2021, and have recorded goalless draws in their matches at Liverpool, Arsenal and Crystal Palace so far. In addition, United have played out three consecutive goalless draws since beating Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Despite this, United are second in the Premier League table, but 14 points behind City, however they do have one of the best away records in the league so far. The reds are unbeaten away from home this season, winning 8 and drawing 6 of their 14 matches.
Against the so called ‘big six’ though, United have failed to win any of their matches this season, losing 6-1 at home to Spurs and 1-0 at home to Arsenal. The rest have been goalless draws, and if Leicester are thrown into the mix, they managed to secure a 2-2 draw with the Foxes on Boxing Day.
United have relied heavily on Bruno Fernandes this season, with the midfielder scoring 22 from 40 matches. In the Premier League, Fernandes has scored 15, with 7 of those coming from the penalty spot. Fernandes has had a total of 86 shots at goal, giving him a shot accuracy of 63% and a goal conversion rate of 26%.
Marcus Rashford has scored 18 goals for 42 matches, but in Premier League matches, the England striker has scored 9. Rashford has attempted 70 shots, giving him an identical conversion rate to Fernandes, but a shot accuracy of 73%.
Assists have also fallen to Fernandes, who has 12 so far. He has attempted 2,094 passes, completing 1,609, giving him a pass accuracy of 77%. Rashford is second on the assist chart, providing for 9 goals and attempting 1,224 passes, of which 997 have been successful, resulting in a pass accuracy of 81%.
But the telling sign in this United side is not the attack but defence. It speaks volumes when the player who has attempted the most passes in the side is defender Harry Maguire. From 2,622 attempted passes, Maguire has completed 2,292, a pass accuracy of 87%, a higher percentage than any of the top five regulars for United.
Who’s The Boss?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still in the Old Trafford hotseat, but with fans becoming impatient with his style of play, it remains to be seen how much longer the Norwegian will be there. However you can almost guarantee that a win for United on Sunday will see him hailed as a messiah (he’s not, he’s just a naughty boy).
After dominating the derbies for so long, United now find themselves on the other side of derby football. Since that infamous 6-1 drubbing City inflicted in October 2011, there have been 23 meetings between the two sides, with United coming out on top on 9 occasions, losing 11 and drawing just 3. Their last Premier League game in Manchester was in December 2019, when United won 2-1.