Continuing our theme of looking at our main rivals for the Premier League title, this time we focus on neighbours and fierce rivals, Manchester United.
How times change. When City joined the ranks of the Premier League’s top teams back in 2008, tey still hadn’t won a trophy since 1976 while United were winning everything going. 13 years later, and City have taken edged the balance of power in Manchester. Since 2017, City have claimed 10 pieces of silverware while United haven’t won a trophy, domestic or otherwise over the same period.
But derby wise, City haven’t beaten United in the league since a 2-0 win at Old Trafford in 2019 and haven’t won a home derby in any competition since a 3-1 victory in 2018, so we’re due a home victory at the very least.
United have rewarded manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s trophyless run with a new contract and cash to spend in the transfer market, so that should be enough to appease the supporters and keep them off the Old Trafford pitch!
United have had a couple of well publicised transfers, with former City academy player Jadon Sancho signing for the reds for £73m and Italy defender Raphael Varane is on the verge of joining for a fee of between £34m and £42m with add-ons.
United have also been linked with many other players, including Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Keiran Trippier, although it seems none of those will come to fruition. They ave also been heavily linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, but it remains to be seen if the reds bring anyone else in before the transfer window shuts.
Paul Pogba has been linked with leaving the club again, with Juventus and PSG possible destinations, and questions have been asked as to whether anyone would notice, considering most of his time on the pitch is spent wearing an invisibility cloak.
Phil Jones is still rumoured to be wanted by West Ham on a free transfer and Jesse Lingard has again been viewed as potentially exiting Old Trafford.
Sancho will add to an attack that already consists of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood, meaning the reds have no shortage of attacking options. In midfield, Bruno Fernandes is expected to lead the midfield from the penalty spot while Pogba, if he stays and Scott McTominay will shore up the middle.
In defence, a solid performance at the Euros by Harry Maguire and the signing of Varane may be a decent centre back partnership, while Luke Shaw will also be strong if he stays fit…and learns how to make a forward pass.
When Do City Face United?
City make the trip to Stretford on 6th November and welcome their neighbours to Manchester on 5th March.
Prediction on United
United have strengthened well, but will it be enough for them to mount a serious challenge? They finished second last season, way behind City and only because Liverpool couldn’t win for a while, otherwise it would have been a lower finish.
The reds are a strong team but can often be undone by stupid mistakes or the manager making the wrong decision and that could be their undoing. It also depends on how well Sancho and Varane settle. They will be a threat and are likely to finish in the top four, but the title may well be out of reach this time around.