José Mourinho has resisted the temptation to pack the midfield or play five at the back, and has named an unusually attacking side (for him, anyway) for an away game at a major rival. The back line is a something of a patchwork, and the midfield looks pedestrian, but the attack is arguably the most exciting available to him.
David de Gea is in goal, and in front of him are Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Eric Bailly, and Matteo Darmian. This will be a stern test for Blind in particular, who has barely played at center back this season, and the rust has shown. Luke Shaw is available off the bench, but the solidity of Darmian is preferred from the start.
With no Paul Pogba, United’s midfield looks worryingly immobile. Ander Herrera is fit enough to start, but let’s hope that Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick ate their Wheaties this morning.
In attack, the front three that many United fans have been dreaming of finally comes to fruition. Marcus Rashford leads the line, flanked by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial - with all three in reasonably good form at the same time, for the first time this season.
There’s not much available off the bench in terms of game changers, but Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are options in case United need to shore things up, and for all his diminished powers, Wayne Rooney still has an excellent goal-scoring record in this fixture.
Manchester City’s actual formation is usually hard to pin down, but it looks 4-2-3-1-ish today - unusually straightforward by Pep Guardiola’s standards.
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