Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s fixture:
(1) After picking up resounding wins in both the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, Manchester United return lock horns with neighbourhood rivals Manchester City in yet another instalment of the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford. Manager Erik Ten Hag made significant improvements in this United side since these two sides faced each other and The Reds will hope to redeem themselves this time.
(2) Earlier this season, at the Etihad, this fixture ended in a horrific way for United as hattricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden ensured a swift win for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team. While Ten Hag’s men fought back and scored 3, courtesy of a long-range strike from newcomer Antony and a brace from Anthony Martial, it wasn’t substantial enough to cause any problems for City on that fateful day.
(3) Manchester United have now mustered a winning run of 7 consecutive matches and will look to continue the same with a narrow win over their near rivals, closing the gap between them and cementing their position for a comfortable final-four finish.
(4) Speaking of the Manchester derby in his pre-match presser, manager Erik Ten Hag pointed out the importance of this fixture, not only because of its stature as a derby but as a crucial game of the season:
“We have to prove that tomorrow on the pitch and the truth is on the pitch, so [it is] quite clear, last time we didn’t do well so, tomorrow, we have to do better,” the manager told reporters in the first part of his pre-match press conference.
“We have had to work and it’s not only coming overnight. It was a process in the last months where we develop, where we have progressed, and we now have to face it against better teams.
“We are looking forward to it and that is one of the things is about [our] mental approach, mental attitude, so we have to be brave and we have to act with belief and play our game.”
(5) Ten Hag reflected on Casemiro’s recent spectacular performances:
“I have said it from the beginning, this team needs a [number] six [a defensive midfielder]. But what is a six? What is the definition. So control, holding midfielder, but he is so important. He is the cement between the stones, I often say, but it means defending, organisation, he knows his position, so anticipating, pointing. He is in the right position, winning balls for the team, duels winning.
“But also in possession, he can accelerate, speed up the game. He is typical, he has that competence to give to a top team on the top level. There are not many players of this quality in the world. He is one of them, so we are really happy to have him on board, because he makes a huge difference.”
(6) Manchester City will approach this derby on the back of a shock defeat to Southampton which saw them bow out of the EFL Cup mid-week. However, Pep Guardiola is experienced enough to make his team shake off the blues from that defeat and steer their heads to complete a league double over their bitter rivals.
(7) Pep roulette has been going on in full swing since the restart after the World Cup and numerous tactical changes are expected to influence this Manchester City for the derby. Guardiola, like always, will stress on dominating possession, work out his full-backs efficiently and creating chances up front for the big Norwegian Erling Haaland to settle them in the back of the net.
(8) The Catalan manager ruled out defender John Stones for this match:
John Stones will play no part for #ManCity at Old Trafford vs Manchester United this weekend, it has been confirmed.— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) January 13, 2023
Pep Guardiola's full fitness update ahead of the Manchester derby:
(9) Guardiola reflected on the Southampton performance in which his high-profile attacking side could not register a single shot on goal:
“It happened because we have won four Premier League titles in five years.
“The Carabao Cup - they have to show me consistency and this was our strength in previous seasons - but after back-to-back games (against Chelsea), we were not able to go there and be ourselves.
“Not (necessarily) win games – just be ourselves.
“I was concerned (the Southampton performance) could happen, it has happened and hopefully it won’t happen again.”
(10) The City manager commented on United’s recent run of form and said:
“Always they were close. What happened in previous seasons is a Man United problem – I don’t know what happened, but I know they are there, four points behind (us).
“The position they are in is because it is the position United has to be.
“Is it a surprise to me? No. That they are where they are, as I say, it is no surprise to me.”
(11) FPL TIP: A high scoring match is expected so, tripling up on City might be a good idea to rack up the points. United selections would go with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and in-form Luke Shaw. However, we don’t recommend tripling up on both teams. Double-game week is also in place for Spurs so bringing in Harry Kane is a pro tip.