The Manchester Derby – Preview

These two giants of English football are currently so far apart in terms of recent success that they head into this match with totally different ambitions and expectations for the rest of the season. We take a closer look at this weekend’s big PL clash between the rivals.

The home side are fighting on various fronts and would like nothing more than to retain their league title for the fourth season in a row. They have won five of the last six titles in England’s top flight, with Liverpool being the only team able to break their dominance in the 2019/20 season. They warmed up for this match with an impressive 6-2 win over Luton in the cup in midweek and they are now unbeaten in their last eighteen matches. The recent return of Kevin de Bruyne from a long-term injury will only strengthen them further as we head into the final third of the season and few would bet against them doing the business yet again. 

Despite their excellent recent run, they are not having things all their own way and they are in fact, not top of the league. That honour goes to Liverpool who are one point ahead of the Mancunians with Arsenal a further point behind. This is turning into a very interesting title fight with all three teams making a very good case so far this season. Aston Villa are in fourth but they, Tottenham and United are too far behind to mount a serious challenge now. Manchester City are unbeaten at their home stadium since November 2022 so they will go into this match, as well as the rest of the season, high on confidence. The visit of United will create a special atmosphere, but everyone associated with City will surely expect a relatively straightforward win, such has been the decline of the Red Devils over recent years. Manchester City have won five of the last six derby matches, another stat that will also fill them with confidence. 

Visitors with striker problems

Manchester United battled hard to get the better of Nottingham Forest in midweek, making it through to the quarter-finals of the cup where they will now face Liverpool. A late goal from Casemiro won the match for them and they will be grateful for the win, especially after such a poor result and performance against Fulham last weekend. Everyone associated with the club will be under no illusions though that coming into this match they are firm underdogs. The current injury situation won’t help matters either and the loss of their Danish striker has very much disrupted the flow and understanding that the forward line was building. The absence of the likes of Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez will also be keenly felt and the left side of the defence has been problematic all season. The target for the rest of the season has to be to finish in the top four, but they are currently eight points behind Aston Villa so they can’t afford to miss out on many more points. Goal difference is also an issue for the club, they are currently on zero and have only scored 36 goals all season in the league, no team in the top half of the table has scored less. 

Can anyone stop City?

Manchester City are, unsurprisingly, heavy favourites to win this match and their fans will expect them to do so with relative ease. There are likely to be goals in the game, with United also a decent bet to score a goal. The odds indicate a win for the home team by two or more goals. 

Manchester City have won four of their last five matches, with the only points dropped being a 1-1 draw at home against Chelsea. Manchester United have also won four of the last five but their dropped points were in that very disappointing home defeat to Fulham. 

The home side have by far the better recent record as they have six wins from the last ten meetings. Last season both teams won their home matches but this year United fell to a 3-0 home defeat back in October. United have won three of the remaining fixtures with the last encounter, back in 2020, being a goalless draw. 

Last Updated: 01.02.2024