Sports, Football

City, United lock horns in Manchester derby

Published : 01 Oct 2022 07:40 PM

Two bitter rivals with a taste for victories lock horns in Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, as Manchester City play host to Manchester United.

The Red Devils have not been in Premier League action since getting the better of Arsenal 3-1 on September 4, while Pep Guardiola's side ran out 3-0 winners over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break.

The reigning champions could hardly be better prepared for this contest, but nor could Man United, who would have been disappointed to see the international break come around when it did as they seek to maintain their rich vein of form.

The death and state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II means that the Red Devils will be taking part in their first Premier League fixture for nearly a month this weekend, having lost to Real Sociedad and overcome Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League since that 3-1 success over Arsenal.

Having overseen a dramatic upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford with four consecutive top-flight wins, Erik ten Hag was handed the Premier League's Manager of the Month award for September after leading his side to fifth in the table - five points adrift of Man City with a game in hand.

Man City will expect to be boosted by the long-awaited return of Aymeric Laporte from a knee injury for the Manchester derby, and the centre-back's comeback will be timely after John Stones went off with a tight hamstring in England's draw with Germany.

Laporte will most likely have to settle for minutes as a substitute given his lengthy layoff, as Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias continue in the heart of the backline, and Guardiola will be without Kalvin Phillips for a number of weeks due to shoulder surgery.

Over at Old Trafford, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have made strong progress in their recoveries from injury and have been training with the squad this week, which could see both strikers return for the derby.

Rashford is sure to start up top over Cristiano Ronaldo if he is fit enough, although the Portuguese will be considered for a place if the Englishman's recovery still leaves something to be desired.

Harry Maguire endured a torrid time with England, which culminated in him returning to Man United with a tight hamstring, but Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez were always expected to pair up at the back.