So with the weekend nearing, the excitement is rising high. The week number four in the Premier league will be kicking off with a bang as both the Manchester clubs will be colliding for the 172nd time in the competition. But what makes this clash more interesting is the rivalry of the managers, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Both the managers are considered as fierce enemies on the pitch and their touch-line antiques are something they are popularly known for. Manchester United, who had an average season last time out under Louis van Gaal, are now looking set to challenge for the top honours and have kicked their campaign in style as they have collected all the possible points from the opening fixtures of the League.
Well, their counterparts are no different; they have started their campaign on a high note as well and are the joint leaders alongside the Devils and the Stamford Bridge outfit, but what differentiates the two, is the number of goals they have conceded. The Citizens will be facing a major setback as they will be without their star man Sergio Aguero, who will be facing the first of a three-match ban on Saturday.
Unlike the past couple of years, this clash is going to be a tactical masterclass. So, here is the predicted lineup for Manchester United, that could face the rivals with full throttle.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea-
Absolutely no doubt about this one! The former Atletico Madrid man was a joy to watch last season, but under Mourinho, he hasn’t had much work to do. The Devils are having a great record defensively but this time around, he will have to be on his toes as the players like Sterling, Nolito and Silva are hitting the strides and could cause some serious problems.
Defence: Valencia; Bailly; Blind; Shaw-
The 31-year-old Ecuadorian international took the social media by storm by posting his muscle-building routine exercise and this has clearly indicated that he is now looking all set to cement his place in the team. The winger/full back, Valencia was heavily criticized for the lack of his delivery, but under Mourinho, the 31-year-old seems to have revived his career to a great extent.
The centre back pairing is expected to be the same, i.e, Bailly and Blind. Both the centre backs have been doing a great job lately and have only conceded one goal. Blind, who was criticized for the lack of his muscular presence has been a rock solid personnel alongside Bailly.
For the left back spot, the manager might use the young and dynamic, Luke Shaw. The English international was withdrawn from the England squad in Slovakia due to an ache in his calf but boss Sam Allardyce said the left back’s return to Manchester was just a precautionary measure. He hasn’t been as effective as Valencia, but his presence on the field can certainly cut the comedy for Sterling.
Holding Pair: Fellaini; Pogba-
Now, we might see the towering Belgian, Marouane Fellaini for the fourth time running. The Belgian was diagnosed with a back problem soon after the side defeated Hull City and the manager stated that he will be treated, but surprisingly, he marked his presence for his national side and played 84 minutes and this has given a great boost for Mourinho’s selection for the derby. Besides all of this, the 28-year-old has been a joy to watch; no rash tackles, no elbows flying, nothing. He has been working really well lately.
Furthermore, the manager will be using the new acquisition, Paul Pogba in the centre of the park. The Frenchman has hit the grounds running soon after his arrival.
Attacking trio: Mata; Rooney; Martial-
With Mkhitaryan looking a doubt for the game, the manager might go with the Spanish masterclass, Juan Mata.
On the parallel flank, Mourinho might use the agile, former Monaco attacker, Anthony Martial. The youngster has had an average start to his new campaign and needs to work more on his consistency. The player was pretty poor last time out, and if he tends to hold his starting place, he needs to get over his off the pitch problems as soon as possible.
With that being said, the skipper Wayne Rooney will be playing just behind the striker to support the attack. The Englishman has scored one goal and has bagged two assists to his name so far, and will be looking to add more this time around.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic-
Just like Valencia, the 34-year-old recently uploaded a video on his social media profile regarding the Derby clash and that has hit the platform with a bang. He failed to score against the Tigers last time out, but he knows the importance of this fixture and will be looking forward to give Otamendi and Stones a run for their money.