Manchester United entertain arch-rivals Manchester City in Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League.
The Red Devils recently ended a four-match winless run in the top-flight with a comfortable 3-0 triumph at Tottenham Hotspur.
They could not carry over the momentum on Tuesday night as they settled for a 2-2 draw against Atalanta in the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo had another excellent European performance, scoring in stoppage time of both halves to pick up a point for United.
They are scheduled to host the Cityzens in the Manchester derby this weekend, and the game will be intriguing to watch.
United have beaten their fierce rivals in three of the previous four meetings in the top-flight, with the other result being a draw.
However, the Red Devils have had issues at the back, keeping just one clean sheet in the previous 12 games in all competitions.
The change to a 3-4-1-2 set-up paved the way for a clean sheet at Spurs, but it did not work to the same effect against Atalanta.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may stick with the same formation, but he could be without a couple of key players for the Manchester derby.
United were without Victor Lindelof in midweek, but he is likely to make a comeback with the setback being only a minor one, according to Sweden’s head coach.
Raphael Varane could be the big miss, having sustained a hamstring injury against Atalanta. Barring a miraculous recovery, he appears set for another spell on the sidelines.
Paul Pogba will also be absent for the derby as he continues to serve a three-game ban for his sending off against Liverpool.
It will be the second game of his ban, having missed the Spurs victory last weekend.
The reigning English champions will be without three players. Benjamin Mendy is suspended for criminal proceedings going on.
Aside from him, they are expected to be without Aymeric Laporte and Ferran Torres.
Torres has impressed for club and country from the false number nine role, but he is out for a couple of months after sustaining a metatarsal fracture on international duty in October.
Laporte received his marching orders for denying a goalscoring opportunity for Crystal Palace last weekend.
The Frenchman is set to be suspended for the next three domestic games.
Edinson Cavani could return to the frontline after Marcus Rashford’s underwhelming display from the starting XI.
It could be a straight swap in midfield with Fred replacing Pogba. Lindelof appears likely to feature in central defence after Varane’s latest injury.
Manchester United (3-4-1-2): David de Gea; Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Scott McTominay, Luke Shaw; Bruno Fernandes; Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani.
John Stones appears set to start in central defence with Laporte suspended. Jack Grealish struggled against Palace and could be replaced by Raheem Sterling on the left wing.
Ilkay Gundogan was rested last weekend, and he could get the nod over Bernardo Silva in the centre of the park.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo; Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan; Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling.
There has been a high dependency on Ronaldo for goals recently, but that was always anticipated with the Portuguese’s excellent scoring record throughout his career.
He will be crucial in the derby where he will come up against compatriot Dias in the opposition defence.
We fancy Ronaldo to find the back of the net, but United’s defensive vulnerability could still hurt them.
Bailly came up with a top performance in Bergamo, but Varane’s absence will be a big miss. It could be a high-scoring derby on Saturday with both teams sharing the spoils.
Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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