Manchester United host Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in the 169th Manchester Derby, the 159th in the League. Although City hold the upper hand in recent seasons. Manchester United are the dominant force in Manchester. Of the previous 168 meetings, Manchester United have won 69, with City winning 49 and there have been 50 draws between the two sides. Manchester City won the reverse fixture at the Etihad stadium earlier this season. They won the game 1-0 after United had Chris Smalling sent-off in the first half. Since the last meeting on 2nd November 2014, Manchester United have only lost two games out of twenty one League games, winning fifteen and drawing four. Manchester United go into this game with the best home record in the league, having compiled forty points so far their games at Old Trafford.
The teams go into this game in third and fourth place in the Premier League table, United sit in third place after their win over Aston Villa last time out, while City lost 2-1 at Crystal Palace on Monday night. Manchester United will be looking for their sixth consecutive win in the League, while also looking for their sixth consecutive home victory having won every league game at home since losing to Southampton. Manchester City’s hasn’t been great of late, having only taken nine points from a possible eighteen and also having lost three of their last six away games. Whoever wins this game will hold an advantage going into the final stages of the Premier League season as both teams look to secure automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.
After having a pretty much unchanged team for the last three games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa. The only change in the three games has been Marcos Rojo coming in for Chris Smalling in the previous game against Aston Villa. With Smalling available again after illness, will he return for this game or will Van Gaal stick with his back from the previous game of Blind, Rojo, Jones and Valencia. Surely the only possible change in the midfield and attacking positions could be Angel Di Maria returning to the starting eleven in place of Ashley Young. Di Maria replaced Young as a substitute in the previous game against Aston Villa and got his tenth Premier League assist of the season. Only Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas has more Premier League assists than Di Mara this season. If it was my responsibility to pick the starting eleven for this game, the only change I would make would be to bring Smalling in for Jones. Di Maria would have to settle for place on the bench for the third game running.
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