By Chris King •
Updated: 29 Oct 2023 • 13:30
Image of the Premier League flag flying.
THE first Manchester derby of the new Premier League campaign takes place at Old Trafford this Sunday, October 29, in an unusual 3:30 pm BST kickoff slot.
Both sides enter the 191st derby off the back of midweek wins in the Champions League. United secured a dramatic home victory over FC Copenhagen while City thumped Young Boys 1-3 in Switzerland.
Pep Guardiola’s champions currently sit third in the table behind Tottenham and Arsenal. They are five points adrift of Spurs but have a game in hand over the Londoners.
City scraped a narrow 2-1 win over Brighton in their last league match while Erik ten Hag’s men put on a spirited display to beat Sheffield United 2-1. As a result, the Red Devils climbed to eighth in the table, still six points behind their neighbours.
United could be without their Brazilian midfield star Casemiro for tomorrow’s clash. However, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo has reportedly recovered from injury and should be available for selection.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka returned to training last week but will not be ready to face City. With Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw both still on the treatment table, it opens the door for the England international Harry Maguire to continue in the heart of defence.
Kevin De Bruyne is the only long-term absentee for Guardiola. The Spanish coach will have to juggle things around to cover the hole left by Manuel Akanji as he serves a one-match ban after being red-carded against Brighton. That will probably see John Stones and Ruben Dias starting in the centre of the backline.
A scary prospect for Ten Hag is the return to form of the Norwegian striker Erling Haaland. Guardiola is spoiled for choice when it comes to complementing the prolific marksman.
England star Jack Grealish is currently competing with new arrival Jeremy Doku on the left side of the pitch. Who gets the nod out of Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden remains to be seen on Sunday.
Although form tends to go out of the window in these matches, United will start the game knowing they won the last time they played this fixture.
In the last 16 derbies, the scores have only ended level on one occasion. United lead the way with 78 wins in total, with City winning 59 times. The honours have been shared in 53 games.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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