Sports Desk
Come Sun­day all eyes will be on the game at the Etihad Stadium where the reigning Premier League champions and league leaders Manchester City will host arch-rivals Manchester Unitedin the first Manchester Derby of the season.
Both the teams arrive with mixed fortunes in the league. The Blue side of Manchester are cruising forward with one win after another, while the red side seems to have finally found a rhythm and fluidity after a couple of good results.
A win for Manchester City will see them extending their unbeaten league run and increasing their lead at the top to 5 points, (if Chelsea wins their match it will be reduced back to 2). Meanwhile, a victory for United would get them closer to the league leaders and once again start harbouring dreams of winning the Premier League.
The last match between both the teams at this stadium saw Manchester United overturning a 2-0 deficit at halftime to win the match 3-2.
Manchester City will be once again without their midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne. He has yet again injured his knee after being on the receiving end of Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s challenge in the Carabao Cup. However, Ilkay Gundogan is expected to be fit for the match after recovering from a hamstring injury. Claudio Bravo continues to be on the injury list after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
Manchester United, on the other hand, does not carry any new injuries in the side that lined up against Juventus. Striker, Romelu Lukaku will be given a late fitness test to determine whether he will be available on Sunday while Valencia still remains doubtful. Pogba is a slight doubt for today’s match as he did not join in team’s training session on Friday with minor knock.
Mourinho’s side were 2-1 winners in Juventus in the Champions League this week, ending their Italian hosts’ unbeaten start in all competitions, but have conceded the first goal in recent games several times – including against Chelsea, Huddersfield and Newcastle in the Premier League.
United have picked up seven points from losing positions so far in the league, but their manager admits their luck will run out at some point
He said: “If we keep conceding goals before the opponent, it will arrive the day where we cannot come back. So, we have to make sure we grow up not just in our approach – because I think that is clear that the team is growing up.
“But also we have to grow up in our compactness and to start matches well. Which, I have to say against Juventus, happened.”
Pep Guardiola will be wary of United’s resilience already, having witnessed his City team throw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to their neighbours at the Etihad in this fixture last season.
He said: “Last season we lost, but every game is a new history and a new chapter. We realise how strong United are.
When they dominate and create chances they win easily, but you can have the feeling you are in control and they can still punish you. “It’s Manchester United – with Liverpool, they are one of the strongest teams in England’s history.
“I hope it can be a good derby and we can enjoy watching it.”