Old Trafford plays host to a highly-anticipated Premier League derby on Saturday as Manchester United welcome Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams in a classic Manchester derby.
Two places and three points separate Manchester City and Manchester United rivals in the table at present, with United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer certainly under more pressure than his counterpart, Pep Guardiola.
A 3-0 victory over Tottenham last weekend has lifted spirits in the Manchester United camp, but they face another tough test against champions Manchester City.
Despite Man City winning more trophies in recent years, the Red Devils’ recent record against their rivals is strong, winning three and drawing once — their longest unbeaten run against them since 2011.
Despite this, Man United’s overall form has been poor — the seven games they have lost in 2021 are their most since losing the same amount in 2001. They have not lost more than seven in a year since 1989.
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After rescuing United yet again against Atalanta on Tuesday night in a Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo plays in his first Manchester derby since 2009. He has three goals in his last five against their cross-city counterparts.
Having managed to pull themselves out of their rut – at least for now – with victory at Spurs, Man United are hanging on to their fifth-placed position in the table after 10 matches.
Worryingly for the Old Trafford faithful, United have taken just one point from their last three home games in the Premier League – scoring a solitary goal in that miserable streak – and not since April’s win over Granada have the Red Devils crowd seen their side keep a clean sheet on familiar territory.
The reigning Premier League champions were dealt another early blow in their pursuit of a sixth crown in the competition, but Pep Guardiola’s side responded in ideal fashion against Club Brugge in the Champions League, easing to a 4-1 win courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
Having seen their eight-game unbeaten run in the top flight come to a bitter end, third-placed Man City are five points adrift leaders Chelsea after 10 matches, but they have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer away from home in the Premier League.
Despite posting two EFL Cup wins against their rivals in recent years, City are winless in four Premier League Manchester derbies – failing to score in any of their last three – but not many United fans will be placing bets on their side’s hot streak continuing on Saturday.
What makes this fixture more fascinating is the fact that Man United have performed well against Pep Guardiola’s Man City side of late. They are unbeaten in four Premier League meetings against City, though that was before Ronaldo’s arrival.
Also, Man United now have Ronaldo, the Portuguese has proven prolific as ever since returning to the club and might come up with another magic on Saturday.