Manchester United and Manchester City to Face off in Vital Derby
Manchester City go into this game almost totally untroubled by injury, although Kevin De Bruyne recently sustained a shoulder injury. The Belgian playmaker will have a late fitness test to asses him for the derby, having not trained on Friday. Despite this, he is likely to feature and may even start.
The last of City’s injury worries coming into the Manchester Derby is Aymeric Laporte. The French defender picked up a hamstring injury in late February and will return later this month. However, he will not be available for Guardiola’s selection this weekend.
Manchester United’s season has been hampered by injury, and it is the same story going into the derby.
Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba are both long term injuries who will not be ready for the game. Pogba’s return should come later this month, but United will have to wait until the season’s ending to see Rashford back on the pitch.
Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James will all have late fitness tests before the game. James missed their draw with Everton last Sunday, and an FA Cup tie with Derby. He has not been training recently, however, so his return may not come as early as Sunday.
Wan-Bissaka and Maguire are more likely to play against City. Both missed the trip to Derby on Thursday and will have late fitness tests. However, their condition does not seem to be as serious as that of James.
The Game’s Importance for Manchester United and Manchester City
While City go into this game fairly safe in second place, Leicester have a chance to put some pressure on them. A string of bad results for Guardiola’s side and good ones for Leicester could easily see the positions swapped, so getting as many points as possible is vital for City.
Despite Manchester City’s need for results, this game serves more importance for the team on the red side of the city. They currently sit in fifth, but with results going their way this weekend they could rise into the top four – a rare occurrence for them this season. While Manchester City’s European ban may mean fifth place becomes a Champions League qualification position, the race to the most prestigious club competition is extremely close, with several clubs in competition for very few places.
United need to continue their good run of recent form and get as many points on the board so that they can qualify for the Champions League. Qualification is important, and even more so in order to lure summer targets to Old Trafford, with many high profile names on their wishlist.