Manchester United will be looking to bolster their chances of a top-four finish at home against Manchester City later today, and the Red Devils will be hoping that VAR is on their side once again after being gifted a lifeline against Everton last week to earn a draw.
Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes salvaged a point for United against the Toffees, after scoring a superb goal from outside the box to beat Jordan Pickford – the midfielder’s goal was his second since coming to England, and put his total to 2 goals and 2 assists in his first four games, averaging 4 shots per game. [WhoScored]
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be glad to see the possible returns of Welsh youngster Daniel James and English fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka after both picking up knocks in recent games. James suffered an injury against Club Brugge last Thursday in the Europa League and Wan-Bissaka picked up a slight back issue after completing 90 minutes against Everton last Sunday. [Manchester Evening News]
So, how will United lineup against City?
David De Gea’s aim will be to make up for mistakes this season and prove why he is Utd’s No.1 – the Spaniard has made seven goalkeeping errors that have led to goals since the start of last season [Sky Sports].
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are topping the charts for the Red Devils in both clearances and aerial battles won – Maguire (125 and 135), Lindelof (85 and 70) – and have proved themselves as United’s best centre-back pairing so far this season [Premier League].
Brandon Williams should be starting over Luke Shaw in a game of this magnitude. The local Mancunian has conceded just nine goals when playing at left-back, two fewer than Shaw – as well as this the youngster averages the same amount of tackles per game (1.4) [WhoScored].
A deeper midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred should prove decisive in breaking up Manchester City’s midfield play – the Scotsman proved important before his injury setback in December 2019, scoring against top-four rivals Arsenal, and is looking to cement his permanent place in Solskjaer’s team.
Fred has been one of the first names on the teamsheet this season – the Brazilian has the most interceptions compared to the rest of United’s midfield with 34 [Premier League].
Fernandes will no doubt start in an advanced midfield role, proving his worth since his arrival – this will likely be followed with Martial playing left midfield, the Frenchman is United’s second-highest goalscorer this season in the league with 10 goals [Premier League], and the return of Daniel James at right midfield will add to the creativity seen in Bruno Fernandes – the Welshman is top of the charts for assists for United in the Premier League, leading the way with six [Premier League].
Marcus Rashford is still out on the sidelines with an expected return in April – his injury back in mid-January led to the return of Odion Ighalo back to the Premier League, with the Nigerian scoring 15 goals for Watford in his debut season back in 2015/16 [Premier League]. He could have the chance to start up top on Sunday, having shown signs of that form Premier League spectators saw five years ago.
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