This afternoon’s match between Manchester United and Manchester City could signal which team will in fact win the Premier League title.
A win for either team would put them top with City going two points clear of Arsenal, and a win for United sending them joint top with the Gunners.
Louis van Gaal’s team is yet to lose a match at Old Trafford this season having won all their matches at home except for a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United back in August.
Speaking ahead of what is arguably for the fans at least a must win game against their cross town rivals, manager van Gaal told Manchester United’s official website that he was not feeling any additional pressure to win, but understands how why it is so important for the fans: “For me it’s not any issue because I have to do my work. You have to work more rationally and not emotionally. I think for the fans it’s very emotional.”
Louis van Gaal has very little to worry about injury wise except for the long-term injuries to Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw, but the Dutchman does have concerns over the fitness of winger Ashley Young after having been out for three weeks.
David De Gea will be called upon to play out of his skin this afternoon against City, and given the young Spaniards talent and his knowledge of how important this game is for the fans we expect him to be up for the challenge.
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should retain their places at centre-back, but given Marcos Rojo’s poor performance against Moscow we feel that Daley Blind will get the nod at left-back partially due to the fact of him being a better passer, and that it is City’s weaker side to attack from assuming Jesus Navas plays.
At right-back for United we expect to see Matteo Darmian given the unenviable job of having to deal with Kevin De Bruyne as the Belgium looks to add to his three goals and the assists in the league so far this season.
In front of the back-four we expect to see Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin get the nod over Carrick and Fellaini with Juan Mata returning to the team for the gig match after having been rested midweek. New boy Anthony Martial will start on the left while Ander Herrera patrols the centre of the park.
Wayne Rooney will once more be tasked with the job of finding the goals, and given his poor performance against CSKA Moscow a lot will be asked of the team captain to actually put in a better effort this afternoon, unlike his showing in Russia.