The form of the two Manchester teams appears to be changing with United starting to enjoy the fruits of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy
Following the 1-1 draw with Chelsea the attitude towards United in the football world appears to be changing. Even the most sceptical have stated they believe United have turned a corner and believe van Gaal’s side will get a result at the Ethiad Stadium. In stark contrast the mood towards the blue side of Manchester is more negative. Following two defeats in their last two games against Newcastle and West Ham plus the unwelcome stat of six wins from their games in all competitions people are starting to question whether the players have the right attitude to achieve anything this season. On the other hand the spirit and passion in the United squad has been praised with the team unbeaten in four and a noticeable improvement in the performance of the team in general.
Louis van Gaal can call on the services of Antonio Valencia after the midfielder recovered from injury to be available for selection. Wayne Rooney is also available again following his three game suspension and van Gaal has confirmed that Rooney will play against City. Rooney is expected to come into the side for Juan Mata after the Spanish midfielder did nothing to impress during his run in the team during Rooney’s suspension. Rooney is vital to the team in this game and will offer a much needed work rate and a much better range of passing compared to that of Juan Mata. One player who will not be available for sure is striker Radamel Falcao who has not yet recovered from an injury he suffered in training. Phil Jones is also ruled out of this game after he missed the game against Chelsea with what is believed to be shin splits. Chris Smalling is set to start alongside Marcos Rojo in central defence again. Marouane Fellani also looks set to start again after his very impressive performance against League leaders Chelsea. He will provide a much needed physical presence with City expected to play with Yaya Toure and Fernando in central midfield. David Silva has been ruled out of the derby for city after he came off injured in their League Cup game against Newcastle on Wednesday night. The new of Silva’s injury will be greeted with happiness in the United camp as the midfielder is one of City’s most dangerous players who is without a doubt one of the best midfilders in the league.
Following the late equaliser against Chelsea the confidence in the United side will be sky high. United need to go into the game with the right game plan as they did against Chelsea and more importantly with the belief that they can get a result at the stadium where they were humbled last season. City’s defence can be got at with Mangala looking nervous and always having a mistake in him whether Pellegrini decides to go with Martin Demechelis or Mangala remains to be seen. One things for sure is that United have the pace and the undoubted quality to cause city a lot of problems and if they work as a team defensively such as they did against Chelsea then anything is possible for Louis van Gaal’s team. The manager certainly has the confidence that his team can get a result on Sunday and there’s no doubt the players believe the same as the Dutchman.
Predicted team line-up:
Rafael Smalling Rojo Shaw
Blind Fellani Herrera
Van Persie Di Maria
Score prediction: Man City 2-2 Man Utd