De Bruyne a doubt for derby

Manchester United play host to City in the derby on Sunday as we look to maintain pressure on Chelsea for a top four finish.

We are currently three points behind Frank Lampard’s side with others breathing down our neck for Champions League football next season.

Manchester City have a top four place wrapped up but are out of the title race. Pep Guardiola’s main focus between now and the end of the season will be the Champions League and FA Cup. Their second leg versus Real Madrid isn’t until Tuesday 17 March.

Both of us were successful in the FA Cup midweek, with City 1-0 winners away to Sheffield Wednesday, 24 hours before we beat Derby County 3-0 at Pride Park.

Pep Guardiola is sweating over the fitness of star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne before their short journey to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. The Belgian superstar player came off in the closing stages of their 2-1 EFL Cup final win over Aston Villa last weekend and subsequently missed the trip to Hillsborough midweek.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference this morning, Guardiola told reporters that Kevin De Bruyne’s fitness is improving but that he remains unsure whether he will be ready in time to face us. The City boss is quoted on the club’s official website as saying:

“He is getting better,” he said. “Today we didn’t train and tomorrow he will improve.

 

“This morning he was with the physio and he said he feels better. Not perfect, but he feels better. We will see.”

Two Manchester City players who are certain to miss this weekend’s derby are key centre-back Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane. Laporte’s absence means that midfielder Fernandinho will likely slip in at centre-back as he has done for much of the season. Summer signing Rodri has been playing the holding midfield role for several months now, in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 formation. Leroy Sane has been absent all season but is finally back in training for the Citizens.