As the eyes of the footballing world turn to Old Trafford for Saturday’s 172nd Manchester Derby, we preview what City must be wary of when they play Jose Mourinho’s men in the 12:30 kick-off.
Mourinho arrived as manager to replace Louis van Gaal and he immediately got busy in the transfer window.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba arrived from Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus respectively. Pogba has, of course, been at Old Trafford before but after four years in Turin, United paid a believed world record fee for the midfielder’s services.
The two other major arrivals were Borussia Dortmund’s creative midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and 22-year-old Villarreal defender Eric Bailly.
The Reds cruised past Bournemouth on opening weekend with a 3-1 win on the south coast. They then beat Southampton 2-0 at Old Trafford on the first night Friday night game of the season.
It was more difficult in their final game before the international break as Hull City looked to be holding Mourinho’s new look strike force for much of the evening before a late Marcus Rashford goal ensured the three points.
Style so far
David De Gea continues in charge of the goalkeeper’s position. The Spaniard has also displaced Iker Casillas as the number one for his national side.
Centre-backs Bailly and Daley Blind have been in solid form so far, conceding just the solitary goal at Bournemouth. The form shown by the two means last season’s Players’ Player of the Year Chris Smalling is yet to force his way back into the side.
Full backs Antonio Valencia, a reformed winger, and Luke Shaw have license to go forward past wingers Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, who both favour coming inside.
Valencia’s nomination for the Premier League Player of the Month and Shaw’s immediate return to the England setup show that it has worked so far.
Marouane Fellaini and Pogba have played the sitting role behind Wayne Rooney who has looked to link the midfield and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic’s aerial ability means United often look to cross the ball. The Reds have played 22 crosses so far this season, the fifth most in the Premier League.
Impressive cameos in the late, late showing at the KC Stadium may give both Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan the chance to start in this crunch clash. That would involve a major decision from Mourinho in terms of who should make way. However, Mkhitaryan's late fitness test may rule him out of contention.
Ibrahimovic’s form so far and his reputation make him less likely to be dropped than club captain Wayne Rooney, pacey winger Martial or Mata, who Mourinho sold to United from Chelsea.
There are also doubts over both full backs after Shaw pulled out of England’s squad to face Slovakia last week and Valencia revealed he would not return from international duty with Ecuador until Friday afternoon.
No matter what sides the two managers pick, it's sure to be unmissable!