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Team news: Aguero returns; Mahrez starts

TOP TRIO: Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all start against the Reds

TOP TRIO: Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all start against the Reds

City make two changes from Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Shakhtar with Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy returning.

Hat-trick hero Gabriel Jesus starts on the bench, while Oleksandr Zinchenko rested.

Benjamin Mendy returns at left-back.

Starting XI:

Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Stones, Mendy, Fernandinho, D Silva (c), Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero

Subs: Muric, Kompany, Gundogan, Jesus, Foden, Sane, Delph

READ: Where can I watch the Manchester derby?

READ: Henry Winter: City the most beautiful side we’ve seen

No selection surprises


_Sergio Aguero celebrates after netting his 150th Premier League goal for the Blues


City look set for a 4-3-3 formation against United.

The defensive back four take care of themselves, with Fernandinho pinning the midfield three of David Silva and Bernardo.

On the flanks, Raheem Sterling and Mahrez will look to supply the width to stretch United and provide opportunities for Aguero.

Manchester United XI:

Blues wary of Reds

Over the years, City earned a reputation for the ‘Great Unpredictables’ – not anymore.

The Blues have become a model of consistency over the past couple of years and, to a certain degree, over the past eight seasons.

In contrast, United were anything but unpredictable as they won title after title under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Of late, and this season perhaps more than ever, it’s United who have become a tad unpredictable, dropping points they looked certain to win and winning matches where they’d all been written off.

Last season, City could – and should – have been three, four or even five goals up against the Reds by half-time.

That it was only 2-0 allowed United a chink of light, and for 15 second-half minutes, they turned the game on its head, scoring three times to go on and win the game 3-2 and prevent City winning the title that day.


DISAPPOINTMENT: KDB takes a minute after last season's derby loss


So, the question today will be: which United team will turn up?

Last-gasp wins over Bournemouth and, even more impressively, Juventus in midweek, mean the Reds will come to the Etihad in confident mood.

That, plus last season’s comeback and the fact they’ve not lost at the Etihad in their past three visits, make them a dangerous opponent for the champions.

It’s fair to say that, while the Blues clinically disposed of Southampton and Shakhtar with a minimum of fuss, today’s encounter will be much closer.

Should City get ahead, a more conservative approach may be adopted in terms of all out attack with a more defensively disciplined focus similar to the one we saw away to Liverpool.

That said, on our own turf, this City team generally call the shots and fear nobody – so whether that would be in our DNA remains to be seen.

A win playing beautiful football is the requirement of Pep Guardiola, but today, City fans will be happy with three points no matter what the circumstances.

READ: Death threats and banter: The City skipper who loved to wind-up the Reds

Stats and milestones

City will look to improve on recent Manchester derby results this afternoon, having won just two of the last eight games against United.

The Reds’ last derby day defeat at the Etihad was almost exactly four years ago in November 2014 when  Aguero’s 63-minute goal proved enough to settle the contest.




City v United: Brief highlights

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Since United’s three-goal second-half comeback last season, the Blues have conceded just one goal after the break in 18 Premier League matches (v Wolves).

The Blues have won 44 and drawn nine of the past 53 games against sides starting the day outside the top four – Everton (January 2017) were the last side to achieve that feat.

In Pep’s entire managerial career, he’s never lost successive home games against the same team.

Raheem Sterling is hoping it’s lucky 13 today having failed to score against the Reds in 12 previous games.

United took six months last campaign to concede the same amount of goals they have this season – 18.

If City score three times this afternoon, it will be United’s worst start defensively since 1966.


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Manchester Derby: Fans' view

DERBY DAY: We spoke to five fans to find out what derby day really means

Manchester City and Manchester United meet on Sunday for the 177th time. Ahead of the game, we spoke to five fans to find out what derby day means to them. ​

We speak to City fans ahead of today's Manchester derby