Men's Team

Stones starts as Man City make three changes

SET IN STONES: The centre-back has his game face on as kick-off looms.
City make three changes for the Manchester derby this afternoon.

In come John Stones, Oleks Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, with Bernardo, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker on the bench.

Teams

Manchester City: Ederson, Cancelo, Zinchenko, Dias, Stones, Rodrigo, De Bruyne (c), Gundogan, Jesus, Sterling, Mahrez

Subs: Steffen, Walker, Aguero, Laporte, Bernardo, Torres, Mendy, Fernandinho, Foden

United: Henderson, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.

SubsBailly, Greenwood, Grant, Diallo, Alex Telles, Matic, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shoretire.

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Formation and tactics

Pep Guardiola goes with a central defensive pairing of Ruben Dias and John Stones, with Oleks Zinchenko at left-back and the versatile Joao Cancelo on the right.

Rodrigo will anchor the midfield trio with Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan in more advanced roles.

Gabriel Jesus is likely to lead the line with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez on either side – though this is an interchangeable forward line.

City wary of United threat

Today’s Manchester derby is one of many high-profile clashed Man City have hosted in recent years.

In five Manchester derbies since Pep Guardiola took over, City have won just once and lost three times.

MATCH OF THE SEASON: CITY 5-1 UNITED 1989

Increasingly, the away side has excelled in this fixture with City winning five times at Old Trafford during that same period – so just four wins for the home side in 14 meetings.

That’s a record City will look to improve against the Reds this afternoon as we chase a 22nd successive victory in all competitions.

There is the added stat that United have not lost for 21 away games – a record that stretches back 14 months.

After three successive 0-0 draws for the Reds and the fact that sides are creeping up behind them in the battle to secure Champions League football, it seems likely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take the handbrake off this afternoon.

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The first league meeting at Old Trafford saw both sides adopt a more conservative approach, with a clear respect that perhaps suggested neither side considered a draw a bad result.

City know victory will means going 15 points clear at the top with a vastly superior goal difference to those chasing – with just 10 games to go.

It’s hard to imagine a greater incentive for Pep Guardiola’s men.

De Bruyne landmark

One of our greatest talents of the modern era, Kevin De Bruyne, makes his 250th appearance for City this afternoon.

The 29 year-old Belgian joined City in 2015 has scored 60 goals during his six seasons at the Etihad.

In January, he also clocked up his 100th City assist – an incredible record for a magnificent player.

A derby victory would be the perfect way to celebrate his latest milestone.

Stats, facts, and milestones

  • This is the 164 league meeting between the Manchester rivals. City have won 47, United 64 and there have been 52 draws.
  • Not since the 1991/92 top flight have both league Manchester derbies in a single campaign ended in a draw (0-0 at Maine Road, 1-1 at Old Trafford).
  • Of the eight red cards shown in Premier League Manchester derbies, only one has gone to a City player: Bernardo Corradi in a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford on 9 December 2006.
  • City are on a club record run of 21 consecutive victories in all competitions, since a 1-1 Premier League home draw against West Bromwich Albion on 15 December.
  • Of teams from the top five European leagues, only two other clubs have had a competitive winning streak of more than 20 matches: FC Bayern München (23, February to September 2020) and Real Madrid (22, September to December 2014).
  • City (W25-D3-L0) have equalled the club record run of 28 successive fixtures unbeaten in all competitions, set from April to December 2017 winning 24 and drawing four.
  • City have won 15 consecutive Premier League fixtures. No other team has had a PL winning streak of more than four matches this season.
  • In the top four tiers of English football, this is only the fifth time a team has had a league winning streak of at least 15 matches. The other four were also in the Premier League within the last four years: Manchester City (18, August to December 2017 and 15, February to August 2019) and Liverpool (18, October 2019 to February 2020 and 17, March to October 2019).
  • City scored in 40 of their last 41 home fixtures in all competitions. The only exception in that run was a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United in the League Cup semi-finals second leg on 29 January 2020.
  • Ederson has kept 15 Premier League clean sheets this campaign, only one fewer than the number of PL goals he has conceded this season (16). In 2019/20, the Brazilian won the PL Golden Glove after keeping 16 clean sheets (one more than Nick Pope).
  • Only Wayne Rooney (11), Joe Hayes (10) and Francis Lee (10) have scored more goals in competitive Manchester derbies than Sergio Agüero (9).
  • Manchester United are on a club league record run of 21 consecutive away fixtures unbeaten (W13-D8-L0), since a 2-0 loss at Liverpool on 19 January 2020.
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