English Premiership

United keen to add to City's woes

2015-04-11 14:02
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

London - Louis van Gaal's increasingly confident Manchester United will look to twist the knife in Manchester City's side when the derby rivals clash in Sunday's Premier League showdown at Old Trafford.

A run of five consecutive victories has taken United above City for the first time this season and another success this weekend would blacken yet further the storm clouds gathering over the Etihad Stadium.

City's 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace on Monday left them nine points behind leaders Chelsea having played a game more, effectively ending their title defence, and they now face a battle to secure a Champions League place.

Fourth in the table, Manuel Pellegrini's team enjoy a seven-point lead over fifth-place Liverpool, but both Arsenal and United have stolen a march on them in the race for automatic Champions League qualification and defeat on Sunday would leave them vulnerable to attack from below.

"I dream of it. Every player shall dream of the victory," said United manager Van Gaal, whose side are a point above City in third place.

"I have to think with my staff and players already a lot of days how we have to beat Man City.

"You are sitting in that process to beat your next opponent and of course you want to win because it is a big step in the table also.

"When you win, the third place is then reachable and a month ago nobody was thinking about that; besides me, of course."

After five losses in seven games for his side, City manager Pellegrini has found himself the subject of media speculation that his days at the Etihad are already numbered.

But although defeat at Van Gaal's hands would further weaken the Chilean's position, there is reason for optimism in City's recent derby record.

Victory would give City five straight league wins against United for the first time and they have won on their last three visits to Old Trafford, scoring 11 goals.

- Van Persie doubtful -

"I think that they have a lot of respect for us -- in the last few years we dominated the derby and the Premier League," Pellegrini told his pre-game press conference.

"The derby gives the game an extra boost. I hope that not only the intensity is high, but the quality too, for the fans.

"It's an important game as we're close in the table, but I don't think the season is finished for either side after."

City prevailed 3-0 at United last season and won this season's reverse fixture 1-0 in November, but they will be wary of the threat posed by Wayne Rooney, who is the leading scorer in the fixture with 11 goals.

The United captain has scored six times in his last eight club games and his stunning snapshot in last weekend's 3-1 defeat of Aston Villa took him to within one goal of Denis Law's United league tally of 171.

Along with Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young, Rooney has flourished since Van Gaal alighted upon a 4-3-3 formation for the 3-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur on March 15.

His form has meant that Robin van Persie's six-week absence with an ankle injury has been barely noticed.

The Dutch striker returned to training this week, but Van Gaal says he is unlikely to feature on Sunday, while Luke Shaw is another injury doubt, meaning Daley Blind will probably continue at left-back.

City are expected to be without captain Vincent Kompany due to a hamstring problem, with Eliaquim Mangala in line to come into central defence alongside Martin Demichelis.

Strikers Wilfried Bony and Stevan Jovetic have already been ruled out of the game due to injury.

United's system may prompt Pellegrini to abandon his policy of fielding two central forwards, which would mean Sergio Aguero - scorer of five goals in six league games against United - leading the line alone ahead of a reinforced midfield.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.