Manchester United will be looking to give their top four hopes a major boost when they travel to Manchester City on Sunday at the Etihad while City will be desperate keep hold their 4th place in the league table and here are the sides we think both teams will pick.
Manchester City predicted line-up: Hart; Zabaleta, Mangala, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho; Sterling, Toure, Silva; Aguero
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart obviously will take his place in City goal desperately looking for a cleansheet. With Vincent Kompany absent through injury, the Englishman will need to do his best to fill City’s leadership void at the back.
Defence: At the heart of the defence it will be Mangala partnering Otamendi. However the Argentine has a slight fitness issue. He will be assessed later today and if he doesn’t pass the fitness test, it will be Demichelis. On the left hand side Gael Clichy will be handed out the duty to nullify any threat down the left flank, while Zabaleta operating from the right hand side.
Midfield: It will be very, very interesting to see if Fernandinho plays on the right wing like he did against Kiev and Liverpool (Cup Final). Personally, but Pellegrini might go for the Brazilians lying deep, Fernando pairing up with Fernandinho while Yaya Toure moving forward.
Attack : Sterling should operate from the left, while Toure being handed out a more central role to help the attacking line and David Silva starting from the right. But whether he is right or left, Silva will most definitely drift to the centre as the match progresses. Aguero with his unplayable nature, combining a scintillating speed and penetration with pin-point accuracy and expert composure in front of goal, will look to destroy a makeshift United defence.
Here is how we think City will line-up:
Manchester United line-up: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Martial, Lingard, Mata; Rashford
Goalkeeper: David de Gea will certainly keep his place in goal after yet another brilliant performance against Liverpool in the Europa League at Old Trafford. But you can’t be sure even the brilliance of De Gea will be able to keep Manchester City at bay for the entire ninety minutes.
Defence: van Gaal might make at least one change to the back line which started last time against Liverpool with Matteo Darmian coming in at right-back, so youngster Guillermo Varela is set to be dropped to the substitutes bench. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Antonio Valencia are back in contention but the Dutch manager might go with Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo retaining their places in defence.
Midfield: Bastian Schweinsteiger continued his return from injury with yet another appearance off the bench in the Europa League second leg, so the German might now come back in to the starting lineup with Marouane Fellaini the one to drop out. Morgan Schneiderlin may also get a recall in the middle of the pitch with Michael Carrick given a rest after starting in each of the last three matches.
Attack: Ander Herrera missed the Liverpool clash on Thursday night with a groin problem, so the Spaniard could again miss out on a place in the starting lineup on Sunday afternoon. Juan Mata all set to return from a one-match domestic suspension and he could ideally start as number 10 while Anthony Martial should keep his place in attack.
However, the Frenchman is most likely to operate from the wing yet again with Marcus Rushford leading up front and the youngster will be desperate to get himself back on the score-sheet following a barren few games after the sensational burst on to the scene last month.
Here is how we think United will line-up: