Derby day arrives in Manchester on Sunday when imperious Manchester City welcome imperfect Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium.
City are in record-breaking form right now having won 21 matches in a row and sit atop the Premier League table by 14 points.
Rivals United are their closest challengers but are some way back in second and off the back of a disappointing week of results.
A trio of goalless draws, the latest of which a midweek test against Crystal Palace, has left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side with an almost impossible task to usurp City at the top.
With the form Pep Guardiola’s men are in, it would take something special to stop them tasting Premier League glory – but Manchester United have been successful in derby games in recent seasons.
It’s been almost two years since City have won bragging rights in the Premier League, although there have been three encounters in the league cup since then.
One of which was the most recent affair back in January, where goals from John Stones and Fernandinho handed Manchester City the win.
The reverse Premier League fixture between these sides at Old Trafford in December ended goalless, something which is becoming somewhat of an unwanted theme for Manchester United in games against fellow ‘big 6’ sides.
If United do manage to win, it’ll be the first time they have won three consecutive away games at Man City since the year 2000, whereas if City avoid defeat to the Red Devils they will set a new club record of 28 games without a loss in all competitions.
This season, Manchester United have been top of the Premier League table for the first time since 2013 but ultimately Manchester City have strung together far more consistent form.
They say that form goes out of the window in derby matches, but with United continually drawing blanks and City looking irresistible it’s understandable why the tag of favourites is being swung in the direction of the blue half of Manchester.
Even more so considering Pep Guardiola has no fresh injury concerns to worry about heading into the derby, with only Nathan Ake sidelined as has been the case for a number of months.
United meanwhile do have fitness concerns. David de Gea is an uncertainty after returning to Spain for the birth of his child, whilst Juan Mata and Paul Pogba are definite absentees.
Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial are major doubts to be involved and will be put through late fitness tests, as will Victor Lindelof who has been battling a recurring lower back injury all season.
It has also been revealed this week that Marcus Rashford needs surgery on a long standing shoulder injury, yet the England forward has continued to play throughout the season regardless.
Manchester City v Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium kicks off at 4.30 on Sunday 7th March.
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