Manchester City head across town to take on Man United on Sunday and this one is going to be a really tough outing for the home side.
Man United have made a very average start to their 2023/24 season and while MCFC are fighting for the top spot on the Premier League table, Ten Hag’s side are currently eighth with just 15 points.
United have been hit and miss this season and it’s very hard to see them pick up a win on Sunday. In fact, after many seasons, this is perhaps the first time when no bookmaker is putting their money on the Red Devils. MCFC have an odds of 1.62 while Manchester United have odds of 5.25 to win this weekend.
Usually, no matter what the recent form, pundits are sceptical about writing either of them off completely but in the buildup to Sunday, most of these experts are fearing the worst for Man United.
We have compiled some of the major predictions and suggestions going into Sunday’s Manchester Derby.
Firstly, Marcus Rashford has urged his whole team to be more confident because this could be the moment of turnaround for Man United.
In a recent interview with United Review, he said (via Man Utd.com): “You have to be confident. You have to trust your own abilities. But you also have to pay them respect.
“We have to be ready for when the little moments arrive in games such as this. We need to take those moments.
“I can see the similarities [to the Liverpool home game last season]. We have the courage and the willingness to fight in every game we play, and we need to pick up the points. We need to move up the Premier League table, there’s no time to wait around.”
Pundit Steve Nicol:
Nicol thinks that while Man United have had their moments of individual brilliance Man City could enjoy a goal fest on Sunday.
He said on ESPN FC(as quoted): “They are due to batter somebody. City sides of the past, we have been talking about fours and fives and this is possible because Manchester United have been giving up chances and they’ve been pulling rabbits out of the hat in terms of [Scott] McTominay and others are concerned to actually win and get points out of games.
“I just don’t see any way that Man City don’t come here, dominate the game and give Manchester United a bit of a spanking.”
When Rodri was suspended, Man City lost all three games and according to Rio, his absence was the only weak link in Pep Guardiola’s team however, now that he has returned, Man United will find it really hard to pick up a win.
“Unfortunately for everyone else, you can’t have Rodri suspended every week,” Ferdinand said(h/t Mirror). “He’s the only indispensable player in the squad.
“You can talk about [Erling] Haaland but if he is out, [Julian] Alvarez comes in and scores. If Rodri doesn’t play they don’t look the same at the moment. Until this magician Pep finds someone else to go in and cover him. I don’t know what it is yet.”
The ex-United defender and current pundit believes Manchester United will have to bring their A game onto the pitch from the very first minute.
“I went to the Copenhagen game on Tuesday night, United were really poor in the first half but better in the second,” Neville told Sky Sports. “The form is not there, they’re not playing well so we’re just reliant on saying ‘it’s a derby, they’ll be up for it’.
“I will always say, on Sunday for United, if they’re in the game with 20 minutes to go then they’ve got a real chance, just because of the crowd and the way the feeling will be in the stadium. That happened last season, they were 1-0 down and then won 2-1.
“There’s no way United can come out on Sunday and blitz City in football terms because they’re just not at that level. But City are a bit below par as well so it’ll be interesting to see.
“United can bring the best out of City as well, with the football they play at Old Trafford, and last season was a surprise in that final 15 minutes. I’m more hopeful than expectant.”
Keown has a very straightforward prediction for the derby.
He said(h/t Manchester City News): “I can see them winning 3-1. Man United might grab a goal, Rashford is in good form right now. He looked like he was for England. But you want to see more, [Scott] McTominay is coming to the rescue far too often for them.”
Berbatov like everyone else has expressed the worst for Man United.
“Let’s not be blinded by the three points and let’s not pretend we didn’t see some cracks in the team, Berbatov told Betfair. “Copenhagen were easily able to create goal-scoring opportunities. They didn’t score due to [goalkeeper Andre] Onana and the inexperience of the Copenhagen players. That’s why it was 0-0 for most of the game.
“This lack of communication, positioning, reading of the game, it needs to be addressed. Yes, it was 1-0 and three points, but I hope everybody will pay attention to the mistakes that were made in the game and correct them immediately.
“Let me tell you something… If United allow the same freedom like they did against Copenhagen to City, they are going to suffer.”