Premier League Preview: All eyes on Manchester as City take short trip to Old Trafford

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The Premier League derbies continue to come thick and fast, and following on from Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday, it is the turn of Manchester to take centre stage as Pep Guardiola takes his reigning champions to Old Trafford to play out another thrilling encounter against Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United. 

It is not often you can say that City look shaky but in recent weeks they have been far from their very best. Defeats against Newcastle, Wolves and Arsenal in the previous month has proved that this team are made up of actual human beings rather than well-tuned footbots from an entirely different planet, and are indeed capable of (occasionally) losing matches rather than continuously flattening anything in their path. 

The recent international break probably came at a perfect time for City and has afforded Guardiola’s men the chance to regroup and regain themselves heading into an intense period building up to Christmas. They returned to both domestic action and winning ways on Saturday with a 2-1 win at home to Brighton but it must be said that they were once again far from convincing, although the visiting Seagulls were typically impressive and provided stiff opposition. 

Erling Haaland’s recent woes in front of goal were at least put to bed, the Norwegian bagging his ninth league goal of the campaign with a well-taken finish to put City two in front after 19 minutes. Haaland – who had before Saturday endured an unusually long run of four games without finding the net – will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing a United side who have only managed one clean sheet in their last five attempts this weekend. 

It has been another tumultuous start for Sunday’s hosts, with a severe lack of consistency effectively ending their title aspirations as well as thwarting their potential for the top-four. Back-to-back 2-1 victories over Brentford and Sheffield United have papered over certain cracks but the performances this United side are displaying are once more falling short of expectations. 

It took two 11th-hour strikes from man of the moment Scott McTominay to overcome Brentford before the international break, whilst Saturday’s narrow win over basement-dwellers Sheffield United also came courtesy of a wonder goal born from nothing in the latter stages, this time from full-back Diogo Dalot. 

Continued drama off the pitch – namely involving Jadon Sancho – is undoubtedly plaguing progress on it, and this weekend’s derby comes during a challenging time for the club, especially after the sad news of club legend Sir Bobby Charlton’s passing. That said, you can also view United’s last two wins as displays of strong character and many would argue that it is the perfect time to face City, off the back of some poor results and unconvincing performances. 

The form book quite often goes out the window for derby’s and whilst City have dominated this fixture in recent times, it was United who claimed the last victory between these two sides at Old Trafford – a 2-1 win back in January – and in a game of such high importance, with such a rip roaring atmosphere to contend with, the margins have never been finer. 

With 24 goals scored in the last six Manchester derby’s, goals should not be in short supply in this one. Here’s hoping for another cracking showdown on Sunday afternoon. Buckle up, you won’t want to miss it. 

Premier League Gameweek 10 – Fixtures in full:   

Friday 27 October 2023

20:00 Crystal Palace v Spurs (Sky Sports)

Saturday 28 October 2023

12:30 Chelsea v Brentford (TNT Sports)

15:00 AFC Bournemouth v Burnley

15:00 Arsenal v Sheff Utd

17:30 Wolves v Newcastle (Sky Sports)

Sunday 29 October 2023

13:00 West Ham v Everton (Sky Sports)

14:00 Brighton v Fulham

14:00 Liverpool v Nott’m Forest

14:00 Aston Villa v Luton

15:30 Man Utd v Man City (Sky Sports)

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