Manchester City face possibly their most important derby with Manchester United under Pep Guardiola, given Liverpool’s push for the Premier League title.
City can keep their title challenge on track with victory over United, who beat comfortably at Old Trafford, but must improve a poor home record in the derby under Pep Guardiola.
The Blues have won just once against the Reds at the Etihad under Guardiola in six attempts, and have lost the last three home meetings with United. In all, just three of the last 17 derbies have been won by the home side – a record that Liverpool will be hoping continues.
ALSO READ: Man City confirm major Ruben Dias injury blow
In terms of team news, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake are both unavailable after picking up injuries in the FA Cup win over Peterborough. In Dias’ case, he faces a four to six-week spell on the sidelines
Read how our writers think City should line up below and use the interactive selector to pick your best team to face United:
City haven’t been at their best in recent weeks and it feels like it is time to bring Bernardo Silva back into midfield. Ilkay Gundogan is a very good player to leave out, but Bernardo and Kevin De Bruyne represent the best midfield pair Guardiola can pick out.
Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have to start for their goal-scoring ability, and Phil Foden has the edge on Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus for the final spot. Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker are the obvious picks at full-back so the only real question is in the middle of defence.
Given the absence of Ruben Dias, there is no point taking a risk with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte so dependable.
Pick your best team here:
With Dias and Ake out, the defense picks itself – with Kyle Walker surely better to face United’s pace than Aleks Zinchenko. Joao Cancelo can switch to the left where he was so good at Old Trafford.
Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva can all come back in after midweek rests, while Raheem Sterling can also return after being benched at Peterborough.
I’d be tempted to start Gabriel Jesus, purely for the fact that the sight of him will give Raphael Varane nightmares after the Real Madrid home win in 2020. It would be harsh to leave Phil Foden out, but Riyad Mahrez is a big game player and the designated penalty taker, so Foden can come off the bench.
The injuries to Dias and Ake means the defense picks itself for the Manchester derby with Stones and Laporte combining in the middle and Walker coming back in at full-back.
I’d bring Rodri, De Bruyne and Bernardo all back in at midfield, with Fernandinho and Gundogan dropped but Phil Foden moved back up the pitch to the central attacking role.
On the flanks, I would also bring Sterling back, with Grealish unlucky not to make the cut after his very good display in midweek. Mahrez should keep his spot on the right.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.