The rivalry between both clubs has never been so intense, as United once considered City their noisy neighbours – but the tables have turned over the last few years, with City enjoying far more domestic success.
City come into the game unbeaten in the league with nine wins and two draws from their 11 games. They are the leagues tops scorers and have the best defensive record in the Premier League, having conceded just four times.
United sit down in seventh-place having endured a mixed Premier League season. They have won six of their opening 11 games but have lost on three occasions to leave manager, Jose Mourinho, under constant scrutiny.
Team news – Manchester City
If City can come through their midweek UEFA Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk unscathed, they will once again have a very strong squad to choose from.
However, they will be without one of their most influential player’s, Kevin De Bruyne, who suffered knee ligament damage in training and is out for around 6-weeks. Both Nicolas Otamendi and Ikay Gundogan are suffering with muscle injury’s and face a fitness race to make themselves available for the weekend.
Pep Guardiola wasn’t totally satisfied with City’s latest 6-1 demolition of Southampton, insisting there were still areas of their game they need to improve on. However, with Sergio Aguero looking to add to his tally of seven goals from 11 games, and the in-form Raheem Sterling leading the goal threat for the home side, City can cause United all sorts of problems at the back.
United are also in UEFA Champions League action in the week as they travel to face a stern test at Serie A leaders, Juventus. United suffered a blow on the eve of that game with forward, Romelu Lukaku, named unlikely to be fit to face the Italians, which surely rules him out of the Manchester derby too.
Marouane Fellaini and Antoni Valencia have been recent absentees for United, but have a chance of being fit to face City. Team selection will depend a lot on how Jose Mourinho wants to approach this game. It seems certain that Nemanja Matic will be given the responsibility to stifle the City midfield, but will there be spots for luxury players, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez?
After Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the late winning goal at Bournemouth last weekend, will he get the nod to start at the Etihad?
Head to head
Sunday’s game will mark the 177th meeting in all competitions between these two Manchester rivals, including when the teams were formerly known as Ardwick (Man City) and Newton Heath (Man Utd).
United have held the upper hand in Manchester, beating the Blue side 73 times compared to City’s 51 wins. There have also been 52 draws since their first game back in 1891.
The last 10 games between the sides has resulted in four wins for City, four wins for United and two draws. Last season’s results couldn’t separate them either, as each team won the respective away fixture. City won 2-1 at Old Trafford, before United took revenge with a 3-2 success at the Etihad Stadium.
Prediction and betting tips
With the form both sides are currently in it is hard to see past a home win; throw into the mix the head to head record between the two managers, and City look even more appealing. Guardiola has certainly had the upper hand over Mourinho, especially during their days at Barcelona and Real Madrid.
City have won four of their last five Premier League games, scoring 14 goals and conceding just once in the process. The only game during that run they failed to win was a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
United have lost just once in their last five games, a 3-1 defeat at West Ham, and they gained a 2-2 draw at Chelsea. They have won three times, but have made hard work of beating Everton, Newcastle and Bournemouth, each by a single goal.
David de Gea could be a busy man on Sunday and we see him conceding more than once. It would be no surprise to see City win comfortably, maybe even 3-0.
United’s main threat might be from set-pieces and they could even take a surprise early lead. United to score first and City to win also has appeal.