Old Trafford comes alive this Sunday afternoon as Manchester United host rivals and noisy neighbours Manchester City in a Premier League Manchester derby as home fans will be desperate for a United win.
Both teams enter the highly-anticipated battle after Champions League victories, as the Red Devils sunk Copenhagen 1-0, while the reigning European champions overcame BSC Young Boys 3-1.
This fixture will be Man United’s first home fixture since the death of the legendary 1966 World Cup winner, Sir Bobby Charlton, who died at age 86, whose passing and legacy will also be marked by moments of remembrance across the country this weekend.
The Red Devils go into the match with City on the back of three straight wins in all competitions, and could be a motivation for them.
Speaking during his post-match conference, Man United manager Erik ten Hag has demanded focus and connectivity from his boys, noting the eyes of the world will be on them in Sunday’s Old Trafford derby.
“It’s a huge match because it’s Manchester, but it’s also about world football. All eyes will be on this game globally,” Ten Hag said in his post-match press conference.
“They are six points ahead of us, and we must catch up. We know we have to progress the team and make developments. It has to do with the cooperation, the movement around it, and we have to work on that.”
United have won their last three games but have struggled since the start of the new season.
“This is a hard team to beat. They find a way to win. We’re going in the right direction, “Ten Hag added.
“We have a way to go. I see positives, and I also see negatives. We are not consistently in possession on the level we can be, where we show what we can be like Arsenal away or Bayern Munich in the first 20 minutes away.
“It’s cooperation, and that has to click.
Man City go into the derby six places and six points above Ten Hag’s United side and have won their last two Premier League games, as well as a dramatic win over Copenhagen in the Champions League in midweek.
But Pep Guardiola says it’s too early to know who the title contender is, adding that United are always also title contenders.
“It’s too early. All the teams are there, and the teams behind can be there,” he added.
“When you play just nine games, many things will happen. We were behind by a few points in February and March, and then we were able to win.
“I want to see how our mentality is on Sunday in Old Trafford. We have won a lot, and it’s about something other than if we win now, what will happen. It’s not about that. I want to see the right mentality to play for these points.”
Guardiola will be without Manuel Akanji as he serves a one-match suspension following a late red card in the 2-1 victory over Brighton last weekend.
City returned to winning after two consecutive defeats, but dropping more points could prove costly to their premier League title defence, considering the new form of Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.
According to a supercomputer, Manchester City have a 47.7 per cent chance of winning the Manchester derby on Sunday, while United, who have lost twice at home this term, have only been given a 25.6 per cent chance of winning.