Only three players who started Manchester United's last win at Etihad likely to start under Ten Hag this weekend
Manchester United’s last win at the Etihad Stadium came back in March 2021 and in recent years the Red Devils have a good record when travelling to face Manchester City.
Aside from last season’s 4-1 hammering, which came when Ralf Rangnick was in interim charge, the twenty-time league champions have won three of our last four trips to the noisy neighbours.
With our clash against Leeds United, as well as Crystal Palace, being postponed, Erik ten Hag‘s Reds are five points behind Pep Guardiola’s side with a game in-hand.
Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez may have won all five of the games they have started together this season, but there is arguably no bigger test than facing a City side that have a rampant Erling Haaland leading their line.
Only three players who started Manchester United’s last win at the Etihad are likely to start under Ten Hag
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds beat Guardiola’s City 2-0 in their own backyard in March 2021 thanks to a Bruno Fernandes penalty and a rare Luke Shaw goal.
But despite that win coming just over 18 months ago, there could be as many as nine changes from that side, fitness pending, come Sunday when Ten Hag gets his first taste of the Manchester derby (2 October).
Starting XI in March 2021: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Fernandes, James, Rashford, Martial.
It’s pretty much a nailed on certainty that United will have a complete different back five this time around to the side that last won at the Etihad.
Ten Hag’s current favoured back five is: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia.
Scott McTominay will likely retain his place in the heart of Ten Hag’s midfield alongside the influential and ever improving Christian Eriksen, which means Casemiro’s wait for his first Premier League start may go on.
Daniel James, who was sold to Leeds United last August, is currently on loan at Fulham, and there are question marks surrounding the fitness of both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
The Reds are reportedly optimistic that Rashford will be fit to return from the muscle injury that he suffered against Arsenal at the start of the month.
The same cannot be said about Martial’s return from the Achilles problem that has ruled the Frenchman out since impressing against Liverpool last month, having come on at half-time.
Fernandes is a nailed on starter and if Rashford is fit to return, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the England international restored to the starting line-up in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, with Antony and Jadon Sancho occupying the wing positions.
Potential starting XI on Sunday: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Sancho, Rashford.