Manchester United are preparing for the Manchester derby this weekend aiming to make it two big wins in a row.
United are coming off a 2-1 win over Tottenham and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to decide whether anything needs changing.
The first dilemma will be fitness related. Has anybody picked up a knock? Is everybody at 100 per cent?
If all the players who started against City are fit, then Solskjaer will be tempted to start the same team.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba both face uphill fitness battles to make the game.
Even in the event both of them are passed fit, Solskjaer should not rush either player into the starting line up.
Mason Greenwood did well against Tottenham without being spectacular, but he led the line effectively and helped Marcus Rashford flourish. United should not look to disrupt that.
Martial has a chance. Solskjaer told this morning’s press conference: “We hope to have Anthony, definitely, for part of the game. I am not sure he is able to start.”
Jesse Lingard created four chances against City and deserves to keep his place. If Pogba is available, it is his place who should be under threat rather than Fred or Scott McTominay.
It doesn’t look too likely he will be back. Solskjaer said: “Paul probably won’t be available, no. We expect him back as soon as possible, as quickly as possible. He’s out on the grass training. I said [he’ll be back] in 2019, so hopefully we’ll see him before the new year, definitely.”
Ashley Young was a surprise selection at left-back in midweek ahead of Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw.
Shaw came off the bench in a surprise left-wing role for the final six minutes. Solskjaer is clearly trying to work him back in.
Away at City is a tough match to throw him back into, but it is more tempting to put local lad Brandon Williams in for the derby.
Solskjaer clearly likes Young’s big game experience and it is probable he leans in his direction again, rather than looking to disrupt a winning team.
Young was guilty of ball watching for Tottenham’s goal, but aside from that moment of Dele Alli brilliance, he had a solid enough game. Manchester City will be a tougher proposition of course.
It is a rare occurrence for Solskjaer to go with the same team for two games in a row, but its possible this weekend.
United will likely pick the same starting XI again in the hope it will lead to the same result.
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