Manchester United vs. Manchester City: Prediction and Preview

We preview the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Manchester City, including our pre-match prediction for this Manchester derby on Saturday at Old Trafford.

Match Preview

The 188th Manchester derby will take place at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, with Manchester City seeking to close the gap between them and league leaders Arsenal to just two points. Man City has a good chance of winning, as they have defeated Man Utd more times in the Premier League at Old Trafford than any other side (eight wins). A victory in this game will also see them set a record for the most wins against United in the competition since its inception in 1992, overtaking Chelsea and Liverpool’s records. However, Man Utd’s recent head-to-head record against City is poor, with three consecutive defeats in which they’ve conceded 12 goals total. If they lose this game, it will be the first time since November 2014 that they have lost four consecutive Premier League Manchester derbies.

Erik ten Hag is trying to prevent becoming the first Manchester United manager to lose his first two matches against Manchester City since David Moyes in 2013-14. However, his opponent Pep Guardiola has never defeated a Manchester United manager twice in the same league season. Both of his previous league doubles came against different United coaches: José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2018-19, and Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick in 2021-22. This match will also mark a significant milestone for Guardiola, as it will be his 500th top-flight league game as a manager. He has 246 games under his belt in the Premier League with Man City, 152 with Barcelona in La Liga, and 102 in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. To date, Guardiola has won 379 of his 499 top-flight league games as a manager (76%), the most wins and the best win ratio of any manager to have taken charge of at least 100 games across the big five European leagues since his first campaign in 2008-09 at Barcelona.

Previous Meeting

The Manchester derby on October 2, 2022, was a match to remember, with a final score of 6-3 in favor of Manchester City. This was the highest-scoring competitive Manchester derby match ever, with a total of nine goals. This was also the first time that Manchester City scored six goals in a home game against Manchester United in all competitions. Manchester United conceded six goals in a Premier League match for just the fourth time and the second time against Manchester City. The game also saw two hat-tricks, one from Erling Haaland and one from Phil Foden, making Manchester City the third team to have two hat-trick scorers in the same Premier League match. Haaland also became the first player to score a hat-trick in three successive Premier League home matches for Manchester City.

If Manchester City wins this match, it will be the sixth time that they have achieved a home and away win against Manchester United in the Premier League. This would be a new record for the most Premier League ‘doubles’ over Manchester United since the introduction of the competition in 1992, surpassing Liverpool’s current record of five. With City having already scored six goals against United in the previous Premier League meeting, they could potentially break more records by scoring at least three goals in this match. This would break their own club record for most league goals scored against Manchester United in a single season, which is currently eight in 1954-55, and also equal the Premier League record for most goals scored in a single season against Manchester United, which is currently held by Liverpool with nine in 2021-22. Anthony Martial, who came off the bench as a substitute in the 6-3 defeat, scored two of United’s goals. He has scored five goals against Manchester City in the Premier League, his joint-record tally against a single club in the competition.

Recent Form

Manchester United enter this derby in great form. Since and including their win over Liverpool on 22 August, no team has won more points in the Premier League than Manchester United (35). They have won 11 of their 15 games in this time (D2 L2), which is a drastic change of fortune considering they’d lost their four league games before this.

In all competitions, United are on an eight-match winning streak, which is their best run since January 2019 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first eight games in charge of the club (as caretaker, at that time). They haven’t won nine in a row since January 2017 under José Mourinho. The eight teams that United have defeated in this run – Aston Villa, Fulham, Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Bournemouth, Everton, and Charlton – aren’t quite of the caliber of Manchester City, however.

Erik ten Hag’s side has kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League. The Red Devils haven’t kept four in a row since March 2021, but the last time that they kept four clean sheets and won every game was back in August 2017.

Ten Hag is on his second sequence of four successive Premier League wins as Manchester United boss, having also done so between August and September earlier this season. Ralf Rangnick never managed a four-game winning run in league competition as Man Utd boss, with their last winning run as long as this coming in April 2021 (five in a row) under Solskjær.

With 19 points from 21 available in their last seven Premier League matches at Old Trafford (W6 D1 L0), Man Utd enter this derby with their best home league form over a seven-game period since November 2017 (21/21 points).

Should Manchester City lose this match, they’ll already have equaled their tally of Premier League defeats from last season (three). They have dropped eight points in their last eight Premier League games (W5 D1 L2) – as many as they had given up in their previous 16 league matches before this run (W13 D3 L0).

Man Utd has scored in each of their last eight league matches, which is the best current run of any team in the 2022-23 Premier League. They last failed to score in their 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle United on 16 October and have since scored 14 times in their eight league games, while conceding just five.

The early Saturday lunchtime kick-off slot (12.30 pm GMT) often springs surprise results, and Manchester City’s last such fixture was no different. Before the 2022 World Cup, they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Brentford thanks to an Ivan Toney brace on the early Saturday timeslot, but before this game, they did win their last nine consecutive 12:30 pm Saturday fixtures.

This will be United’s third match in this specific timeslot on a matchday this season in the Premier League – the previous two have ended with 1-0 wins, against Southampton and Wolves respectively.

Players to Watch

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford

In the upcoming Manchester City vs Manchester United match, Marcus Rashford poses the most significant threat to City’s defense. He has scored in each of his last six appearances for United, including a brace in a recent League Cup match against Charlton Athletic. This is the best scoring streak of Rashford’s career with United, with a total of seven goals in six games across all competitions.

Marcus Rashford Goals 2022-23

In the 2022-23 season, Rashford has already contributed to 18 goals (15 for Man Utd and 3 for England), surpassing his total from the previous season (5) and nearing his personal best in a season (25 in 2019-20). This season, he is averaging a career-best 123 minutes per goal for Man Utd and has converted a higher percentage of his shots than in any other season (21.4%). He has also been involved in 20 goals in all competitions for Man Utd (15 goals and 5 assists), more than any other player on the team. Although he has scored in his last 3 Premier League appearances for Man Utd, he has not scored in any of his last 5 appearances against Man City in the competition.

Manchester City: Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland may be an obvious choice, but it’s hard to overlook a player who has already scored 27 goals in 23 competitive appearances for Manchester City this season. This is seven more than any other player in the top five European leagues, with the closest being Kylian Mbappé of PSG. Haaland has scored 21 of his goals in the Premier League, in just 16 appearances, and has only failed to score in 4 of those appearances. He is averaging a goal every 62 minutes in the competition and is the next best in the all-time ranking for minutes per goal, next to Sergio Agüero who are 108 minutes. Haaland has a chance of breaking the Premier League’s single-season scoring record (34 goals) and the all-time record for a Premier League player across all competitions in a season (44 goals) currently held by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mohamed Salah. He has already scored three goals against Man Utd this season, he and Phil Foden could become the first Man City player to score in both Premier League meetings against the Red Devils within a single season since Agüero in 2014-15, but no player has ever scored two or more goals in both Premier League meetings within a campaign.

In the October 6-3 win against Manchester United, Erling Haaland gave a tough time to the defenders Lisandro Martínez and Raphaël Varane, with Manchester United’s captain Harry Maguire being injured. It’s unlikely that Maguire will return to the starting lineup for this game, as he is currently out of favor at United. Though Haaland is dangerous on his own, with the creative support from players like Kevin De Bruyne, he becomes even more formidable. De Bruyne is currently the leading assist maker (9) and chance creator (59) in the Premier League in 2022-23.

Manchester United vs. Manchester City Prediction

Our prediction model favors Manchester City in this match. It gives them a 54.3% chance of defeating Manchester United at Old Trafford for the ninth time in the Premier League, and a record-breaking 19th time at any venue in the competition. The model predicts a draw (25.5%) as more likely than a Manchester United home victory (20.2%). It believes that Manchester United’s three-game winning league streak will come to an end on Saturday. Among all Premier League matches this weekend, only Leicester City (54.5% at Nottingham Forest) has a higher chance of getting an away win than Manchester City.

The supercomputer predicts a high likelihood of Manchester City winning the Premier League title this season (72.3%), based on their past success. Manchester United also has a strong chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League (68.15%), coming in third behind City and Arsenal and ahead of Liverpool, Newcastle, and Tottenham.

Source: OptaAnalyst

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