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How Manchester United could line up against Manchester City

Harry Maguire has been ruled out of the Manchester derby through injury
Harry Maguire has been ruled out of the Manchester derby through injury

Every season, Manchester United lock horns with their city rivals Manchester City to establish cross-city supremacy. Having previously been known as the 'noisy neighbors,' Manchester City have usurped their neighbors to the honor of being England's best team over the past decade.

Since losing their opening two matches of the 2022-23 season, Manchester United have shown remarkable improvement and have registered four straight wins. They now face the sternest of tests against a Manchester City side boasting Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland. Based on their current form, the Red Devils have the quality to go toe-to-toe with their neighbors, and this raises the stakes in this highly-anticipated derby encounter.

In the 2021-22 season, Manchester City did the double over the Red Devils for the first time since the 2018-19 season. Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was once an assistant to Pep Guardiola (at Bayern Munich) and would be looking to get one over his former boss. The Dutch manager will look to field his strongest side against the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

Without further ado, here is how the Red Devils could line up against Manchester City.


Goalkeeper - David de Gea

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea will certainly keep his place between the sticks for the Red Devils. The Spaniard has been in goal for all of his side's games this season.

De Gea has kept two clean sheets in six league appearances for the Red Devils this season. The 31-year-old is still regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. He will have a big role to play if his side are to emerge from the match with anything.


Right-back - Diogo Dalot

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Having been a spare wheel for most of his Manchester United career, Diogo Dalot has found a new lease of life under new manager Ten Hag. The Portuguese right-back has usurped Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the starting right-back for the Red Devils, featuring in all of their matches thus far.

Dalot is in great form and has been impressive for club and country. During the international break, he scored a brace, his first goal for Portugal in their 4-0 win over the Czech Republic. With the 23-year-old full-back in such good form, he will keep his place in his side's line-up for the derby.


Centre-back - Raphael Varane

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

After a rocky debut season at Old Trafford, French defender Raphael Varane has recovered strongly in his second season with the Red Devils. The veteran defender has been one of the side's standout performers under their new manager.

Varane was left out at the start of the Ten Hag era at the club but regained his place with a string of top-notch performances. The 29-year-old has won all of the matches he has started for club and country so far this season.


Centre-back - Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez in action v Arsenal
Lisandro Martinez in action v Arsenal

Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez has been impressive since following his manager from Amsterdam to Manchester. The 24-year-old central defender has kept captain Harry Maguire on the bench with a string of quality performances.

Initially mocked for his lack of height and imposing physical presence, Martinez has shown elite positioning and reading of the game. The Argentina international will have his hands full when he faces Manchester City's Haaland in the derby.


Left-back - Tyrell Malacia

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

A low-profile signing from Feyenoord over the summer, Tyrell Malacia has proven to be worth a lot more than the modest transfer fee the club spent on him. The Dutchman has displaced Luke Shaw as the club's starting left-back following a series of quality performances.

Malacia was impeccable against Mohamed Salah, one of the world's best wingers, when his side faced Liverpool in August. The 23-year-old will need to be at his best when he faces City's marauding attackers.


Defensive Midfield - Scott McTominay

Southampton FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Southampton FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Since Casemiro arrived at Old Trafford, Scott McTominay has taken his game up a notch and improved greatly. The Scottish midfielder is expected to keep his place in the starting XI after another impressive showing for Scotland during the international break.

McTominay has provided the defensive solidity required to allow the other midfielders in front of him to thrive. The 25-year-old will hope to continue his fine form against Manchester City.


Central Midfield - Christian Eriksen

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Possibly the steal of the summer so far, Christian Eriksen has been pivotal to Manchester United since his free transfer to the club. The Denmark international was crowned the club's 'Player of the Month' for September in recognition of his contribution.

Eriksen's deployment in midfield has seen the side utilize his best abilities and he has thrived for the club. The Danish midfielder is undoubtedly one of the Red Devils' most important players judging by his contributions to the team. His role will be pivotal in the Manchester derby.


Attacking Midfield - Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes in action against Arsenal
Bruno Fernandes in action against Arsenal

SInce arriving in England from Portugal in 2020, Bruno Fernandes has been a key player for Manchester United. The midfielder struggled a bit for form and consistency in the 2021-22 season but that seems to be behind him this season.

WIth captain Harry Maguire hardly getting any minutes, Fernandes has been the team's captain in his absence. The Portuguese midfielder will have an important role to play to help his side overcome their neighbors on Sunday.


Right Winger - Antony

Manchester United v Real Sociedad: Group E - UEFA Europa League
Manchester United v Real Sociedad: Group E - UEFA Europa League

After joining Manchester United, Antony scored on his Premier League debut to help his side win against Arsenal. The Brazilian winger will play only his second league match against Manchester City on Sunday.

Signed for more than £80 million, Antony will have to continue to prove his worth to the club. The 22-year-old provides a good level of dynamism and invention in attack and will be a threat to the champions when the two teams square off.


Left Winger - Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho has shown great improvement this season
Jadon Sancho has shown great improvement this season

Since Ten Hag arrived at Manchester United, one player that seems rejuvenated is Jadon Sancho. Following his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2021, the English winger struggled to make an impact at his new club. Under the Dutch manager, however, Sancho has greatly improved.

After losing twice to his boyhood club in the league last season, Sancho will be eager to pick up his first win against them. The 22-year-old scored for the Red Devils in their 4-1 loss to Manchester City last season at the Etihad.


Striker- Marcus Rashford

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

The Red Devils were boosted by the news of Marcus Rashford returning to training following an injury picked up in the win over Arsenal. If deemed fully fit, he will be a definite starter in this all-important derby clash.

After a nightmare 2021-22 season where he scored five goals in over 30 appearances, Rashford has found his mojo again under Ten Hag, scoring three goals in six games. He has scored crucial goals this season - one against Liverpool and a match-winning brace against Arsenal.

The September 2022 'Premier League Player of the Month' will be raring to go and make his mark in this all-important derby.

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Edited by Shardul Sant
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