Manchester City vs Manchester United has always been an intense fixture, where both teams, irrespective of where they stand on the table, go for three points. The upcoming Manchester Derby on Thursday assumes greater significance for a number of reasons, more importantly with City and United both in the race for top four.
Besides that, there is this Jose Mourinho and Pepe Guardiola rivalry. It lends a different meaning to a derby. Both the managers are in their first season as United and City managers respectively, and they were touted as titles favourites before the season started. But, with United and City not being consistent, they are now fighting for the Champions League spot.
With six games left to play for both City and United, just one point separates the two teams in the table with the former in fourth place, while the other being fifth. A win for City means that Guardiola's team will jump to third place and if they lose, United will swap places with City, and be tied on points with Liverpool.
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Manchester United, for sure, are not going to at their full strength, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba unavailable. For City, they have no such fears, with Sergio Aguero, who was slightly injured in the last game, set to feature, and bolster their forward line.
United come into this game with some impressive wins under their belt, winning three matches on a trot in all competitions, including a win against Chelsea.
They will miss Ibrahimovic, who has been instrumental this season with his goals. Hence, the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard will have to do it themselves, and bring that smile on Mourinho's face. He always cherishes a victory against Guardiola, such has been their rivalry from the La Liga days.
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Well, City will have some major plans against United. The home team are aware of United playing some good football, and with Mourinho the tactician, he, most of the times, gets his strategies right. The problem for City this season has been their lack of consistency. They have been breathtakingly amazing at times, but also been poor.
Against United, they have to be at their best. City players need to grace the occasion, and give their fans a major reason to rejoice. Winning against United always gives joy to their fans. For that to happen, City will need their big guns to fire, including Aguero, who can win matches on his own too.
However, they will also need the defensive stability at the back from Vincent Kompany and John Stones.
The match, with so many things on the line, could prove to be a feisty encounter filled with tackles, some touch-line action between the two managers and so on. It could be a fantastic game of football for neutrals.
Where to watch EPL match live
Manchester City vs Manchester United is set to begin at 8 pm BST (12.30am IST). TV and live streaming information is below.
India: TV: Star Sports Select HD1. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
UK: SKY SPorts 1/HD.
USA: TV: NBCSN, Telemundo. Live Streaming: NBC Sports Live.
Australia: TV: Optus Sport. Live Streaming: Optus Online.
Canada: TV: Sportsnet World. Live Streaming: Watch Sportsnet.
Middle East, Thailand: TV: Bein Sports Arabia. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.