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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Simon Bajkowski & Joe Bray & Tyrone Marshall

How Man City should line up vs Manchester United in Premier League derby

Pep Guardiola will be looking for a response from his Manchester City players after their dismal Carabao Cup exit at Southampton in midweek, when they take on Manchester United in the derby this lunchtime.

With a quick turnaround between full-time at St Mary's and kick-off at Old Trafford, Guardiola will likely make a number of changes to his team - especially after leaving many of his more senior options on the bench for the 2-0 defeat at Southampton.

Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Rodri, Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji were all called upon to try and salvage City's Carabao Cup campaign, while Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Riyad Mahrez were all unused substitutes. Guardiola must also decide whether to stick with Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden after unconvincing outings on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: City suffer major injury blow ahead of Man United clash

John Stones missed the Southampton trip as he was not fully fit, and will miss the derby in a blow to City's preparations. Ruben Dias remains out with a hamstring injury, but is nearing a return to training and could be back available next week.

Read how our writers think City should line up at Old Trafford, and use the interactive team selector below to pick your own starting XI:

Simon Bajkowski

Rico Lewis arguably deserves to start the derby as the most in-form of City's full-backs, yet it still feels like Kyle Walker is the best option at right-back for a big game. Walker showed in the FA Cup win over Chelsea how good he can be and will have more knowledge than most of how to handle Marcus Rashford, for example.

Lewis could be a shout on the left although it feels like Pep Guardiola is most comfortable with three centre-backs in his team at the minute. Nathan Ake has barely put a foot wrong and there can be no complaints if he gets the nod.

Guardiola has often gone with all three of his No.8s for these type of matches, although I'd like to see a bit more intent in the forward play - especially with United's issues at right-back. Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne can come into the middle ahead of Rodri.

Riyad Mahrez is in form on the wing, Erling Haaland is an automatic pick and Phil Foden vs Jack Grealish depends on how Guardiola wants to play. With memories of the last derby, I'd stick Foden in.

Pick your best team here:

Tyrone Marshall

Aside from Stones and Dias the City squad seems to have a clean bill of health and there can't be many selection decisions keeping Guardiola awake. If the game at Southampton was an opportunity for some fringe players, it was one they didn't take.

Ederson will be back in goal anyway but Ortega was caught out for the second. Ake deserves to play at left-back on recent form and Akanji and Laporte will partner each other at centre-back. That leaves right-back, where Walker played 45 minutes at Southampton. Neither he nor Cancelo have played well recently and Lewis deserves to start what would be a huge game for him. As Guardiola said recently, he makes everyone else better.

Phillips is clearly not ready for a game of this magnitude, to Rodri will return. De Bruyne is another certainly in midfield and Guardiola likes Bernardo in the big games. His energy could help City press Casemiro and stop United from progressing the ball forward.

Haaland will play through the middle and Mahrez is fresh and in form, so can start on the right. That just leaves the left and Grealish has done more than Foden of late to get the nod.

Joe Bray

Most of this team picks itself - mainly because there are five or six players who were so bad at Southampton they shouldn't be anywhere near the starting XI at Old Trafford. Ederson will come back in goal, Sergio Gomez will be lucky to be on the bench after his shocker at St Mary's and Cole Palmer's two-game run of starts will surely also come to an end. City were far better for bringing on Nathan Ake and Manu Akanji in the second half, and those two should join Aymeric Laporte in the side to face United.

Of City's full-backs, Ake is the most in-form option on the left ahead of the inconsistent Joao Cancelo, and I'd be tempted to start Rico Lewis in the biggest game of his youthful career so far. Kyle Walker looked off the pace at Southampton, albeit at centre-back, and City's best performances in recent weeks have been with Lewis in the side.

Rodri will replace Kalvin Phillips, and Kevin De Bruyne should also come back. With United finally assembling a midfield that will put up a fight, I can see Guardiola going with Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in the side, with Bernardo drifting out wide. Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland should complete the side.


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