Manchester derby: Manchester City and Manchester United meet at Etihad Stadium


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Pep Guardiola & Ralf Rangnick look ahead to Manchester derby
Venue: Etihad Stadium Date: Sunday, 6 March Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live. Text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Manchester City host neighbours Manchester United on Sunday in a derby that could have a big bearing on the Premier League title race – as well as the scramble to finish in the top four.

Pep Guardiola’s leaders are three points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool after the Reds’ 1-0 win against West Ham on Saturday.

When asked about the Manchester derby following that game at Anfield, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “of course we are interested in it”.

If City lose on Sunday, Liverpool would have the chance to go top of the Premier League next weekend, when they play on Saturday and their rivals do not play until the Monday.

With 11 games left, United have 47 points – 19 fewer than City’s 66 – and are fourth in the table with a two-point cushion over fifth-placed West Ham, but Arsenal are a place further back and have three games in hand on United.

“We are playing against one of the best teams in the world,” said United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

“In the end it is about controlling the game, not letting them play and have the ball without pressure. That is what they are always looking for.

“We are fully aware of how they want to play. It is about putting them under pressure and taking the ball off them. Some teams have done that over the past few weeks.”

Guardiola said City, who will be without defender Ruben Dias for up to six weeks, need to win “almost all the games” they have left to be champions.

“If we lose this game and win the Premier League, I would sign for that right now,” added the City boss.

“It’s not the cup where you lose and it’s over. We have to try to do what we can, but I don’t look at the table and them [United] being 19 points behind.

“I see them as a good side and that’s all.”

A key moment in the title race?

City are chasing a fourth title in five seasons and were 14 points clear of Liverpool after beating Chelsea on 15 January, although Guardiola’s side had played two games more.

City entertain Liverpool on 10 April, but the only other team in the Premier League’s current top six they have to play is West Ham away on the penultimate weekend of the campaign on 15 May.

While City are chasing success on three fronts – Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – United can only dream of such lofty ambitions right now.

They have not won the league since 2013 and, despite re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo and spending £73m on Jadon Sancho, they are locked in a six-club race – featuring Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves – for the third and fourth Champions League spots after an inconsistent campaign.

They entertain Spurs on 12 March and are at Arsenal on 23 April. In addition, the Red Devils still have to play Chelsea, who currently sit third, on the penultimate weekend of the season.

The Football News Show: Is the Premier League title race back on?

City’s miserable home record against their rivals

For all that City have been Manchester’s dominant force over the past decade, they have not had too much to celebrate when hosting United in recent seasons, with the red half of Manchester winning 11 of their 21 games against the Blues at the stadium they moved to from Maine Road in 2003.

Guardiola’s side have lost their past three league and cup home games against United.

City’s most recent home win over United was November 2018, although they did beat their neighbours at Old Trafford this season.

What’s changed since they last met?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge of United when City cruised to a 2-0 victory in a one-sided game at Old Trafford in November.

Eric Bailly turned Joao Cancelo’s cross into his own net after seven minutes before Bernardo Silva took advantage of awful defending from Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to steal in on another Cancelo cross at the far post.

Solskjaer was critical of his side’s abject performance and said afterwards: “You want to see a better Manchester United than that.

“This was a big step back. Players are human beings. We have to come out against Watford like a proper, hurt animal.”

Solskjaer lasted one more match before he was sacked after a 4-1 defeat at Watford.

United have taken 26 points in Rangnick’s first 13 league games in charge. It would have been more but for frustrating draws against Watford, Southampton, Burnley, Aston Villa and Newcastle.

A fourth successive United win over City at Etihad Stadium, however, will lift the mood for the all-important run-in.

Pick your Manchester derby teams

Choose your Manchester City starting formation and line-up. It’s up to you how to approach it – you could go for the team you WANT the boss to pick or the one you THINK he will.

Choose your Manchester United formation and starting line-up. It’s up to you how to approach it – you could go for the team you WANT the boss to pick or the one you THINK he will.

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