Man United vs Man City
The Man United squad has arrived at The Lowry Hotel ahead of the 185th Manchester derby against City at The Etihad Stadium.
Anthony Martial is back in the Manchester United squad for the derby at City on Sunday but there is a doubt over Edinson Cavani’s availability.
Martial, 25, missed the midweek draw with Crystal Palace through injury and has scored two goals in his last 15 games – both of them in the 9-0 evisceration of Southampton. The France international turned up at The Lowry Hotel with the rest of the United squad on Saturday night.
However, Cavani was not spotted when the squad arrived at the city centre hotel three days after he returned from injury at Palace. Cavani was replaced in the 74th minute by Scott McTominay, having spent 17 days out with a muscular injury.
Dean Henderson will make his Manchester derby league debut in the absence of David de Gea, who is in Spain following the birth of his daughter Yanay. Henderson, 23, started against City in the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at Old Trafford in January.
Donny van de Beek, who has not played in three weeks, was not with the United squad again, while Paul Pogba and Juan Mata are also still sidelined.
United trail City by 14 points with 11 Premier League games remaining after three consecutive goalless draws across all competitions. United have not gone four games without scoring since November 1992.
Despite their uninspiring form heading into the final two months of the season, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer predictably put a positive spin on the recent results in his Friday Zoom call.
When you get the results that you get, sometimes you tend to forget about the performances,” Solskjaer explained. “The West Brom game (when United drew 1-1) wasn’t the best quality but we felt there’s improvement to be made on that one.
“The Palace game, if you compare that to last year’s game against Palace (that United won 2-0), not very dissimilar, but we had two or three fantastic moments. Marcus [Rashford] and Anthony [Martial] scored, that was the spark, really, really top class football.
“In the Premier League, when the opposition don’t make mistakes like Palace never did you have to earn the right with the quality and we just lacked a bit of that in the last few games but we still have gone 10 games unbeaten.
“Three weeks or four weeks ago we couldn’t defend, then we were doing really well attacking-wise, that was the narrative anyway. Now the narrative is we can’t score a goal. It’s been a week.
“Not long ago, we played fantastic football against Sociedad, got good goals against Newcastle, Southampton. Sometimes it’s margins. We have had a little step back now, one day extra recovery before the derby, hopefully we get our spark back.
“But, for me, I’m not buying into the narrative we’ve had such a dip in form. Yes, we have not had that margin with us to score the first goal.
“Three 0-0s isn’t us really, that is not what we set out to do, we have defended well but lacked that spark to create chances to score, but I don’t buy the ‘we are out of form’ one.
“At the moment they’re the only team ahead of us, we want to try and claw back points on them and get closer to them. They are going through a fantastic spell at the moment, great form. Twenty-one wins, we’ve had 21 away games in the league unbeaten. So one record is going to be broken, so let’s see which one it is.”
United’s full squad for Man United vs Man City derby
Dean Henderson, Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Shola Shoretire, Amad, Mason Greenwood, Daniel James, Anthony Martial