Manchester United had hoped to have Wout Weghorst registered in time to face Man City today, but he&aposll have to watch from the stands as his new teammates go in search of a famous derby win.
Erik ten Hag is also sweating on the fitness of Anthony Martial ahead of the match, meaning United could well be without a recognised striker for the match.
It means Marcus Rashford could well be repurposed through the middle for the derby, though Anthony Elanga has been trialled there in recent matches, seemingly in anticipation of such a dilemma.
Another option would be for United to change tactics and deploy a false nine. Utilising either Bruno Fernandes or Christian Eriksen in the role could then accommodate the energy of Fred in midfield, giving greater balance to the team.
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United&aposs world-class duo will relish test
The best players relish the biggest tests, and United&aposs hopes today could well rely on the performances of the world-class duo who sit at the spine of the team.
Casemiro has bossed the best midfield in world football at Real Madrid and will be looking to score another victory over Man City, as will his long-term teammate Raphael Varane.
United have only conceded one goal when the duo has both been on the pitch together all season, and it was telling that the previous derby defeat escalated following injury to Varane in the first-half. In the half an hour that Casemiro played, the teams scored two goals apiece.
With them on the pitch, United stand a great chance of getting a result and the duo will be relishing the opportunity to test themselves against the very best. For Casemiro that means trying to pin down a magical midfield containing Kevin de Bruyne and for Varane he will need to try and find a way to contain the super human Erling Haaland.
Bring it on.
The team in form
United won&apost be able to finish the day above City even if they win, even though they head into the match as the in-form side and should arguably be favourites for the three points.
It is easy to point towards the most recent results as a reason to back United for the victory today, but in fact, they have been steadily going about their business since the very start of the season.
Since United&aposs win over Liverpool, no team has won more points in the Premier League than United (35), winning 11 of their 15 games during this time (D2 L2).
Ten Hag might soon need to admit that his side is still in this title race.
Rashford&aposs derby daze
Rashford heads into the derby as one of the most in-form players in world football, and all eyes will be on him to continue his remarkable run.
The England international has scored in his last three Premier League appearances, and it has been four years this month since he managed to score in three consecutive league games. In doing so, he has also become the first player since Wayne Rooney to score in eight consecutive home matches.
However, despite the rejuvenated run, he hasnt scored in any of his last five appearances against Man City in the competition, managing just one shot on target in these games.
A wildcard on the bench
The last time United faced City, Facundo Pellistri made a matchday squad for the first time under Erik ten Hag, and few would have expected him to have only just made his competitive debut by now.
Pellistri has had to wait a long time to finally get a chance in a United shirt, but wasted no time of his own when he came off the bench in midweek.