Manchester derby on Sky Sports: Who will land the knockout blow?

The two Manchester heavyweights do battle at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, but who will land the knockout blow and save their own season?

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  • Manchester derby: Selection dilemmas
  • When City thrashed United 5-1

City, the once noisy neighbours, welcome United to the Etihad in a Manchester derby where repercussions are unavoidable.

Pep Guardiola’s champions, chasing a third-straight title, sit 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, while United are eight points off the Champions League places.

After wins in midweek, these two are halfway through a 180 turn in fortunes following a testing period. Going back to square one isn’t an option for City, while United are already looking to salvage something from another underwhelming season so far. They could be double digits off their mininum target of top-four by Saturday evening.

Though City have pulled well ahead of United in recent years, the five-mile trip east across Manchester gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an opportunity to further release the weight of pressure on his shoulders, with Old Trafford not exempt from the managerial merry-go-round like it once was. This week had looked like it could be the beginning of the end, but that win over Spurs has allowed Solskjaer room to breathe.

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For United’s fans, there’s more than bragging rights. An away victory would give them back-to-back wins for the first time this season, while also crushing City’s title hopes, though its next direction may be equally as painful to United’s fans. The title they once routinely gripped has seldom felt so far away.

City bounced back from their slump with a thumping victory at Burnley in midweek, but so far they have chased a runaway train in Liverpool. Will it come to a halt? He insists thinking of the title would be crazy, but Guardiola will secretly be confident that slips will come for Jurgen Klopp’s side – they’ve not kept a clean sheet in 12 and seven of their last nine wins have been by a single goal.

But suggestions that Liverpool’s eyes are focused solely on Anfield and not peeping east towards the Etihad are farfetched. A City slip would again add to Liverpool’s already-bulging confidence, and Klopp won’t need reminding that the champions are capable of winning every game for three straight months. They’ll be following.

Victory here could help save one season while ending the other. Will it be the turning point?

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    What the managers are saying…

    Man City boss Pep Guardiola: “It is an important game of course. Good rival, big history, of course it is a
    big game. We play against a good team. We will try to follow the performance we have made in the last games.

    “I have all the respect for what they have done for English football, European football and world football. They will always be United – a good team.”

    Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “At least we play every year now! It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. But it’s changed in a way. Of course Man City are a better team now than when I was playing.

    “I think football has changed quite a lot. I think it was allowed a few more proper tackles – with every little angle, everything being scrutinised now, it’s more of a technical, tactical game than physical and mental one. But, still, a derby should be played as a derby. We don’t play basketball, so we’re ready for that if that happens.”

    Man City-Man Utd combined XI: How many United players make it?

    Do any United players make the Manchester combined XI?

    Sky Sports’ features editor Peter Smith, features writer Nick Wright and senior journalist Gerard Brand came to a consensus on a Manchester XI containing two players from Old Trafford, with Pep Guardiola’s champions dominating.

    Listen to the podcast, read their views, and selector your own XI here

    Selection dilemmas

    Will Fernandinho start in City’s defence again? Walker or Cancelo? Who starts left-back for Man Utd? And Will Mason Greenwood get the nod again?

    We run through the main selection dilemmas facing Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    With City desperate to close the gap on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, and neighbours United trying to save their own season, these conundrums could have a massive impact at the Etihad…

    Charlie Nicholas’ prediction

    Does United’s victory over Spurs signify the turning of a corner under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? We’ve said that so many times, but we’ve been proven wrong on every occasion. City have the fire, the burning desire back in their bellies, we saw that in the victory at Burnley, and it is for that reason why the United revival will be short-lived. It will be a blue day in Manchester.

    CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

    How to watch

    You can watch the game live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event, with our TV build-up kicking-off at 5pm. David Jones will be in the studio with Roy Keane, Joleon Lescott and Jamie Redknapp, with Gary Neville joining Martin Tyler on commentary.

    There is a whole range of options to complement and enhance your viewing experience with Sky Sports – for both subscribers and non-subscribers.

    • Festive Sports offer, £18 extra a month
    • Stream live for a one-off payment of just £9.99

    For non-subscribers, Manchester City vs Manchester United is accessible through a NOW TV pass for £9.99.

    Watch the Manchester Derby live with our Sky Sports Festive offer. Buy the Premier League channel and get another channel free. Offer ends midnight on Thursday 2nd January. Find out more here.

    Sky Premier League subscribers will also be able to tune in to watch the channel’s coverage on Sky Go.

    • iOS users: Download the Sky Sports app from the App Store
    • Android users: Download the Sky Sports app from the Play Store

    You can also follow our live match blog across our digital platforms, where you will be able to watch all the major incidents via our expanded mobile clips service and keep up to date with all the action, including commentary, analysis and team line-ups.

    Also, this season, you can watch Premier League highlights with Sky Sports just after the full-time whistle for free and without being a Sky Sports subscriber.

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    Want to catch-up? Highlights and the best of all the best from before, after and during the game will also be published On Demand.

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    Sky Sports has 8 dedicated channels and subscriptions start from £18 a month. If you’re already a Sky TV customer you can be watching live action in minutes. Plus you can choose a pack without a contract so there is no long term commitment.

    Watch Man City vs Man Utd on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event; Kick-off 5.30pm

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