Manchester United are coming off two solid wins against MLS opponents in pre-season. After defeating Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake over the past few days, the real test begins this Thursday for The Red Devils. And their opponent is no other than Manchester City, one of their biggest rivals.
The derby against the Citizens will also mark the first match for the club in the International Champions’ Cup. There are games against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona on the horizon as well. So United needs to be at the top of their game. Winning against some of the best teams in the world will certainly boost the players’ confidence going forward.
The match against City will be played at NRG Stadium, an NFL venue that hosts the Houston Texans and that holds around 72,000 fans. It is a state-of-the-art facility and it should become a great scenario for one of the biggest matches in the world in recent years.
Manchester City have one of the deepest squads in the Premier League, but it is worth noting that this will be their first game during their preseason tour. As such, we should not expect a very accurate, consistent performance from the Citizens.
Pep Guardiola will likely have a squad close to full strength. However, one player who won’t be involved in their US tour is new signing Bernardo Silva. The former Monaco playmaker has been allowed extra time off following his involvement in the Confederations Cup with Portugal. But the rest of the squad should be available, which means players such as Ederson, Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva will all feature on U.S. soil.
United’s Recent Form
As mentioned above, United have won their first two preseason matches. They defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 5-2, and also registered a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.
Their performance in these two matches were quite decent, although there are several things the team needs to address against tougher opponents. To start, United have yet to keep a clean sheet against two lowly sides. City will pose a bigger challenge, so they must be far more accurate on the defensive side. And while scoring has not been a problem thanks to seven goals in two matches, they must capitalise on their chances better. They wasted lots of opportunities in their last match against Real Salt Lake.
Manchester United’s Predicted Starting XI
Mourinho has rotated the side heavily during the first two matches. However, the Portuguese manager is expected to field a very competitive side this Thursday in Houston, Texas.
The predicted lineup for this game should feature something like this:
- GK: David De Gea
- RB: Antonio Valencia
- CB: Eric Bailly
- CB: Victor Lindelöf
- LB: Matteo Darmian
- CM: Marouane Fellaini
- CM: Ander Herrera
- RW: Henrik Mkhitaryan
- AM: Paul Pogba
- LW: Anthony Martial
- CF: Romelu Lukaku
Kick-off will be on Thursday at 8:30 PM local time, and on July 21, 2:30 AM BST.