Last season United won the corresponding fixture 4-2, taking a crucial step towards securing a top four finish and securing their first league win at Old Trafford against their local rivals since 2011.
United have seldom impressed this season but arrive into tomorrow’s game having conceded just one goal at home in the league so far and last week’s impressive win at Goodison Park atoned for the shambolic defeat they suffered at the Emirates two weeks earlier.
While it is obviously too early in the season to expect any result to be crucial for the remainder of the campaign, a win for United tomorrow could see a slight shift in TonyBet Premier League betting odds, which have so far seen City installed as firm favourites to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
Three points would not make United favourites for the title but would offer further proof Louis Van Gaal’s men are on the right track in their development from also rans to genuine title challengers.
The Dutchman has a good record against the other top five sides in the league, having lost only three of the 10 games he’s managed against City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool so far and should United secure at least a point tomorrow, it would be the first time they’ve remained unbeaten in the first five home league games of the season since the 2010-11 season.
Recent form in all-Mancunian affairs, however, is against them as City have won six of the last eight derbies and United have not won successive derbies in the Premier League since 2010 and have not kept a clean sheet against their local rivals at Old Trafford since 2009.
If keeping a side that has scored 18 goals in the last three Premier League games at bay is going to prove difficult, United can at least find solace in the knowledge that they’ve won every single derby at home in which they’ve scored more than one goal since March 1986.
Anthony Martial has proved a real coup for United since arriving from Monaco on deadline day but the onus to deliver will once fall on Wayne Rooney, who must put a dismal start to the season behind him.
Rooney, who turned 30 on Saturday, has scored more goals than anyone else in this fixture and a goal on Sunday would see him scoring in consecutive league games for the first time since November 2014.
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