First Team Match Day News

Manchester United vs Manchester City: United's Starting XI?

The reds face neighbours Manchester City tomorrow night in a derby game in which restoring some pride back to Old Trafford is very much the essence for United. Moyes’s side will be looking for pay back after the 4-1 battering across the city earlier in the season and go into the game after back to back wins following the impressive performance in East London on Saturday.

The players defiantly missing  for tomorrow’s derby are Jonny Evans with a calf injury, Chris Smalling due to a hamstring injury and Robin Van persie due to his long term knee injury. Club captain Nemanja Vidic will also be unavailable again due to the red card he received in the Liverpool game. With this all taken into consideration, this is how David Moyes may set his team up to take to the field tomorrow:


David De Gea must be the first name on the team sheet at the moment. After that mistake against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final his form has been outstanding. He goes into the game with two back to back clean sheets.


The little Brazilian Rafael will keep his place at right back after a solid performance in the capital on Saturday and due to United lacking any other real options. Also, expect Phil Jones to retain his place at centre back with Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand slotting back into the side after being rested against West Ham on Sunday. Both Carrick and Alexander Buttner did admirable jobs on the weekend, but in no disrespect to West ham, Manchester City are a different ball game.


Marouane Fellaini put in his best display yet in a red shirt against the hammers and as a result should keep his place in United’s starting eleven. Michael Carrick is likely to come back into his favoured position after helping aid United’s back line on Saturday. Moyes will then more than likely be looking for both pace and work rate on the flanks in order to help out United’s full backs. This should see a return to the side for Antonio Valencia after missing out in the capital with an eye injury, and Danny Welbeck could more than likely get the nod on the left hand side after being used only as a late substitute on Saturday. Then of course we have United’s record signing Juan Mata. He linked up expertly with Wayne Rooney on Saturday when playing in the hole behind the Englishman and you can more than likely expect a similar role for him tomorrow night.


Due to City’s strength in midfield, Wayne Rooney may well have to play up the top on his own tomorrow night. Despite this however, Juan Mata may be given the freedom to roam in behind him tomorrow and if Danny Welbeck starts he may often look to get alongside Rooney whenever the chance presents itself. Also, it would be no surprise if Welbeck and Rooney swapped roles throughout the evening.


Predicted Starting XI

De Gea;

Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra;

Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Welbeck;



Who do you think with be in United’s starting XI for tomorrow’s derby? Comment in the section below.

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33 replies on “Manchester United vs Manchester City: United's Starting XI?”

City could and should annihilate the long ball garbage, maybe Man Hoof can fluke a draw or if the ref plays well enough for you perhaps even nick the ‘win’.

what is this,where is kagawa? de gea,rafael,rio,jones,evra,carrick,fellani,valencia,mata,kagawa,rooney. we will posses the ball like we did against westam united.

Internet is full of stupid people.
City are completely different for Long Ball Hammers.
Mata is better than Kagawa and we will need both muscle and speed against City.

Kagawa everytime United have played well this year kagawa has moved the team from playing in the middle……… with Mata and Rooney upfront…….then choose valencia or Wellbeck

Although it won’t happen in most circumstances, I would love to see Kagawa and Mata start behind Rooney with the likes of even nani or Valencia & Fellaini & Carrick as usual

kagawa and mata makes me enjoy the game against westam.they interchange position,moyes this two will help united to succeed,they make the game looks easy.

I just wish us success,I really want us to beat city no matter what,so that our players will be happy and play well against bayern(united family) I just can’t do without man united.

De gea, Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Fletcher, Kagawa, Mata and Rooney it could be better.

i think i dont need to say any more about kagwa lol… but honestly people… am i the only one that genuinely thought our midfield looked soooo omuch more together without carrick in there????

its not even just about making sure kagawa is on the pitch, but most importantly ensuring carrick isnt!

i would like to see

de gea
rafael jones vidic buttner
valencia mata kagawa welbeck

and swap mata for giggs vs munich

this equals better width, better defensive support, more speed in counter attack but most importantly better ability to hold possession, more focus on the mata kagawa rooney link up play and the ability to really keep the ball!!!

Again Internet is full of stupid people. You dumb idiot Kagawa and Mata are attacking midfielders who are very bad at defending. You will let Fellaini deal with Yaya and Fernandinho when City counter attack along with Silva who drifts in all the time. You live in your own dream world don’t you?…

valencia and welbeck = the extra defensive support, with better counter attacking abilities…. by having this, kagawa cutting in reduces the level of left wing exposure. valencia & welbeck the fixed width and regular support, with mata kagawa and rooney higher up, city would definitely reduce how many they comit. so no… not in a dream world.

kagawa and mata roam… this can effectively mould to 4-3-2-1

the combination i have been screaming for since we signed mata!!! just imagine if moyes had the guts to play them together sooner!!

still believe add RVP to the mix and at that point we have such a strong attack and ability to hold possession, who would dare over comit! hence making defensive duties far more relaxed

Don’t have any confidence at all that Moyes will show some bottle and play his best players. He’s too cautious and I’d be surprised (though pleased) if he started with Kagawa.

The kinds of formations people have posted on this article are hilarious. Vidic is suspended for the game, Navas will tear Büttner inside out if he starts. Look at this dude who’s put up a 4-1-4-1 formation with Fellaini as only CDM. Who’s going to contain Yaya and Fernandinho genius?
De Gea
Rafael Rio Jones Evra
Carrick Fellaini
Valencia Mata Welbeck

Kagawa in for Valencia
Fletcher for Carrick

Thought they had a decent game against the Hammers,Mata,Kagawa and Felaini were finding each other alot more through middle.Bet Moyes probablty wont play Kagawa because he is a bit frail,a good player though.Think he should try to stick with that setup and see if it can work again.Fed up with criticizing Moyes,should all have been sorted by now.Well only time will tell.

Carrick showed in the west ham game how important it is to have a ball playing centre back. Too often our cbs look for the long ball or give it to Carrick for him to pass. He could be an option at cb but agree city pose a different threat than west ham. It is that reason also his positional play will be needed in cm. Great player

I’d rather Moyes is not too cautious and goes with ball playing players with opportunistic wing play rather than using wing play has the main tactic. With Kompany back, United have no hope in dominating the air in city’s defence if we just cross the ball or overuse wing play.

So my preference will be:

De Gea

Rafael Carrick Jones Evra
Fellaini Cleverley
Kagawa Mata Welbeck

With Aguero out injured, I believe Jones and Carrick should be able to cover Negredo and/or Dzeko. Carrick’s great game reading skill should help with anticipating play that Nasri/Silva like to do. Playing Kagawa and Mata together should bring out the best in each other. That should also help Cleverley who also likes the short-passing-keep-ball-moving game that Kagawa and Mata favour. Welbeck should help with stretching play by running in behind defenders like he did against Olympiakos thereby drawing defenders to help Rooney find more spaces to explore.

Playing Kagawa and Mata should help overload the CM area where Silva/Nasri/Toure like to play so hopefully we neutralise them a bit.

When we recover the ball, Carrick’s great short and long passing game should help launch quick counter-attacks with Welbeck and Rooney.

Nani and Valencia can be introduced later in the game for fresh legs and to keep the momentum/pressure going.

The most important thing Moyes should not do is show City too much respect. Hopefully Giggs reminds Moyes we are the defending champions and this is Old Trafford!!!

My linecup – De Gea, Evra, Jones, Smalling, Raphael, Januzaj(LW), Fellaini(CM), Carrick(CM), Kagawa (RM), Mata (behind Rooney), Rooney.

A 4-4-1-1 Formation, Mata with a free role

De Gea
Raheal Jones (Any other fit centre back) Evra
Valencia Fellaini Carrick Mata

We need someone who will run behind their defensive and stretch the game Valencia and Welbeck will give us pace…Coming to the ball will make it easy for City (Just as it was for Liverpool) Mata, Rooney, Kagawa too similar to each other all to an extent lack pace.

In my opinion Valencia and Welbeck are a must for this game, rotate Rooney, Welbeck and Mata during the game…

Fellaini has been playing better since his been back, his the only player we got who can match Yaya’s physicality. Just hope he turns up!!!

ps 4-1-4-1 formation is asking for a whooping, City play in between the lines, we must nulify that space not vacate it for Silva and Nasri!

I think strong midfield is the key so my pick would be:

de Gea
Rafael Ferdinand Jones Evra
Fellaini Carrick Fletcher
Mata Kagawa

X-mas tree formation where the fullbacks are basically our wingers. Mata ja Kagawa free roles.

disgraceful….. no structure…. sooo many defenders…. but no defending…. soo much running and long balls…. but no major attacks…. what a waste or 90 minutes.

all the good points from the west ham game… short range pass and move, trying to work as a unit…. well moyes decided not to build on any of that.

long balls… defenders push up and blast crosses into the crowd…. and where the heck was carricks defensive support???? he looked like he would break if he got anywhere near them. that yaya goal… carrick stood and watch him the whole time standing 5 feet away from him. yaya should never have had that space!!!

fellaini was lost, he had to push up and support attack, which meant it was down to carrick and cleverley to defend, neither of them stepped up to do so, and so mata waste dhis energy hunting down city players! rio looked like he didnt know what a football was half the time and jones forgot what colour shirt utd wore.

kagwa on was a positive move for attack, but failed to address the lack of defensive cover!

i have always been the first to agree mata and kagawa should not be relied upon for defensive support, which is why i explicitly stated valencia needed to start. welbeck should have been made aware his job is to cover the left wing, he can find decent passes and run at defenders excellently.

but moyes clearly has no idea how to give roles to his men! nobody looked like they new what to do, and city looked like they were running training drills.

vs bayern
de gea
rafael smalling jones buttner
valencia giggs kagawa welbeck

defensive cover and tactical attacking play. if we want to start winning, carrick should only feature as CB cover… nowhere in the midfield. kagawa giggs rooney will offer exciting attacking play

Is Kagawa still the answer to our problems? Was late back to my seat after half time, took me 10 minutes just to realise he was on the pitch!

It worked against West Ham because their form of attack is to hit it long, City are a passing team. Your theory has always been play one defensive midfielder…we did that yesterday and got done silly. Last night we played a diamond formation with Carrick the base, Mata on Left, Clev on right and Fellaini on the top…Kagawa came on and effectively played the same role as Giggs played in Olympiakos game- narrow midfilelder of diamond.

after the game I heard the comments Neville made for Sky Sport, he said no Utd players played a risky ball, no passes forward, no-one hit a long one and asked Welbeck to use the pace his got to burn. So your theory of short passes won’t hurt any top team coz all your doing is playing in front of them, Won’t hurt anyone coz all they will to do is compress the space btw defence and midfield.

Play that formation against Bayern and it WILL be embarassing, playing 2 advanced midfielders doesn’t compensate for a defensive midfielder, yesterday Mata tried to tackle Yaya. Yaya shrugged him off as if he wasn’t even there, thats exactly what will and does happen with Kagawa. Kagawa and Mata cannot defend it’s as simple as that!

PS our 2 best chances came from crosses- Rafael to Mata, when he blazed over

Valencia to Welbeck when he backheeled it onto Hart

MOYES BIGGEST PROBLEM (as pointed out by G.Nev) Trying to change utd’s DNA. we have always been a team that plays with wide wingers, all this short passing trying to go through the middle of a team is not the Utd and has not worked!

The starting line up in the west ham game should have been used again.

Ferdinand and Evra can not keep pace anymore. Carrick and Buttner
might have done better. Defense has to have speed in order to keep up with ManCity attackers.

Fellaini and Fletcher could have provided better defensive cover and attacking support in midfield. They do more running.

Rooney-Mata-Kagawa-(Nani/Young/Valencia/Welbeck/Januzaj) on attack.

ManCity dominated the game from start to finish. Dzeko goal, Ferdinand was where? Yaya goal happend because Fellaini was taken off. Why was he taken off? Because of a yellow card. He got a yellow card for helping in defense because it was absolutely disorganized. Just like Kompany, he got a yellow because Zalaeta/right back was out of place and he gave him a scolding. Fellaini’s yellow was caused by a teammate not reforming the defensively line quickly enough.

ManU was simply outplayed. ManCity deserved the win. Atleast ManU tried and fought back. Another good point was Moyes was ready to substitute a player after the first goal. It would have been better if he got Ferdinand and Evra out then Fletcher and Buttner in. Moyes also shifted players around after the 1st gaol, which means he is trying. As the 1st half progressed, Cleverly was doing a decent job. I don’t think he needed to be replaced.

Fellaini got his yellow card when we were attacking not when he was helping out the defence. Zabaleta was pressing him and Fellaini tried to shield the ball and basically elbowed him.

Carrick has had ONE good game against play the long ball West Ham that doesn’t mean his brilliant at it…Remember it was just West Ham, he played there against Everton last year and got torn apart, same happened against Bilbao in CL group stages

Evra may be bad at defending but Buttner is worse…all he knows how to do is just attack. Against West Ham at home he came on and cost us a goal..he could see the c.defenders were holding a high line yet was 10 yards behind them playing C.Cole on and then watched him run through and score not even attempting to track back! That’s Buttner and his defeding talents

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