Man Utd vs Man City predictions: Rivals' firepower will guarantee goals
- Both teams have scored in five of Man City's last seven Premier League games
- Man Utd have conceded a total of 16 goals across the last five derby fixtures
- Recommended bet: Both teams to score with Over 2.5 goals in the game
An eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby at Old Trafford is sure to get Saturday's Premier League games off to a lively start as United look to settle a score against rivals City.
The Citizens can complete a sixth league double over the Red Devils following their 6-3 victory at the Etihad Stadium last October, set up by hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden.
Boss Pep Guardiola, never averse to the odd tactical surprise, admits he is pondering some "ridiculous ideas" ahead of the clash, which will be the 500th top-flight game of his managerial career.
But Erik ten Hag will be out to spoil his plans in the week he became the quickest United manager to reach 20 wins in charge.
His side are in superb form after winning their last eight games in all competitions and nine in a row at the Theatre of Dreams.
United could yet have a new name in the frame for this clash if a complicated deal to bring Burnley striker Wout Weghorst back to England from his loan spell at Besiktas is completed before the registration deadline on Friday.
Ten Hag rested David de Gea, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial in Tuesday's Carabao Cup win over Charlton, while Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen were kept back on the bench until the final 30 minutes.
All are likely starters, as are Lisandro Martinez and Antony, who has scored in back-to-back cup games over the past eight days.
Bruno Fernandes will return from suspension to knit United's midfield and attack together, but there is a doubt surrounding the fitness of fellow Portugal international Diogo Dalot after he came off in midweek.
For City, a number of changes were necessitated by the proximity of their midweek League Cup quarter-final against Southampton to this fixture.
Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne and Rodri — three of Guardiola's most important players — only saw action as substitutes at St Mary's while Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez remained unused, but all six should face United.
Kalvin Phillips, who made his first start for Guardiola in the shock cup exit at St Mary's, will drop out, while Rico Lewis, so impressive at left-back lately, will hope to earn a starting berth ahead of the out-of-form Joao Cancelo.
John Stones was absent from the matchday squad on Wednesday night, with quotes from the City camp ahead of kick-off suggesting he was "not fully fit".
United have lost the last five derbies, shipping a total of 16 goals across those fixtures.
However, Ten Hag's side have not conceded a Premier League goal at home since September 4.
Rashford has scored in his last eight games at Old Trafford and if he follows suit on Saturday it will be his fourth in a row in the Premier League, something he has not achieved since January 2019.
After scoring six times in the first derby of the season, City only need two more to equal or three to break their record number of goals scored against United in a season, set back in 1955.
Mahrez's brace in City's 4-0 FA Cup victory over Chelsea on Sunday took the Algerian's tally up to six goals and two assists from his last seven outings.
Mahrez also became the first player to score in three separate games against Chelsea in a single season in all competitions since Javier Hernandez did so for United in 2012-13.
Depending on your viewpoint, United are either in their best run of form for a number of years or have benefitted from a very easy series of post-World Cup fixtures.
Saturday's game is the acid test for how much progress the Red Devils have actually made under Ten Hag since October's Etihad Stadium annihilation.
Defensively, they are much more solid than they were back in the autumn, while they have a number of attacking players in sharp form.
Whether those improvements are enough to defeat the champions, though, will come down to which City side turn up on Saturday.
Another performance like the one they turned in against Southampton — where they produced more foul throws than shots on target — would see them lose more ground in the title race.
Goals look assured and the prospect of both teams finding the net seem bright considering the Citizens have kept only two clean sheets in their last eight Premier League games and United's risible recent derby record.