Louis van Gaal’s men sit two points behind City heading into the weekend’s fixtures, winning four of their past five Premier League outings.
Anthony Martial rescued a point for United at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in midweek, while City made it four wins in a row in all competitions as they saw off Sevilla on Wednesday night.
Luke Shaw (leg) and Paddy McNair (liver) are the only injury concerns for Van Gaal. United winger Ashley Young (thigh) is back in training but is not ready to play on Sunday after missing three weeks.
For City, David Silva (ankle) and Sergio Aguero (hamstring) lead their lengthy injury list. Fabian Delph (hamstring), Gael Clichy (ankle) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) are also out, while Pellegrini hinted in his press conference that he could use Kevin de Bruyne as a striker at Old Trafford.
Vincent Kompany is in contention, but Pellegrini went on to say that “[Eliaquim] Mangala and [Nicolas] Otamendi are doing well”.
Wayne Rooney has scored 11 goals in Manchester derbies (all competitions) – more than any other player – and no player has scored as many Premier League goals as he has by the age of 30 (187).
Manchester City have won six of their past eight Manchester derbies in league competition (lost two), having won only six of the previous 42.
United have won 17 of their 23 Premier League home games under Louis van Gaal (74 per cent), conceding just 16 goals (drawn three, lost three).
The past 10 Manchester derbies in all competitions have seen 41 goals scored (4.1 goals per game). Manchester City have had the most shots on target (74) and have allowed their opponents the fewest (24) in the opening nine matchdays of 2015-16.
I don’t see United losing this one. City are just too open for my liking and tactically naive at times. They just go all-out attack, which is fine against lesser teams, but United will be solid and could then pick them off. United had the biggest result last weekend, winning at Everton in the manner they did after their thumping at Arsenal.
If United win this, they are big players in the Premier League title race. Kevin de Bruyne is different gravy and United will have to keep him quiet – he has been outstanding. Other than him, I don’t see how City hurt can United without Sergio Aguero and David Silva and I think United will just win the game, although a draw wouldn’t surprise me.