Predicted Manchester United XI to play Manchester City

Manchester United 3

David Moyes has some big decisions to make ahead of the Manchester derby this Sunday.

Things don’t get any easier for David Moyes as Manchester United prepare to take on Manchester City, looking to produce a better performance than the displays against Chelsea and Liverpool from earlier this season.

Here are the eleven players the United boss could go with for the match.

GK – David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper is one of the best in the Premier League when it comes to pure ability to make saves. His overall command of his penalty area is improving and his distribution is as good as any other goalkeeper across Europe at the moment.

RB – Chris Smalling

Smalling had a fairly decent game against Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the week and he’s likely to continue at right back. Moyes won’t want to take too many gambles but City’s reluctance to use an out and out left sided winger means Smalling should have a slightly easier day at the office this Sunday.

CB – Rio Ferdinand

This is a fixture that Rio Ferdinand seems to savour. Everyone will remember those pictures from this game last season where Ferdinand held his bleeding head after being struck by a coin. That memory just gives him extra incentive to produce a solid performance.

CB – Nemanja Vidic

United’s captain has been in decent form this season and they will need his leadership in a hostile atmosphere. Vidic can also offer a threat at the other end which is important, as set pieces could be valuable for United if they take a lot of pressure from open play.

LB – Patrice Evra

Evra will be tested because the majority of City’s wide play comes down his side of the pitch. He’s been another of the more consistent performers for the club this season. However, old problems started to reappear against Bayer Leverkusen such as leaving too much space out wide, which he needs to eradicate.

RM – Antonio Valencia

This is a no-brainer for Moyes considering Valencia’s goal in the Champions League plus the defensive job he can do in midfield. His pace is also lightning, which will be important for when United counter attack and break forward if they get stuck in their own defensive third.

CM – Michael Carrick

Carrick will do what he does best, which is sit in the middle of the pitch, linking all areas of the side and generally controlling the tempo of Manchester United’s play. He’s good enough to also help out the back four and he’s also got god ability being able to spot a killer pass.

CM – Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini was superb against Bayer Leverkusen in terms of how he got around the pitch, breaking up the play and always offering support to players in trouble. Carrick will be the steady player in the middle while Fellaini is likely to race around, generally looking to make it difficult for City to find any rhythm.

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LM – Ashley Young

This is the difficult one for Moyes because the temptation will be to play Shinji Kagawa for the way he controls possession. However, Kagawa’s lack of size and defensive ability means Ashley Young may get the nod because not only will he stay out on the left, he can drop back to offer Evra support.

ST – Wayne Rooney

Rooney will play up top in behind Robin van Persie, but he may not stay up top the entire game. Expect to see Rooney dropping a lot deeper in this game if city are seeing a lot of the ball. Rooney’s ability to roam that gap in between midfield and attack makes him a constant threat.

ST – Robin van Persie

Van Persie will be confident after bagging a goal in mid-week and there’s no reason for Moyes to drop him. This is a fixture he played very well in last season and he is the best player for United to have when it comes to getting on the end of a half chance, which could decide the game.

What do you think? Should Fabio play at right back? Should Kagawa start?

image: © http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdies-perch/

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