Manchester City welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium this weekend, with Louis van Gaal’s side fresh off the back of a late comeback against Chelsea and Manuel Pellegrini’s side looking for their first win in four games.
City will have plenty of stars looking to impress but here are three United players with a point to prove against the reigning Premier League champions:
Robin van Persie
The Dutch international may have scored the late equaliser against Chelsea last weekend but he has had an uninspiring season so far.
Many believed van Persie would excel under his good friend and former Netherland’s coach van Gaal, but the striker has scored just three goals to date with his all-round contribution not as it should be.
With Wayne Rooney returning from suspension and Radamel Falcao hopeful of recovering from injury, van Persie cannot rely on the past to maintain his place in this United side. His goal against Chelsea is likely to see him start against City but he must go on a consistent scoring run to ensure he stays there.
Speaking of Falcao, the Colombia international will be disappointed to have only scored one goal so far – even if it was a winning one against Everton. He was brought to Old Trafford to make the difference in games such as this and he will want to out-shine Sergio Aguero.
Falcao’s fitness and the return of Rooney means the on-loan forward could start this game on the bench. But expect him to see action at some point and he will want to score in arguably United’s toughest match all season.
Big questions remain regarding United’s defence and summer signing Rojo will know he has a huge job on his hands to keep the likes of Aguero, Eden Dzeko and David Silva at bay for 90 minutes.
For all their goal-scoring prowess United’s good work is often undone by defence lapses, seen most clearly in the recent 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
If they play like that again Aguero could fill his boots and it is up to Rojo to marshal a back-line that requires leadership and stability.