Manchester United have since the beginning of this season played less ferocious teams and until last weekend have not been really tested by any of the Premier League’s top four. After narrowly avoiding a defeat against the league leaders Chelsea, they will have to brace up against the defending champions and city rivals Manchester City. The Citizens have received a boost with the recovery of the versatile Samir Nasri who is expected to feature in City’s upcoming Capital One Cup ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby according to reports from Goal.
The French international who has a 100% shot accuracy this season had been side-lined for about a month after he underwent a surgery following a groin injury but the Etihad boss is now confident that his attacking midfielder will be available for deployment against Newcastle and subsequently Manchester United. The 27-year-old’s services have been sorely missed as the English Champions fell to a defeat in faraway Russia after been 2 goals ahead against CSKA Moscow and another loss to West Ham last weekend. Manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed to pressmen that:
‘Frank Lampard is out with a muscle injury, all the other players are fit, and Samir Nasri is working normally and is on the squad list for tomorrow.’
Manchester United on the other hand have been heaving a sigh of relieve as several of their first team regulars have been recovering at an encouraging rate. Louis van Gaal will for the first time this season have Michael Carrick available, Ander Herrera and Phil Jones might also make surprise returns, with the continuous dip in form that Robin van Persie is experiencing, the manager will be happy to have Radamel Falcao. More so, team captain Wayne Rooney having served his 3-match ban will be on hand to lead the Red Devils into the derby.
With Nasri fit, Pellegrini might consider playing him from the wings or probably directly ahead of David Silva to tee up with the strikers especially Sergio Aguero. Yaya Toure will attempt to muscle down the frail midfielders that Louis van Gaal has but the Dutch boss will likely deploy the in-form Marouane Fellaini in an attempt to provide the much need physical presence in the midfield. If Carrick can play, then Ander Herrera won’t really be missed. Daley Blind and Michael Carrick will tidy up behind Fellaini and Angel Di Maria and either Juan Mata or Adnan Januzaj will bring the play towards the strikers and then the manager will have to make a decision on whether to play the frustrating Robin van Persie or the hungrier Radamel Falcao ahead of Wayne Rooney.
Whatever the Old Trafford manager decides, his players will need to capitalize on the opportunities they have because even at their best, they can only strive to match City at their worst, hence each chance they squander drops them further down the hole.