Man United have been in pre-season mode for the last two weeks and come into the derby encounter against Man City with two games already under their belt.
Red Devils fans have had a glimpse of new boys Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku, but Jose Mourinho has been given a number of injury scares already after intense matches against LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.
Juan Mata is not likely to feature after sustaining a minor ankle injury in the win over Real Salt Lake, but Matteo Darmian could play a part after recovering from a nasty collision and joining in with training ahead of the game.
While Mourinho’s men have already played two pre-season friendlies, Man City’s first preparatory game comes against Man United and Pep Guardiola put his players through their paces in Houston on Tuesday.
New signings Kyle Walker and Ederson have been included in the squad and took part in training, so both players could well make their debuts for the club in a Manchester derby, while Nicolas Otamendi joined the panel having travelled separately from the rest of the group.
However, Bernardo Silva, who joins City from Monaco, and Claudio Bravo have not travelled to the US, because they have been given some extra time off following their involvement in the Confederations Cup with Portugal and Chile respectively.
Guardiola has also brought highly-rated youth players Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, as well as Under-18 goalkeepers Daniel Grimshaw and Arijanet Muric.
The clash between the Manchester rivals will give both teams their first taste of what is to come this season and, even though Mourinho played down the significance of the results in the International Champions Cup, bragging rights are nevertheless at stake in Houston.
“Obviously the level of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona is higher [than MLS teams] – it’s Champions League level,” Mourinho told the official Manchester United website.
“I don’t know how they will look to the game, maybe the other teams will have the same philosophy as us, maybe not. I know Manchester City is our city rival, I know Real Madrid is the European champion but it’s not so important for us to play for a result.”
Man City have opted for a less gruelling schedule than their United counterparts ahead of the new campaign and the game in Houston will be the first chance for Pep Guardiola to assess his new acquisitions Kyle Walker and Ederson in a real match situation.
The Catalan coach is likely to hand debuts to both players, while striker Gabriel Jesus will relish the opportunity to have a full pre-season at the club having had his maiden campaign frustratingly disrupted by injury.
Given that it is City’s first pre-season game, Guardiola may be inclined to rotate his squad more than Mourinho, with games against Real Madrid and Tottenham coming in quick succession next week.
We suppose the match will end 1 – 2.
Tip: Correct Score
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