MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 26: General View prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 26, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Manchester Derby gives City and United chance to make an early statement in league race

Saturday, the Manchester Derby will be played and the storylines will undoubtedly belong to the two coaches who renew a long rivalry. But on the field will be the first time in years that a game between the two Manchester teams where three points, either way, could swing the title race later in the season.

Both United and City spent masses of money this summer in an arms race that would hopefully bring each team the silverware they expect. Saturday’s meeting will be the first chance for both teams to gauge how well they match up with their cross-town rival. Both sides will be looking for an early advantage in this season’s title race. Meanwhile, United will not want any slip ups on their road back to the Champions League next season.

United will host the match, where last season the two sides played out a lifeless 0-0 draw early in the campaign. United will bring more firepower to the party this time, as new signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are introduced into the derby. It might be United’s wunderkind that is left to steal the show, however, as Marcus Rashford has made a habit of scoring at opportune moments in his young career.

Jose Mourinho will also have to decide what to do with Wayne Rooney. The England captain set up Rashford’s winner against Hull a few weeks back, but against an opposition like City, he’s going to have to work a lot harder for his chances. Henrikh Mkhitaryan might be a card that Mourinho wants to play over Rooney given that he’s regularly come up against Guardiola’s system during his last two seasons at Dortmund. However, a thigh injury to the Armenian doesn’t bode well for his chances to see the pitch Saturday. Regardless, most of the attention will be shown to the forward line as well as Pogba. If United can come out firing and if Ibrahimovic can keep scoring, he has three goals already this year, they could cause Guardiola some trouble.

Standing in the way of United is last season’s third place team and a team that feels they are the dominant team in a city where they’ve played second fiddle for so long. Despite United’s summer strategy of throwing money at everyone, City is the ones playing in the Champions League this year. Guardiola will want to remind United of that on Saturday.

About Harrison Prolic

Northern Illinois graduate with a degree in Journalism. Full-time page designer in Madison, Wisconsin. Part time follower of all things German soccer. I tweet about the Bundesliga and plenty of other sports @hprolic.