How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Manchester City

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Manchester City

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    The tables have turned in Manchester, for this season at least, with City coming to Old Trafford with hopes of securing points that will contribute to them going top of the table.

    In contrast, the only thing United have to play for is stopping City from winning the league. Although, in taking three points off City, United might just be aiding Liverpool's title challenge, meaning any result for the Reds could lead to misery.

    After the 4-1 battering away from home, United will be playing for pride, with nothing else at stake for them. But with so many players out injured, what is the best line-up United fans can hope for?

De Gea

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    David de Gea made his debut for United against Manchester City in the Community Shield in 2011. He put in a pretty dodgy performance but thankfully his team came back to win 3-2 after going 2-0 down at half-time.

    De Gea has gone from strength to strength since then and has been one of the few players to perform well for United this season.

    Against City, United will need de Gea to have his best performance of the year to give them a chance of getting something from the game.

Makeshift Defence

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    United's back four will pick itself for Tuesday night as so many of the defenders are unavailable. Nemanja Vidic is still suspended after being wrongly sent off for Daniel Sturridge's dive in the defeat against Liverpool. Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand didn't even make the bench for Saturday's game against West Ham so are unlikely to be fit for derby day.

    This leaves a back four of Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Rafael da Silva.

Fellaini and Fletcher

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    With Carrick likely to be used in defence, Moyes is left with Marouane Fellaini and Darren Fletcher to play in the centre of midfield. Moyes praised Fellaini for how well he played against Andy Carroll and may be tipping him for a similar role against City.

    The manager might be tempted to give Ryan Giggs a go, after he played so well against Olympiakos last week, but he is more likely to repeat the central midfield from West Ham.

Rooney Up Front

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    Robin van Persie's injury means that Wayne Rooney is likely to lead the line. With two goals against West Ham at the weekend, including that stunning effort from the half-way line, he is likely to be full of confidence.

    He is more versatile than the Dutchman, so depending on the direction of the game, he will be able to help out across the pitch if required.

    Rooney also has more goals than any other player in Manchester derbies so will be keen to add to his tally.

Kagawa and Mata Given a Go

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    Not only does van Persie's absence mean Rooney will get to play in his preferred position, but also that Moyes has the freedom to be slightly more experimental with his attacking players.

    Juan Mata should start behind Rooney instead of being played out wide, but there is also the option of starting Shinji Kagawa again. Their positions can be interchangeable and they can take it in turns to come inside or drift out wide.

    The third spot is trickier to pick, with Ashley Young being given the nod against West Ham. Danny Welbeck, who stretched the Olympiakos defence so well last week, should start. Welbeck's argument for starting is only strengthened by Antonio Valencia's injury, with his ability to win back possession a valued ability on derby day.