Man United Host Man City In Closest Derby Since Fergie’s Time

MANCHESTER United host Manchester City on Saturday in what could be one of their most evenly matched Premier League encounters in years.

United have won eight games in a row and could equal their longest winning run in all competitions since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013.

Second-placed City, who are four points above United, lost to Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

“The improvement of [United’s] team is clear,” said City boss Pep Guardiola.

United are closing in on the loan signing of Burnley striker Wout Weghorst but he will not be eligible to play because he would have needed to be registered by 12:00 GMT on Friday.

Anthony Martial is a doubt with a leg injury, so in-form Marcus Rashford, who has scored seven goals in his last six games, could play as a centre-forward.

Guardiola says United are in title race

United have only lost once in 18 games since a 6-3 defeat by City in October and Guardiola says Erik ten Hag’s side are not out of the title race.

“When I see the way United are playing, why not? Their play is good,” he said. “It is nice for us, the challenge to prove ourselves again.”

Guardiola added: “I had the feeling that the strength and quality of Man United was always there

“It’s just a question of being settled, patient and supporting the manager unconditionally. United are playing now how they played all their history.

“I said a few months ago that United are back. People say they’re not. They’re back. I knew it, I felt it.”

Ten Hag, whose side are nine points behind leaders Arsenal. says the hosts must prove how far they have come since that humbling at City in October.

“We have to prove that [how far they’ve come] on the pitch. There is only one truth and it is always on the pitch,” said the manager.

“It is not coming overnight, there has been a process in the last months where we develop, progress. We have to be brave, act with belief and play our game.

“We took the lesson [from the 6-3 loss] and from that point on we make huge progress. We have to continue that process.”

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