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 By Michael Cox
10 hours ago

The challenges awaiting City and United in the Manchester derby

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes looks back through Wayne Rooney's career against Manchester City as the Red Devils prepare to take on their rivals.

Manchester City and Manchester United have shared the last four Premier League titles, but both have major problems ahead of this weekend's derby. City have gone three games without a victory while United, though they are certainly improving, still aren't entirely convincing under Louis van Gaal.

Here are three pressing concerns for either side.

Manchester City

Injury worries

David Silva and Yaya Toure are doubtful with knee and groin problems, respectively, and, while the loss of either would be...

 By Chris Wright
17 hours ago

Manchester United fan carves Louis van Gaal, Manuel Pellegrini pumpkins

With both Halloween and, more importantly, the first Manchester derby of the season now within spitting distance, a football fan from Lancashire has successfully spliced the two together like some kind of ungodly lab experiment gone awry.

Simon McMinnis, who comes down firmly on the United side of the Manc divide, has spent the majority of his week so far creating jack-o'-lantern effigies of the two managers going head-to-head at the Etihad on Sunday using two enormous 15kg pumpkins he purchased...

Mark Payne Manchester Utd  By Mark Payne
1 day ago

Van Gaal can instill confidence at United with Manchester derby result

Andy Cole has backed Wayne Rooney to return from suspension stronger for Manchester United in their derby against champions Manchester City.

The last time Manchester United won the Manchester derby was December 2012 and they had a knight of the realm in the dugout. As the Christmas lights go up in 2014, United fans are hoping a run of three decisive defeats comes to an end this Sunday and Louis van Gaal's record in derby matches stands them in good stead.

The Order of Orange-Nassau is the Dutch equivalent of a knighthood and is awarded to people who deserve "special appreciation for their work in Dutch society." Unlike its British...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
2 days ago

Adnan Januzaj set for Ajax loan spell, Illarramendi off to A.C. Milan

The ESPN FC crew discuss Luis Suarez's Ballon d'Or shortlist snub, Mario Balotelli's future at Anfield and debate whether or not Marco Reus should leave Dortmund.
The development of academy product Adnan Januzaj under new boss Louis van Gaal will be closely watched by the United faithful.
Adnan Januzaj has had some moments with Man United this season, but he's having trouble getting on the pitch regularly and may be headed to Ajax on loan.

World-class rumour alert, the kind that makes the Transfer Talk world go round. Away we go ...

Manchester United rumours

A couple of tasty bits from the Red half of Manchester, as Louis van Gaal and United eye up possible comings and goings in the January window.

The Daily Star report that Belgian sensation Adnan Januzaj could be headed off to Ajax for a loan spell with the Dutch Eredivisie champions. The sticking point is the loan's duration. Ajax would like to keep the winger for 18 months, while...

 By Musa Okwonga
2 days ago

Utd need Rooney vs. City -- intensity will be missed if he misses out

Andy Cole has backed Wayne Rooney to return from suspension stronger for Manchester United in their derby against champions Manchester City.

Wayne Rooney may miss the Manchester derby through an injury sustained in training and it is to his great credit that his opponents will be very happy if he is suited up in the stands this Sunday.

Over the years, this has been a fixture that he has approached with a particular relish. This was evident even after an apparently friendly fixture, when Manchester United defeated a fast-rising City side in the 2011 Community Shield. Following a 3-2 victory in which they had come back from a 2-0 deficit...

3 days ago

Ancelotti triumphs, van Gaal's progress, Dortmund disappoint, more

The ESPN FC panel discuss the player ratings following El Clasico.

You can't really call Real Madrid's clasico win a tactical victory.

That's because frankly, manager Carlo Ancelotti -- as he promised ahead of the game when he said there would be "no surprises" -- did nothing particularly fancy that night. His XI -- with Isco in for the injured Gareth Bale -- picked itself. (Or, if you're really, really cynical, you might say a man named Florentino Perez picked it.)

What Madrid did was execute and figure out a way to get a lopsided, top-heavy lineup to work against...