Once again Shane Burns looks ahead to the upcoming preseason friendly with Manchester United in China. This time Pep Guardiola will come up against Jose Mourinho as the pair are set to do battle for the first time in representing the city of Manchester. Monday’s game between the two will be held in China with a capacity crowd expected to witness the first Manchester derby of the season.

Monday’s clash between the two will be the first friendly the club’s have competed in against each other since October 1997 for Paul Lake’s testimonial match at Maine Road. City haven’t beaten United in all competitions since November 2014 so a victory in China, preseason or not, will be nicely received by the City faithful.

Manchester United are also in a similiar situation to City as they prepare for the new season with a new manager. Jose Mourinho has taken over the hotseat at Manchester United and the Portuguese coach is keen to bring silverware back to United. Both Pep and Mourinho experienced an intense rivalry when the pair coached Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively and the eyes of the world will no doubt be locked on Manchester as the pair are set to do battle once again.

Team News and Tactics:

The battle in China will see Guardiola keen to implement his own style once again. The Spaniard will aim to give both youth and experienced players the opportunity to impress as he did so in Germany during the week. Youth players have been predominant during his training sessions and also the game against Bayern Munich seen seven players under the age of 21 one playing at one stage of the match.

Key players such as Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi and Joe Hart are all expected to be on the bench for City on Monday. Samir Nasri is expected to shake off a thigh injury he picked up in training last week to be fit enough to be in contention to start. Angelino and Pablo Maffeo are widely expected to start after impressing during the Bayern Munich match. Despite being on the bench against Bayern Munich, Vincent Kompany is still not expected to feature for City until September as he attempts to regain his fitness following surgery.

Once again I’m expecting Guardiola to go with three-at-the-back as he looks to find the perfect system ahead of the new season.

(3-5-2) Caballero, Adarabioyo, Humphreys, Clichy, Maffeo, Angelino, Toure, Alex Garcia, Delph, Celina, Bony,

Manchester United’s challenge will be to overcome the 4-1 drubbing they embarrassingly suffered at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. With many top stars on show for United on Friday, it was Dortmund’s pace and aggressive pressing style that un-done United in China. Mourinho will no doubt be keen to ensure the same does not happen against bitter rivals City.

Three new signings are all in the squad to face City with each featuring during the defeat to Dortmund. A debut goal for Mkhitaryan was the only shining light and the Armenian is expected to once again feature against City as Mourinho is keen to implement is tight and narrow defensive style football. In saying that, Mourinho is also expected to field a strong side agains City.

(4-2-3-1): Romero, Valenica, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Young, Depay


Mkhitaryan – An impressive signing for United this summer and one for City to be wary of ahead of Monday’s clash. The Bundesliga player of the year will be keen to start the season strongly and make an impression following his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund. A player likened to Kevin De Bruyne, Mkhitaryan will be a danger throughout the contest with his ability to find space behind the City lines the most threatening point of attack for City.


Once again preseason predictions are very difficult to predict however based on City’s second half performance in Munich on Wednesday, I’m going to go with a City win. Regardless of the result, I wouldn’t read much into it as the purpose of the game is from a marketing standpoint as well as the chance for players to regain fitness. A 2-0 win for City.

Stats and Facts:

  • This will be the first contest between Guardiola and Mourinho since August 2013.
  • City used twenty-one players against Bayern Munich during the week.
  • United are undefeated in three games against City – their longest run since 2006.


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