Comparing Arsenal & Man City's Premier League title run-insMar 24 | 2 min read
Man Utd vs Man City: Ten Hag's men out for revenge after derby humiliation as champions bid to close the gap on Arsenal
Man Utd host Man City this Saturday lunchtime in the first ever Manchester derby broadcast exclusively live on BT Sport.
BT Sport have a gigantic clash in store this Saturday as we broadcast a huge Manchester derby that has much, much more than bragging rights at stake for both teams.
Man City make the three-mile journey across the city to face their rivals hoping to complete the derby double over Man United and close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
But Erik Ten Hag's Man United are improving, have ambitions of making it back into the top four and would love nothing more than putting a dent into the Sky Blues' title hopes.
Man United out to avenge October humiliation
Even with Man United's recent record against their rivals, October 2 was a chastening day for the club.
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With seemingly no resistance from the opposition, Pep Guardiola's men ran riot at the Etihad as they raced into a 4-0 half-time lead with two goals apiece from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden.
Those two would complete their hat-tricks in the second half and three consolation replies from The Red Devils did nothing more than add a smidgen of respectability to what was a painful afternoon for Man United.
"We didn't bring belief with us onto the pitch," was Erik Ten Hag's stark assessment of his team's performance in the derby."
The result was a rude awakening for Ten Hag who'd steadied the ship with four wins on the bounce after two poor defeats to begin his Premier League career in charge of the club.
Now the Dutchman will be doing his utmost to ensure his side are firing on all cylinders ahead of Saturday lunchtime as the club seek a first victory over Man City in four league attempts.
The good news is the form of Marcus Rashford. The England forward has netted five goals in five games since returning from the World Cup and has a history of scoring against Man United's biggest rivals.
Man City bid to close the gap on league leaders Arsenal
Seven, down to five, down to two? Arsenal's lead at the Premier League summit was reduced in Matchday 17 after a goalless draw with Newcastle preceded a 1-0 win for Man City at Chelsea.
Now the Citizens have the benefit of playing a day before Arsenal, who face Tottenham in the north Londond derby, meaning they can cut the gap on the league leaders to just two points.
There's been the impression among many observers that Arsenal's occupation of the top has been a temporary placeholder before Man City eventually get it together.
And now, in the midst of what looks a challenging run for both teams, the turn of the year could be the period where the pendulum swings back into the champions' favour.
Man City, after defeating Chelsea, have the derby on Saturday, Tottenham, Wolves, Tottenham again, Aston Villa and then Arsenal in their upcoming games.
Having drawn with high-flying Newcastle, The Gunners face Spurs this Sunday, Man United, Everton, Brentford and then Man City.
With an FA Cup clash between Man City and Arsenal slap bang in the middle of that run for good measure, this could be a defining period in the Premier League title race.
And Man City know a win at Old Trafford would firmly put the ball back in Arsenal's court ahead of the north Londoners own derby clash this weekend.
Acid test for Ten Hag's quiet revolution
Quietly Erik ten Hag is getting Man United on the right track. Since the derby defeat to Man City 6-3 back in early October, the Red Devils have played 17 games, winning 14, drawing two and losing just one.
Man United are fourth in the table with a game in hand over some of their nearby rivals and can solidify their place in the Champions League qualification spots with a huge victory on Saturday.
After winning a battle of wits with Cristiano Ronaldo, who has since left the club and signed with Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr, Ten Hag has established his authority and is getting a tune out of many players who struggled before.
Rashford is on fire up front with five goals in five, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are playing effectively in midfield and Bruno Fernandes is getting back to the scintillating form in which he started his Man United career with.
Yet just as the 6-3 defeat to Man City suddenly poured cold water on Man United's progress - four wins on the bounce - in October, a bad result will set the red half of Manchester's progress back significantly.
Win, however, in what is the biggest game of the season for many of the supporters and it will convince any of the remaining doubters that Ten Hag's Man United are very much the real deal.