BBC Football expert Mark Lawrenson has backed Manchester United to come up triumphs during Sunday’s derby showdown versus Manchester City. The Red Devils will be without the services of Paul Pogba through suspension, but Lawrenson still fancies a 2-1 victory for the hosts with the Citizens having injury concerns of their own.
Whilst giving his matchday predictions for Gameweek 16, Lawro talked about the potential absence of Vincent Kompany, who missed the Champions League outing versus Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek. The Citizens are already without John Stones with a hamstring problem, and their skipper’s failure to make the playing field will surely enhance United’s chances of a victory.
Lawrenson said: “I just think United have hit a run of form, and their win at Arsenal last week was very comfortable and impressive. If Kompany is missing, that will give United more opportunities from set-pieces and, although City will create plenty of chances themselves, David de Gea is obviously in such fine form in goal for Jose Mourinho’s side.”
Kompany has had a string of calf issues over the past 18 months, but Pep Guardiola would no doubt want to be cautious with the Belgian with the fixtures piled up during the festive period. Should the Belgian miss out, Eliaquim Mangala looks the likely contender to partner Nicolas Otamendi at the heart of the defence, and this offers a significant boost to United as the Frenchman has had minimal gametime on his belt.
Otamendi and Mangala have not quite clicked together in the past, and they could be vulnerable to the counter-attack which United used to their full advantage during last weekend’s 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.