Poor home form makes Ole's task trickier against City

United look to rebound from Champs League exit in derby

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their second goal.
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their second goal.
Image: PHIL NOBLE

London – Just when Manchester United appeared to be building momentum after a mediocre start to the domestic season, a woeful exit from the Champions League has left manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer facing flak once again.

This means the stakes have been raised beyond usual levels for tomorrow's home derby against Manchester City.

Four successive league wins have pushed United from the lower depths of the table into sixth place, one spot above Pep Guardiola's City, who are slowly beginning to tick.

Yet Tuesday's 3-2 capitulation in Leipzig, when a draw would have sent them into the Champions League last 16, has tarnished United's impressive turnaround and the rumour mill about who is being lined up to replace Solskjaer has restarted.

United are looking to win three successive Premier League games against their neighbours for the first time since 2010 and three points would put them into the top four ahead of Sunday's games, smoothing the waters somewhat for Solskjaer.

The problem is their home form is lamentable this season.

They have collected four points from five league games at Old Trafford and City are capable of inflicting more pain.

Guardiola's side will arrive on the back of four wins from their last five games in all competitions since a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, a spell in which they have not conceded.

While the defence has looked rock solid, Sergio Aguero's goalscoring return from injury in the 3-0 win against Marseille on Wednesday has given Guardiola plenty of firepower to play with.

Aguero is unlikely to start against United but his return augurs well for City's prospects of joining the title race.

Chelsea can steal a march on the rest of the top four when they take on Everton in tomorrow's late game.

Victory would move Frank Lampard's side to the top of the table, above champions Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur who share the lead with 24 points from 11 games.

Liverpool face struggling Fulham on Sunday while Tottenham, leaders on goal difference, are at Crystal Palace.

Fourth-placed Leicester City are also on duty on Sunday as they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion.

The pressure will be on Arsenal as they take on third-from-bottom Burnley at the Emirates having lost three successive home league games, sinking to 15th place in the table.

Fixtures

Tonight: Leeds v West Ham, 8pm

Tomorrow: Wolves v Aston Villa, 2.30pm; Newcastle v West Brom, 5pm; Man United v Man City, 7.30pm; Everton v Chelsea, 10pm

Sunday: Southampton v Sheffield United, 2pm; Crystal Palace v Tottenham, 4.15pm; Fulham v Liverpool, 6.30pm; Arsenal v Burnley, 9.15pm; Leicester City v Brighton, 9.15pm. — Reuters

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