When: 7/20/2017, 8:30PM CDT
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Tickets: Buy Here
Manchester rivals go head to head at the International Champions Cup at NGR Stadium in what will be the first ever Manchester derby outside England and the first major test of the preseason for the Premier League rivals who are having high hopes ahead of the new campaign.
Respective managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will be given a chance to continue their long-standing rivalry which started in La Liga and now stands as a huge talking point in England as well.
The Red Devils are coming off from an exhausting season which only concluded on 24 May with Manchester United winning the Europa League title and earning their place back in the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho channelled all strengths to the European stage seeing his side would be unable to break within the top 4 in the Premier League, but the Portuguese manager has an entirely different agenda for the new campaign. Known as a tactician who thrives in his second season at clubs, Mourinho has rolled up his sleeves and is currently rebuilding his squad in order to welcome the beginning of the new season with a completely filled high-profile roster. Having brought Victor Lindelof to bolster their backline, Manchester United have been the biggest talk of the town during last couple of days as the club confirmed the big-money transfer of Romelu Lukaku from Everton. The Belgian forward comes as a direct replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Jose Mourinho is expected to make another move in the market to replace captain Wayne Rooney who on his own part went back to his boyhood club Everton in order to try and revive his dwindling career. Alvaro Morata continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, whereas another addition to the midfielder line is also expected.
Jose Mourinho has taken 27 players to the United States with Lukaku joining up with his new teammates straight in Los Angeles. Mourinho’s roster includes all high-profile first-team stars such as David De Gea, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, but Jose Mourinho is also expected to give a chance to some of the talented youngsters.
Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell were among the boys who got invited to join the first team, whereas Adnan Januzaj, Sam Johnstone, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Guillermo Varela have not travelled as they are expected to leave Old Trafford this summer.
It’s been a disappointing season for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola who failed to win a trophy last season for the first time in his managerial career. The Citizens finished in third and will be competing in the Champions League next year which comes as a slight consolation prize though.
Having already invested a great load of money to bolster their ranks last season, Manchester City have thus far been unexpectedly and surprisingly quiet in the transfer market. The Citizens made their moves early on to sing AS Monaco star midfielder Bernanrdo Silva and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson for a combined fee worth €90 million. Manchester City have kept a low profile in the market thus far but are still expected to make a couple of signings and boost their squad with another full-back, a centre-half and possibly another midfielder or striker. The likes of Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand, Leonardo Bonucci and Alexis Sanchez are some of the names currently linked with the Citizens. Most of these anticipated signings are to be funded by allowing many players to leave. The departure list currently stands at three high-profile names, Willy Caballero who is now at Chelsea, Gael Clichy of Basaksehir and Pablo Zabaleta who moved to West Ham, all of which left the Etihad on free transfer. The biggest question mark rests over the future of England international goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is not expected to return to Manchester. Hart spent last season on loan at Serie A side Torino and could possibly move back to Italy during the summer transfer window.
Pep Guardiola is taking his full squad to United States where we are expecting to see City’s two summer signings in action for the first time.
The Spanish tactician is said to have been impressed with youngsters Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz who could all take some part in the club’s preseason, hoping to make another impression and gain valuable experience playing with the first team.
Manchester rivals have had an underwhelming domestic season behind them and will be keen to get as ready as possible for the forthcoming campaign. Fierce rivals United and City are expected to put in a great show despite the lack of the competitive edge in their Houston encounter. Fans who have decided to visit the NRG Stadium will not regret it as we expect to see an openly-contested affair between the two sides fighting for early bragging rights.
Verdict: Manchester United
Best Odds: 9/5
Bookmaker: William Hill
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