Manchester United will continue their pre-season preparations in Beijing when they face rivals Manchester City on Monday afternoon.
The game will see old foes Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola face each other again for the first time since the two were on opposing sides of the famed El Clasico match in La Liga, where the two were managers of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
During those meetings in Spain, Guardiola was victorious in eight out of 16 matches with Mourinho winning just three, whilst the remaining five contests ended as a draw.
However, United have the edge in recent meetings against City and are unbeaten in the team’s last three matches, the most recent being a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in May thanks to a Marcus Rashford winner.
However, both managers have shrugged off ideas of a personal rivalry going on between them, and both will be hoping for their teams to improve in this game having both lost their last match.
And although this is considered as a friendly, it will be United’s final match of their International Champions Cup campaign if they fail to beat City, with Borussia Dortmund currently top of the group after beating the Reds on Friday. The German side and City will face off later this week.
Indeed, as United and City face off at the Birds Nest stadium – the famed venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympics – both teams arrive after losses to German opposition. The Reds were comfortably beaten 4-1 by Borussia Dortmund on Friday whilst City lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Whilst it looks like United will have to cope with wet conditions in Monday’s encounter, they will still be playing in hot temperatures as they did against Borussia Dortmund on Friday. One thing from Mourinho is clear, though – he does not want any unnecessary injuries from the clash with City.
The wet conditions appear to have concerned the United boss, who wants to try new combinations in his team against City. It’s probably safe to expect plenty of rotation in the Reds’ team then, with Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata all candidates to be rested having played 90 minutes on Friday.
Mourinho could introduce David de Gea after watching fellow ‘keepers Sam Johnstone and Sergio Romero struggle on Friday, whilst Rashford might be involved again, even though the Portuguese boss had said he would play no part on tour before his substitute appearance against Borussia Dortmund last time out.
City, meanwhile, will likely field a more youthful side than the Reds, after only seven senior players were involved when they faced Bayern Munich last week. Guardiola has players like Fernandinho and Kelechi Iheanacho available, as well as some other big names that weren’t involved at this summer’s Euro 2016, but star men Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne won’t feature.