Premier League Preview: Pressure stays on United ahead of Manchester Derby

Manchester United was hammered 5-0 by Liverpool in its last home game, one of the worst results in its recent history and one that whipped up a media frenzy about Solskjaer's future.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won four and drawn one of his eight clashes against Guardiola's Manchester City. (File Photo)   -  REUTERS

A comfortable win at troubled Tottenham Hotspur and then a Cristiano Ronaldo- inspired escape from defeat to Atalanta has taken some of the heat off under-pressure Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But a more severe test of his side's health will come this Saturday when it hosts Premier League Champion Manchester City in the derby - a game fraught with danger for a United side that has been wildly unpredictable this season.

City suffered a surprise home defeat by Crystal Palace last weekend and it has also lost three of its last four Premier League clashes against Solskjaer's United.

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Such a poor recent record against its neighbours will not sit well with manager Pep Guardiola and there will be points to prove when the whistle blows at Old Trafford.

United was hammered 5-0 by Liverpool in its last home game, one of the worst results in its recent history and one that whipped up a media frenzy about Solskjaer's future.

That his side recovered to calmly dispatch Tottenham a week later was admirable, although one of the keys of that victory was the return from injury of defender Raphael Varane as Solskjaer started with five at the back.

Worryingly for Solskjaer, he will be without Varane for the visit of City after he suffered a hamstring injury against Atalanta and will be ruled out for up to a month.

United will have plenty of defending to do against City and will have to do it well. But that, combined with swift counter-attacks, has generally been the blueprint of its success against its local rivals since Solskjaer took the helm.

Solskjaer has won four and drawn one of his eight clashes with Guardiola.

City, for its part, will be all too aware that it cannot afford to fall too far behind Chelsea and Liverpool in the title race and after a 4-1 win against Club Brugge in midweek will head across town in confident mood.

Chelsea leads the standings by three points from Liverpool and five from third-placed City and will aim to continue the momentum it has built when it seeks a fifth consecutive league win against Burnley on Saturday.

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Antonio Conte's first Premier League game in charge of Tottenham is a trip to face Everton which has lost three in a row under Rafael Benitez. Conte replaced the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo on Tuesday.

Liverpool closes the weekend with a difficult trip to the London Stadium to face in-form West Ham United which has made its best start to a top flight season in more than 40 years.

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