MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) — As expected, Juan Mata has been dropped by Manchester United for today’s derby clash with Manchester City.
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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal makes two changes from the starting side that drew 1-1 with Chelsea the last time out, with captain Wayne Rooney returning to replace Mata.
Also missing the game is right-back Rafael, who is injured, so Antonio Valencia, returning from injury comes into the side to take his place.
Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj both keep their starting places.
“Rafael is injured in training so I play with Antonio Valencia at right-back,” manager Van Gaal said.
“For me it is not difficult to have Wayne Rooney back. He is my captain and is very important to our team.
“Juan Mata was difficult to leave out but you have to choose – Marouane Fellaini has scored and given assists so he is important also. My philosophy is always the same. We want to dominate.”
For Manchester City, meanwhile, they made three changes from the side that was beaten 2-1 at West Ham last weekend.
Center-back Martin Demichelis returns to the starting lineup to partner Vincent Kompany, while forward Stevan Jovetic comes in for Edin Dzeko.
David Silva is out injured, while Gael Clichy, who was listed as a non-starter is now in the team after Aleksandar Kolarov picked up an injury in warmup.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Jesus Navas, Toure, Fernando, Milner, Aguero, Jovetic. Subs: Sagna, Nasri, Dzeko, Caballero, Clichy, Fernandinho, Boyata.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Fellaini, Januzaj, Di Maria, van Persie, Rooney. Subs: Mata, Lindegaard, Carrick, Ander Herrera, Fletcher, McNair, Wilson.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)