THE first Manchester derby of the season takes place on Friday as Manchester United and Manchester City meet in the International Champions Trophy in Houston.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are both going into their second campaign with the two Manchester giants and will be looking to improve on last term’s disappointing sixth and third-place finishes in the Premier League respectively.
The Red Devils beat La Galaxy 5-2 in their pre-season opener on Sunday, while City begin their preparations against United.
Friday’s meeting should offer a glimpse into what has changed and how their new signings are looking. Our friends at Football Whispers run through the two teams.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
Although Sergio Romero has signed a new four-year deal to stay with United, the Argentine will continue de Gea’s deputy.
The Real Madrid transfer target looks set to stay at Old Trafford for another season at least and should begin Friday’s showdown in Texas as Mourinho’s undisputed No.1.
Right-back: Antonio Valencia
The Ecuadorian was one of last season’s success stories for Mourinho who saw the former winger develop into the Premier League’s most consistent right-back.
Still able to get forward and use his excellent delivery to devastating effect, the ex-Wigan Athletic man is solid defensively and one of the team’s leaders.
Centre-back: Victor Lindelof
After a lengthy chase which started in January, United finally got their man in a £31m deal from Benfica this summer.
The Swede became the first signing of the off-season at Old Trafford and, after coming off the bench in the 5-2 win over LA Galaxy, could start against City.
Centre-back: Eric Bailly
The other half of Manchester United’s new-look centre-back pairing is Bailly. The Ivorian, who looks a snip at £30m after a fine debut season, was also a second-half sub against Galaxy.
But Bailly will be Mourinho’s first-choice at the heart of United’s defence this season and will need time to gel with Lindelof.
Left-back: Daley Blind
The Dutch international might not be Mourinho’s first choice in any position but he is an integral member of the squad thanks to his versatility.
Blind started against Galaxy with Luke Shaw missing out due to injury. The former Ajax man could well start once more with Matteo Darmian the alternative.
Holding midfield: Michael Carrick
Carrick’s importance to United was underlined last week when the 35-year-old was appointed captain following Wayne Rooney’s Everton return.
The former Tottenham and West Ham man started against LA Galaxy alongside Marouane Fellaini and should start again. The question is who his partner will be.
Holding midfield: Ander Herrera
Mourinho could go with Fellaini at the base of midfield if he wants a truly destructive presence to unsettle Manchester City.
However, Spaniard Herrera is every bit as good at the niggly side of the game and could drop back to play alongside Carrick in Houston. United’s 2016/17 Player of the Year, the former Bilbao man is vital.
Right-wing: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
The Armenian endured a slow start to life at United last season as he was eased in by Mourinho following his switch from Borussia Dortmund.
But he ended the season a key player, scoring in the Europa League final win over Ajax, and will be Mourinho’s first choice pick on the right this season.
Attacking midfield: Paul Pogba
The hardest spot in United’s team to predict with numerous candidates, Pogba could make his first start of pre-season against City.
Able to influence things higher up the field and link up with his friend Romelu Lukaku, Pogba could also drop in and make up a midfield three with Carrick and Herrera without the ball.
Left-wing: Jesse Lingard
The England international is one of Mourinho’s favourite players thanks to his versatility, energy and work-rate.
Like Blind, Lingard isn’t first choice in a specific position but there’s always a role he can fill. Right now, he looks ahead of Anthony Martial.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku
United’s new £75m signing came off the bench in the 5-2 win over Galaxy and missed a sitter on his unofficial debut.
However, the big Belgian will surely start United’s first high-profile warm-up match and will be desperate to open his account for his new club.
It’s second time lucky for Guardiola who signed Claudio Bravo last summer to replace Joe Hart but was left with a headache between the sticks as the Chilean flopped.
Brazilian stopper Ederson arrives having, at £34.5m, become the most expensive keeper in history and with Hart set for West Ham, a solid debut is needed.
Right-back: Kyle Walker
The second part of an expensively-assembled new-look back five is former Spurs man Walker.
Snapped up on Friday in a deal worth an initial £45m, the England international is the only senior right-back at the club and should start against United.
Centre-back: John Stones
It’s a big season for Stones who received strong criticism last season after a £47.5m switch to the Etihad.
But with skipper Vincent Kompany getting on and Guardiola unable to rely on the Belgian’s fitness, Stones should be City’s starting centre-back again this season.
Centre-back: Nicolas Otamendi
The Argentine looks as brilliant as he does awful at times and spent much of the previous campaign paired with Stones.
Kompany’s return to fitness at the end of last season means Otamendi’s place will be under threat this term, starting in the USA.
Left-back: Aleksandar Kolarov
Frequently used at centre-back last season, the Serbian has the chance to make the No.3 spot his own in pre-season as he is the only senior left-back at the club.
Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy is a £45m Manchester City transfer target but Kolarov has a head-start on the Frenchman, assuming he arrives.
Holding midfield: Yaya Toure
The Ivorian’s turnaround from being completely out of favour under Guardiola to becoming a regular was perfectly capped off when he signed a new one-year deal this summer.
A City legend, Toure won’t play week in week out at 34 but he brings control, power and a goal threat from deep in the midfield.
Holding midfield: David Silva
Not a defensive midfielder despite his nominal position on the field, the Spanish genius orchestrates from deep with his eye for a pass a constant threat.
Alongside Toure the World Cup winner can do his best work, supplying the ammunition for those ahead of him while drifting between the lines.
Right wing: Bernardo Silva
One of City’s first summer signings was Portuguese playmaker Silva. The 22-year-old joined in a £42.5m deal from Monaco after lifting the Ligue 1 title last season.
Capable of playing anywhere behind the main forward, the Portugal international scored eight and assisted nine in the league last season. He will hope to nail down the right-wing berth.
Attacking midfield: Gabriel Jesus
The Brazilian enjoyed an explosive start to life in England, bagging seven goals in just eight top-flight starts following his £33m January move from Palmeiras.
He impressed on the right of midfield last season but, with the arrival of Bernardo Silva, could play behind Aguero as a No.10 this term as Guardiola tries to accommodate two of his key men.
Left midfield: Kevin De Bruyne
A Premier League record of 18 assists last season still wasn’t enough to get the Belgian playmaker the credit he deserves.
But Guardiola knows the importance of the Belgian and the fact he can play anywhere in midfield ensures him a spot in the Catalan’s starting XI.
Striker: Sergio Aguero
Top scorer for City yet again last season after netting 32 times in all competitions – his best return for the club – Aguero remains first-choice striker at the Etihad…for now.
Talk of Guardiola looking to offload the Argentine was quashed by the club’s owner Khaldoon Al-Mubarak but Aguero will need to hit the ground running in pre-season to hold onto his starting berth.