- Manchester United travel to Manchester City on Thursday knowing a victory would see them climb above their city rivals in the Premier League table. Having spent a large part of the season flitting between sixth and fifth in the rankings, Jose Mourinho's men now have two realist...Manchester United travel to Manchester City on Thursday knowing a victory would see them climb above their city rivals in the Premier League table. Having spent a large part of the season flitting between sixth and fifth in the rankings, Jose Mourinho's men now have two realistic avenues into the Champions League next season. 'Rooney has reached the end at Man Utd' United will take on Celta Vigo in the semi-final stage of the Europa League, having overcome Anderlecht in the previous round, with a place in Europe's premier competition secured if they lift the trophy. A top-four finish now looks likely, however. With Liverpool stuttering, United's 23-game unbeaten run has now put them in a position to jump above both their closest rivals into third place. MAN UTD INJURIES United are amidst somewhat of a defensive crisis at present. Marcos Rojo suffered a knee injury during the club's European meeting with Anderlecht, leading to him being stretchered off midway through the first half, and will miss the rest of the season. Fellow central defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are also doubts ahead of Thursday's derby clash, though Mourinho may well be forced into involving one of the two due to their desperate situation. Elsewhere, Juan Mata will also miss out after being ruled out for the season following groin surgery, while Ander Herrera's ankle knock picked up against Burnley may also force him out. Paul Pogba limped off in the 2-0 win over Burnley and could be rested. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not feature again this season having picked up a knee injury during the meeting with Anderlecht. MAN UTD SUSPENSIONS With the latest Premier League yellow card amnesty having passed, both teams are well in the clear when it comes to suspensions. Besides any red cards accrued between now and the season's end, only players who have been booked 15 times over the course of the campaign can now be handed a ban. MAN UTD POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP Ibrahimovic's injury means Rashford will likely continue in a central role up front while Daley Blind is set to remain alongside Eric Bailly in defence. Elsewhere, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini are likely to start in the central midfield positions, should the former overcome his ankle issue, with Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ashley Young in front. MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS Pep Guardiola's City line ups have been almost impossible to predict during his time at the Etihad, with a number of players taking up unfamiliar roles as part of the Catalan's vision. City expect Sergio Aguero and David Silva to start the derby, having lost both during the club's FA Cup semi-final tie with Arsenal on Sunday. Gabriel Jesus could return to the bench on Thursday, while captain Vincent Kompany is set to start his third game in a row as John Stones recovers from injury. BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS The last time these two sides met on a Thursday in the Premier League was in November 1994, with Manchester United winning 5-0 thanks to an Andrei Kanchelskis hat-trick. Indeed, the last four league meetings between these two sides at Turf Moor have produced just two goals in total. Jose Mourinho has failed to win any of his last four Premier League games against Manchester City (D2, L2) – this after winning six successive top-flight encounters with the Citizens between December 2005 and February 2014. Pep Guardiola could become the fourth manager to win both home and away Manchester derbies in a debut top-flight season after John Bentley, Sven-Göran Eriksson and Manuel Pellegrini. Aguero has scored eight goals in 10 competitive appearances for Manchester City against Manchester United but has failed to score in his last two games against them. Only Alan Shearer (190) has scored in more different Premier League games than Wayne Rooney (149 – level with Frank Lampard & Andrew Cole). TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME The game at the Etihad kicks off at 20:00 UK time, with live television coverage on Sky Sports 1 in the UK.
- Manchester United star Marcus Rashford says the benefits of playing alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be seen for years to come, describing his attacking team-mate as "irreplaceable'. Herrera is as good as Kante The 35-year-old will play no further part for Jose Mourinho's sid...
'You'll see the benefits in years to come' - Rashford reveals Ibrahimovic's huge impact as his mentorManchester United star Marcus Rashford says the benefits of playing alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be seen for years to come, describing his attacking team-mate as "irreplaceable'. Herrera is as good as Kante The 35-year-old will play no further part for Jose Mourinho's side this season having sustained a knee injury in United's Europa League quarter-final tie against Anderlecht, and will see his current deal at Old Trafford expire in the summer. Speculation surrounding Ibrahimovic's future has linked the striker, who has scored 28 goals this season for United, with a move to MLS, though Rashford believes it will be impossible to replace the Swede. “You will see the benefits in years to come,” he told The Telegraph. “What I have learnt from him is irreplaceable.” “His influence on the younger players, especially, is fantastic. We want that to continue because he is making us into better players. "Now, when I go to the left or right, I see it differently to how I pictured it last season. They are things I didn’t have naturally inside me. I didn’t feel uncomfortable in the wide role, but when something is different it takes a while to get used to it. For me, the development has been going great all the way through. "Next season I think I will have come across most situations that are going to occur.” Rashford, who suffered somewhat of a mini-drought in front of goal until a strike against Sunderland sparked a run of three in five, believes that his role in a wider position will allow him to follow in the footsteps of some of the best in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Neymar have all transformed from the wing to centre-forward in recent years, and 19-year-old Rashford is looking to implement what he has learned to lead United to silverware in future. Martial triggers €10m Monaco clause “You look at all the strikers in the world now, I can only think of two, three who are No 9s – Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez,” Rashford said. “Sergio Aguero? You could play him deeper as a No 10. "The qualities a striker needs now are different to what they used to be. When you look in the first team here and there are players who have won 15, 20 trophies, you want to try and live up to that and even exceed what they have done.”
- Manchester City are favourites to beat Manchester United to a top-four spot in the Premier League due to their absence from Europe, claims Jose Mourinho. Champions League hopefuls City and United will clash in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday in another ins...Manchester City are favourites to beat Manchester United to a top-four spot in the Premier League due to their absence from Europe, claims Jose Mourinho. Champions League hopefuls City and United will clash in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday in another installment of Pep Guardiola versus Mourinho. Wenger: Alexis won't join PL rival City – fourth in the table – are only a point ahead of United, who are also juggling Europa League commitments ahead of a semi-final tie against Celta Vigo. And Mourinho heaped pressure on rival Guardiola – who went to Old Trafford and won the reverse game in September – amid United's congested fixture list. "They play now one game a week until the end of the season while we have the [Europa League] semi-finals which are very important for us," Mourinho said. "Obviously to play one match per week brings teams and players to other levels, so it's more difficult for us but we are going to try." Mourinho continued: "It doesn't matter what happens in terms of titles we win or don't win. "I always feel that the season is very important for me, the players and the club. "I would say this can be the first season of the next five or six or seven. It can be the first season of better years. "And the reality is even in the first season of better years we won already [the Community Shield and EFL Cup], and if we manage to win the Europa League and in August to play the European Super Cup against the Champions League winner, it will be magnificent."
- Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has shrugged off comments from “enemy” Xavi regarding a possible move to Manchester City for Dele Alli. The Barcelona legend has suggested that a big-money bid from the Etihad Stadium could arrive this summer, with Pep Guardiola said to b...Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has shrugged off comments from “enemy” Xavi regarding a possible move to Manchester City for Dele Alli. The Barcelona legend has suggested that a big-money bid from the Etihad Stadium could arrive this summer, with Pep Guardiola said to be a big fan of a “special player”. Pochettino, though, has made it clear that he has no intention of parting with any of his prized assets. 'Eriksen good enough for Barca' He has also accused Xavi, a former rival from his days at Catalan rivals Espanyol, of talking too much. "Xavi is in a period where he loves to talk. He is working for Manchester City, maybe," smiled Pochettino, clearly half-joking. "He is playing in Qatar and he was a Barcelona player, he's my enemy. He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me. He's Barcelona – a player, a fan, you know. "I remember the game when Xavi fell down [in 2009], it wasn't a penalty, but the referee awarded it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the penalty and Barcelona won the game. Xavi fell and said ‘penalty!’ and it was given. "On the replays, it was very funny because nobody touched him. At Tottenham we are doing things and the club has a lot of potential, so there is focus on a talented player." Pochettino added on his desire to keep an exciting Spurs squad together as it chases down the Premier League title once again: "My relationship with [chairman] Daniel Levy is very close. We have a plan to improve and we will deliver it when we finish the season. Poch: No guarantee that Alli stays "The players we want to keep, we will keep, because the chairman said to me: 'We don’t need the money.' "If we sell some players, it is because we want to. We will sell players because of the players we want to sign. "For our fans, it is so clear that all the decisions we take are to try to improve the team, try to be more competitive next season."
- Arsene Wenger is “sure” Arsenal will not sell Alexis Sanchez to a Premier League rival, emulating Robin van Persie’s switch to Manchester United in 2012. The Chilean forward continues to be heavily linked with a summer transfer away from Emirates Stadium as he prepares to enter ...Arsene Wenger is “sure” Arsenal will not sell Alexis Sanchez to a Premier League rival, emulating Robin van Persie’s switch to Manchester United in 2012. The Chilean forward continues to be heavily linked with a summer transfer away from Emirates Stadium as he prepares to enter the final 12 months of his current contract. Wenger: Sanchez a slow starter Manchester City are reported to be leading the chase, with Alexis having previously worked with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. Wenger, though, is adamant that 28-year-old will be made to stay put even if he does not commit to fresh terms, with there no chance that a deal will be done with another English top-flight team. He told reporters: “I don’t think that you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. “The question is more, why would you sell him to another [Premier League] club? You want to be as strong as you can be, and not strengthen the other teams. “I let Van Persie go in the last year of his contract because Van Persie was 29, going on 30 and he was signing a long-term contract. That is not the case with Alexis. I personally think he will sign and stay here. Wenger: I'm looking at transfer targets “Even if he doesn't sign a new deal, I will make him stay? Yes. Would I rather keep him than sell to a Premier League rival? Yes. "But first of all, he is happy here. His desire is to stay. That is what I deeply believe. "The disagreements are more contractual, not on the desire. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement, so I think it will happen.” Wenger added on the value of keeping a player whose contract is running down: “You amortise [gradually pay off] a transfer during the length of the contract. So when you play an amount of money, every year you deduct - when he signs for four years - 25 per cent of a contract. “The problem that you have to analyse, always, firstly is, 'Can you find better? For what kind of money?' Matthaus wants Alexis at Bayern "The inflation is so big that sometimes today even mathematically there can be advantages to keep a player until the end of a contract.” Alexis has netted 22 goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season, with the most recent of those seeing Arsenal edge out Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.