City go in to the game off the back of a morale boosting win at home to Sevilla, whereas Manchester United had to travel to Moscow to grind out a 1-1 draw and leave their Champions League group wide open.
Pellegrini heads to Old Trafford still with Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Clichy and Delph injured, however Aleksander Kolarov came on in the Champions League win midweek and may start.
Van Gaal faces no fresh injury concerns use ahead of the derby, although he may think about some rotation after the tough away trip to Russia in midweek. There is still a doubt over the fitness of Ashley Young who isn't likely to be risked despite his heroics in the same fixture last season
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Herrera, Mata, Depay, Martial; Rooney
I think United will go with the energy of Schneiderlin and Herrera to combat the somewhat lack of energy Yaya Toure brings. They’ll try and target the Ivorian as City’s weak link in defending and try and attack through the middle of the park with Herrera and Mata.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, De Bruyne, Sterling; Bony
City’s team usually picks itself, particularly with a few injuries to the squad. Kolarov featured midweek and may start ahead of the impressive Sagna. It will depend whether Pellegrini wants more stability defensively with Sagna or wants Sterling and Kolarov to strike up their left sided partnership again that proved so fruitful at the start of the season
I fully expect Kompany to come back in to the side. I was surprised of his omission for a crucial Champions League game, I’d be amazed and pretty annoyed at Pellegrini if the hidden reason is still the fact he turned out for Belgium.
Anthony Martial - The big money signing has been great since joining United. He’s got pace, energy, and can score goals, almost everything they thought they would get with Di Maria. They’ll look to get the ball to him as much as possible, particularly if City do go with Kolarov at left-back.
Mario Fellaini - Not likely to start but should United not be winning the game, you can guarantee the big Belgian will be brought on high up the pitch to put some aerial pressure on the City back line. Maybe Van Gaal will ruffle a few feathers and bring him on for captain Wayne Rooney should the striker not be pulling his weight again
How will the game go?
Both teams will start slowly, picking and probing, trying to find chinks in the oppositions armour. I think the first half will be a cagey affair but City exposing United’s flanks, particularly Navas up against Rojo. De Bruyne needs to shake off the attentions of Schneiderlin, who will likely be man marking the Belgian for the duration.
Van Gaal will know that City don’t have much to come off the bench, so if his starting XI can beat City’s then they’ll have a great chance of winning the game. I think both teams will score but I fancy City to edge it. Wilfried Bony’s time to shine.
Score Prediction: 1-2