The Numbers Game: Free-scoring City aim to better Guardiola record as Ten Hag looks to end sorry run

Premier League football returns in full fashion this weekend for the first time in four weeks, with the Manchester derby a highlight.

Free-scoring Manchester City have excelled so far this term, only dropping points in draws against Aston Villa and Newcastle United, while Manchester United have won their past four after starting the season with back-to-back losses.

United have already shown intent in key matches with victories against Arsenal and Liverpool, while City are yet to face one of the established 'top six' after their clash with Tottenham was postponed.

Ahead of the game, Stats Perform has dived into the Opta stats to highlight the key angles of the match.

City's pursuit of dominance

Victory for City would mark the third in a row in the Premier League against United for the first time since a streak of four wins between April 2013 and November 2014 – including a 4-1 triumph in this fixture last season.

Defeat for United would also be their 18th in the Premier League against their cross-city rivals, equalling Liverpool and Chelsea for the most losses they have suffered in the history of the competition.

City were last beaten at home against Tottenham in February and have lost only 15 of 117 Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola at the helm, though he has won only two of six in the league against United at the venue.

Guardiola stat
Guardiola stat

United's solid form

Four victories in a row in the Premier League for United, on the back of four consecutive defeats, has put Erik ten Hag's side in good form heading into a crucial stage of the season and the club have not won five league games on the spin since April 2021 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

While City have home advantage on Sunday, the away side in the Manchester derby have won 21 times in the Premier League, with no fixture being won by the visitors more times in the competition's history – three of those being for United against Guardiola's City.

United have also won two of their past three against City at the Etihad Stadium, with a 2-0 victory in March 2021 and a 2-1 triumph in December 2019.

Haaland's haunts

Hat-tricks in back-to-back Premier League home matches heading into the Manchester derby have put Erling Haaland in with an opportunity to secure further history, with no player in the competition's history netting a treble in three consecutive home games before.

City's dominance at home is not just down to the former Borussia Dortmund man, however, as they have won each of their past seven Premier League matches at home, scoring at least three goals on each occasion – a run that stretches back to last season.

No team have won eight straight matches in the top flight of English football while scoring at least three goals in each since Tottenham between March and September 1965.

Guardiola's free-scoring side have scored 10 goals in the first half of matches and 13 in the second half, both of which are more than the eight goals United have in total – while United have conceded 75 per cent of their goals in the opening half (6/8).

Haaland goals
Haaland goals

Ten Hag seeks to end sorry run

Ten Hag has never faced off against Guardiola during the pair's managerial career and he will be looking to end a sorry run for United managers in his first Manchester derby since taking over at the club.

Each of the five previous United managers to have taken charge of a Premier League match against City in the league have lost their first – with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick all suffering defeats.

That leaves Alex Ferguson as the last United manager to win his first league match against City, which came way back in March 1987.