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Iheanacho missing as United, City take Manchester derby to Houston



Arsenal battles Bayern Munich today in China
When it comes to city rivalries, few come bigger than the Manchester derby that sees Manchester United take on Manchester City. The match will be shown live to Nigerians by satellite television provider, Startimes, on its World Football and Premium channels.

But before the Manchester derby, German champions, FC Bayern München will take on London side, Arsenal in one of their pre-season matches in China.

Before Friday’s match in Houston, the Manchester sides have played each other 174 times, and so football lovers can look forward to a celebratory 175th in Houston, Texas.

It will be the first time in the history of these two giants of English football that they will face each other outside their home country as they square off in the International Champions Cup (ICC) in the NRG Stadium tomorrow.

For United coach, Jose Mourinho and his City counterpart, Pep Guardiola, the trip to the US, during which they will also play other teams, will provide them with an excellent opportunity to test new players and build the squad for the forthcoming season.

There is, however, one glaring omission in the Reds’ side as the Portuguese coach has not nominated his biggest signing, Romelu Lukaku, who made the short move from Liverpool (where he was playing for Everton) to Manchester.

Ironically, the Belgian international is already in the USA, where he was holidaying with his future team-mate Paul Pogba. When Mourinho announced his squad, the $96.6 million signing of the 25-year-old had not been finalised.

City coach, Guardiola, whose side are 22 victories behind United in the statistics, having won 50, while the Reds won 72, said he is looking forward to the trip.

“It will be amazing for the fans to see the passion of a Manchester derby in the States. We’re all very excited to begin our preparations for the new season in the USA.”

Missing from the trip are some big-name players, like Joe Hart, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Super Eagles’ Kelechi Iheanacho, Jason Denayer and Gabriel Jesus.

On way out
Guardiola has indicated that he will not be taking any players who do not feature in his plans for the new season, which would suggest that all of the players – apart from Jesus, who was injured playing in a friendly for Brazil against Argentina – are on their way out.

Like Mourinho, the Spanish coach has been able to write some pretty big cheques in an attempt to make sure that City’s fans do not endure a second successive season without a title.

He managed to sign Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica for $43.8 million and Portuguese striker, Bernardo Silva from Monaco, who cost some $10 million more. Both should get a taste of their first Manchester derby in Houston.

Guardiola did, however, fail to lure Dani Alves to the Etihad as the defender turned his back on City, even after meeting with Guardiola. Instead the former Barcelona and Juventus played followed the money and signed for big-spending Paris St Germain.

But even without Alves, Lukaku and some other big name players, football fans in Houston will be able to see a great derby played between two giants of English football.

Fans throughout the rest of the world need not worry though, as the derby and all other ICC games will be broadcast live and exclusive by StarTimes.

“City against United is one of the must-see derbies of world football and I am pleased that we can bring it to football fans throughout the world,” said Sports Director of the StarTimes Media Division, Cole He Xin.

Manchester United versus Manchester City will be broadcast live and exclusive on the StarTimes World Football and Sports Premium channels at 04:05 CAT on Friday.

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