5 talking points ahead of Man Utd and Man City's historic friendly in Beijing


Manchester City and Manchester United are set to do battle in an intriguing and historic friendly as part of the International Champions Cup in Beijing.

Here are five of the key talking points ahead of the China encounter.

1. Mourinho and Guardiola renew hostilities

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho from Portugal, left, shakes hand with FC Barcelona's coach Pep Guardiola

The managers endured a fractious relationship in Spain, with things often becoming heated as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola battled for the La Liga crown with Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. That rivalry will be reignited for the first time on Monday and, even though both downplayed talk of hostility in the build-up, footballing eyes across the world will be trained on them.

2. First Manchester derby on the road

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal as Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta looks dejected

City's financial backing has seen them becoming regular challengers for a Premier League title that was so often housed at Old Trafford over recent decades. The increased competition has fuelled a rivalry that has headed to foreign shores for the first time. Monday's International Champions Cup friendly in Beijing will be the first time they have met on international soil and few would expect it to be the last.

3. Will Chinese fans fill the stands?

Chinese fans of Manchester United's goalkeeper David De Gea watch the team's training session at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Beijing

With such a clamour for Premier League football in China, eyebrows were raised when the United and Borussia Dortmund players emerged to a half-empty stadium in Shanghai on Friday. It seems prohibitively high ticket prices rather than a lack of interest was the issue, but organisers are hopeful there will be more fans in the ground on Monday.

4. The Bird's Nest pitch

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, right, dives for a ball as fellow goalkeeper Sergio Romero watches during the team's training session at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Beijing

There remains fears those planning to attend the game on Monday could be left disappointed. Heavy rainfall over the past week has damaged the Bird's Nest playing surface, with City and United training at the nearby Olympic Sports Centre on the eve of the game in a bid to protect the pitch. An International Champions Cup source said the pitch was "fine", but heavy rain is expected overnight that could make matters worse and potentially even force it off. If they do play, expect a far tamer derby clash than you have seen before.

5. Will we see some big names?

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, second from left, sprints during the team's training session at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Beijing

City fielded a youthful side in the loss to Bayern Munich as their players started to filter back from extended breaks following summer international exertions. Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and David de Gea were in attendance in Shanghai but not in the squad as Dortmund triumphed 4-1, with the troublesome pitch perhaps ending any hope of Chinese fans seeing such heroes in the flesh.