Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have both started the last five games for Manchester United and it is the first time that either has had five consecutive starts in over a year.
Injuries and the form of others kept the pair from playing alongside each other regularly under Sir Alex Ferguson toward the end but David Moyes has chosen to use his most experienced defenders so far this season, something he has explained is down to his desire to have a strong start to the Premier League.
Ferdinand and Vidic’s history is marred with injuries and there is a fear that they may flare up given how much football they are playing but ahead of the derby this weekend, Moyes said he will rotate when the time was right.
“It is something which I’m aware of [their fitness],” he said.
“I just felt at the moment that I’ve taken over a new job and it was important I got a little bit of rhythm. I don’t like the word ‘rotate’, but I will change players at different times.
“I just felt, at the moment, because of the start to the Premier League that we had, my mind was made up that I was going to keep it quite strong in the opening period of it and then see what happens after that.
“Their fitness has been great, the two of them. They felt really good through pre-season and I think they’re both enjoying it.”
So far in Moyes’ reign, United have looked very sold defensively and that is largely in part due to having a regular pairing of Vidic and Ferdinand.
Despite their age, they are still United’s best defenders and have shown it with some fantastic form this season. The big worry ahead of the derby is whether their legs will have recovered in time to play against what will be an agile and pacey Manchester City attack.
Moyes knows that with such a busy September, he will be forced to rotate the squad but it is unlikely that he will start doing that on Sunday in the biggest game of the season so far.
If United can walk away with three points from the Etihad, it would have been a brilliant start to the season and Moyes’ tactical choices would have played a major part in that.