Manchester United’s FA Cup quarterfinal pairing with Wolverhampton Wanderers has complicated plans to re-schedule the Old Trafford derby against Manchester City for the first week of April, sources have told ESPN FC.
United had been due to host City in the 178th Manchester derby on March 16, but the fixture has now been postponed due to both clubs being involved in the FA Cup that weekend.
Discussions between the two Manchester clubs, the Premier League and local authorities had led to plans being centred on United and City meeting on either April 2 or 3.
But with United and Wolves due to meet in the Premier League at Molineux on April 6 – the date of the first FA Cup semifinal – that fixture must also now be re-scheduled with one of the two clubs guaranteed a place in the last four.
With Wolves and United needing to find a new date in the calendar for their league game, the two clubs could schedule the fixture on Apr 2 or 3, potentially forcing the Manchester derby to be pushed back until late April.
No decision on a new date for United-City is expected to be confirmed until after the second leg of City’s Champions League round-of-16 tie against Schalke on March 12, with dates in the weeks commencing April 8 and 15 available if both Manchester clubs fail to reach the quarterfinals.
But if United and City make it through to the FA Cup semifinals and are then drawn against each other, there may be little appetite on both sides to stage a such a crucial Premier League derby, for United’s top four aspirations and City’s title ambitions, in the midweek before the cup semis at Wembley.
With United needing to overturn a 2-0 Champions League first leg deficit against Paris Saint Germain at Parc des Princes on Mar 6, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are outsiders in their bid to progress to the quarterfinals.
But if City continue in the Champions League and reach the latter stages, at the same time as overcoming Swansea to book a place in the FA Cup semifinals, Pep Guardiola’s team will face an increasingly congested fixture list.
City will have to rearrange their home game against Cardiff City on April 6 if they reach the FA Cup semifinals, with April 2 or 3 and April 23 the only dates currently available.
The Premier League season ends on May 12, with