The season’s most eagerly awaited fixture is finally here. Come Monday night, the City of Manchester will either be painted a light shade of blue or a vibrant shade of red – thanks to the fans of the winning team.
Many believe the title race is as good as over. Manchester United are fifteen points clear at the top of the table, and arguably all City have left to play for are points in order to narrow the margin and salvage some much needed pride.
Last season saw City beat Manchester Utd 6-1 at Old Trafford. The result left the red devils shaken to the core and culminated in the reds loosing the title to their noisy neighbors’. But this season has seen Utd pick themselves up and play with such determination that even non Utd supporters have admired their show of gusto and spirit to get back on top.
One can only hope that the reds, after limping to a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup earlier in the week, have not let complacency set in, and they take to the field to avenge last seasons defeat, play like champions and remind City who is boss.
City on the other hand will have a point to prove – win and the point’s deficit will be reduced to twelve. Win and there will be the hope that Utd – mentally and physically – will begin to falter before clearing that final Premier League winning hurdle.
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, Monday April, 8th
Last season’s result: Man Utd 1 Man City 6
Manchester United form guide: WWWWWW
Manchester City form guide: WLWWLD
Manchester United leading scorer: Van Persie – 19
Manchester City leading scorer: Dzeko – 12
Possible team line-ups:
Manchester United 4-5-1: De Gea, Ferdinand, Jones, Da Silva, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Valencia, Nani, Van Persie
Manager: Alex Ferguson
Manchester City 4-5-1: Hart, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Zabaleta, Barry, Y Toure, Tevez, Nasri, Silva, Aguero
Manager: Roberto Mancini
Manchester United subs from: Lindegaard, Johnstone, Vidic, Evans, Cleverley, Anderson, Welbeck, Powell, Scholes, Buttner, Young, Smalling, Kagawa, Hernández
Manchester United injuries: Evans (hamstring), Vidic (back)
Manchester City subs from: Pantilimon, Wright, Razak, Kolorov, Milner, Dzeko, Lescott, K Touré, Sinclair, García, Boyata
Manchester City injuries: Rodwell (hamstring, 13 Apr), Richards (knee, 20 Apr), Maicon (knee, 20 Apr)
• Including the Community Shield match in 2011, the past five meetings between these sides have produced a total of 23 goals at an average of 4.6 per game
• City are the only team in the division to have kept more clean sheets (14) than United (11) this season
• Robin van Persie has gone nine games in all competitions with United without scoring, despite attempting 24 shots at goal in those appearances
• Nine of the 26 league goals conceded by City this season (35%) have come from outside the box, the largest proportion in the Premier League
• United are the only team in the top flight not to have a penalty awarded against them so far in 2012-13 (source: Guardiannews.com)
Prediction: Manchester United 2 Manchester City 2