After both Manchester sides suffered from 1-0 defeats in the UEFA Champions League this week, the two teams come up against each other in what could be called the first round battle, in the race to 2012/13 Barclays Premier League victory.
Unaffected by the midweek loss, Manchester United eased their way to the knockout stages of the Champions League, finishing top of their group on 12 points. Across to the rivaling blues and the champions of England, Manchester City, they failed to win a single group game, which is a first in the history of English clubs in the Champions League. This exit could however guide them on to domestic success, without having to worry about midweek fixtures in Europe.
Moving onto the big clash, the game is scheduled to kick off on Sunday at 1.30pm inside the Etihad Stadium. City remain unbeaten at home, in over two years and last time the two clubs met here it ended with a 1-0 win to City after a bullet header from the captain, Vincent Kompany. If they repeat that success, they’ll go top of the table level on points with United, with goal difference once again setting the two sides apart.
In form Robin Van Persie could potentially add a few more goals to his tally, against a Man City side who have suffered from defensive inconsistency so far this season. Although after Man Utd’s trip to Reading, which featured a seven goal thriller, you can easily see a combination of the two Argentinians (Tevez and Aguero) having a field day if supplied with chances from midfield.
Mancini without his midfield maestro, David Silva, along with Richards, Milner and others. Sir Alex is missing a few players also, with the likes of Nani and Vidic, out due to hamstring and knee problems but nonetheless, we expect to see an action packed game full of big challenges and plenty of goals.
I can’t see City losing the game but I expect United to play a more defensive role to keep themselves top of the league. They know City can punish on the break and I think they eventually will, taking a 2-0 win from the derby.