The stand out fixture of this weekend is undoubtedly the Manchester derby which takes place on Sunday at the Etihad, with United aiming to pile more misery on the home side who have endured a wretched last 10 days after they blew a two goal lead against CSKA Moscow in Russia, lost 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground to West Ham before Newcastle United compounded the misery with a 2-0 win at the home of the Premier League Champions in the Capital One Cup.
United meanwhile come into the derby on the back of a morale-boosting, last gasp, 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against the league leaders Chelsea though their away record has been woeful this season. Louis van Gaal has managed to steady the ship somewhat as United are unbeaten in their last 4 games, and with just 3 points separating them from West Ham in 4th, even a point here will help them in the long run for the battle of Champions League places.
David Silva has been ruled out of Sunday’s match after damaging his knee ligaments in the 2-0 loss against Newcastle United on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.
Yaya Toure was substitute around the hour mark because of a ‘tired groin’, but the Ivorian is expected to start for City.
Frank Lampard will be out because of the thigh injury he suffered in the 4-1 win over Tottenham.
Van Gaal brushed aside concerns regarding Wayne Rooney suffering an injury and the United captain will start having served his three match suspension.
Falcao missed the clash with Chelsea due to a thigh injury which he picked up in training and the manager declared him unavailable for Sunday’s match.
Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are doubts because of a calf and ankle problems respectively though Antonio Valencia should start from the bench.
Manchester City: 4-2-2-2: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernando, Toure; Navas, Milner; Aguero, Dzeko
Manchester United: 4-1-3-2: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Blind; Fellaini, Herrera, Di María; Rooney, Van Persie.
- Manchester City have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 matches against Manchester United in all competitions.
- Manchester United have not won any of their last 6 away matches in the Premier League since their 4-0 over Newcastle.
- David De Gea could reach 50 clean sheets for Manchester United on Sunday.
- Wayne Rooney holds the record for the most goals scored in Manchester derbies with 11 goals.
- Yaya Toure has scored in 3 of his last 4 Premier League appearances against Manchester United.
Last five meetings
25 Mar 2014 Man Utd 0 – 3 Man City Premier League
22 Sep 2013 Man City 4 – 1 Man Utd Premier League
08 Apr 2013 Man Utd 1 – 2 Man City Premier League
09 Dec 2012 Man City 2 – 3 Man Utd Premier League
30 Apr 2012 Man City 1 – 0 Man Utd Premier League
Aguero has 9 goals so far from 9 appearances with two of those coming from the bench. He has also scored in each of City’s last two Champions League games and will relish facing United’s much maligned defence. However, the striker is lucky to not face any actions after his apparent stamp on West Ham United’s Mark Noble last weekend. With 4.8 shots on goal per game, the 26-year-old – who scored 4 goals against Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago – will be City’s main attacking threat. Adept at dribbling, he has completed 2.2 take ons per game this season and has a good scoring record against United having scored a brace in the corresponding fixture last season and it won’t be surprising if he nudges ahead of Diego Costa as the top scorer of the Premier League on Sunday.
Angel Di Maria
Di Maria was a shadow of himself against Chelsea because of a thigh strain he suffered in the 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns. United will be hoping that the Argentine will be fully fit for the trip to the Etihad and adds to his tally of 3 goals and 4 assists from 7 appearances in the league. He has attempted 3.1 shots per game and will be a constant threat to Kompany and co. who haven’t looked convincing at all in the past two weeks. Di Maria has played 3.3 key passes per game and attempted an average of 2.3 dribbles per game. If played in midfield, he will look to exploit the spaces behind Yaya Toure who isn’t reliable defensively. Di Maria will also be United’s main outlet when they counter attack because City will look to dominate possession. If Di Maria is on song, United stand a strong chance to get atleast a result on Sunday.
City beat United by an aggregate score of 7-1 last season, but Sunday’s match will be anything but a one-sided affair. With both defences suspect in recent times, there’s a high possibility of an open game with loads of goals as well as loads of bookings, and odds of 2.15 for more than 4 yellow cards on Tailorbet should be easy money. The home side though should edge out their opponents in a narrow win in what should a treat for the neutrals.