Manchester Derby: Preview, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
The 158th installment of the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford has the billing to not only be the most exciting one of all-time, but it also holds serious Barclays Premier League title implications as well.
Will Rio Make Tevez A Non-Factor Again?
Following their shocking loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, the Reds have gifted their Premier League title rivals a glimmer of hope, so the Reds will need to make sure that they keep their winless skid stops at just one game, but it will not be easy as City comes to Old full of confidence following their dominating win over West Bromwich Albion.
Including this match, there are only 13 games remaining on United’s Premier League schedule, so the Reds can ill-afford to drop anymore points at such a vital part of the season – especially to their bitter inner city, title rival.
Due to the millions of dollars that have been splashed by City’s new owners in the last couple of years, there really is little between the two clubs now, so the Reds desperately need to regain the focus that helped them match their best-ever streak in the league quickly.
Going into this widely anticipated match, United maintains a slim five-point advantage over City, having played a match less, but a victory by the Reds could ultimately see them personally extend the Citizens’ league title drought to 43 years.
Hopefully though, this rendition of the Manchester derby will not end up like it did at the City of Manchester Stadium in November.
With hundreds of millions of fans watching, the match between United and City turned into a stalemate as the game ended nil-nil. To be fair, neither club showed the urgency nor the desire to win all three points, so draw may have been the fairest result. With that said, United came closest to scoring when Dimitar Berbatov’s well struck volley was expertly kept out by City’s goalkeeper, Joe Hart.
Like that match, City have stuttered in their last five matches, and their win against Albion saw them bring a mini two-match winless streak to an abrupt end. On their travels thus far, City have only conceded 12 goals this season, which tops the Premier League, but something will have to give, because United has the best goal scoring record at home with 37 goals scored.
Where City has struggled this season is not on the defensive end, which they are tied for the league-lead with 22 goals against, but the Blues offensive output has not been very poor.
In 26 games, City has only scored 42 goals, which is 13 less than United, so they have been forced to be involved in a lot of tight matches. In games decided by the odd goal this season, the Blues have only won six of their 10, meanwhile, United have won seven of their eight – only loss was against Wolves.
According to Carlos Tevez, who scored nearly 43% of City’s goals this season, David Silva is the best signing since they started all their big spending spree – which includes the signing of him! Silva, once linked with a move to Old Trafford before moving to the City of Manchester Stadium, has done well in his debut season by scoring a goal and registering five assists in his 24 Premier League games.
Tevez has continued to put pressure on Dimitar Berbatov for the Premier League’s Golden Boot award by scoring 18 goals this season, which is also just one shy of his total in his two seasons at United, but the Reds need to cognizant of his new striker partner.
City continued their spending as they are desperately trying to end their 35 years of misery by forking out £27m to capture Edin Dzeko from VfL Wolfsburg. The big Bosnian has already tried stoking up the rivalry with his unfounded comments that City are just as big as United, has already tallied his first goal for the Citizens – a late equalizer to salvage a 1-1 draw with Notts County.
The news has come in that Rio Ferdinand’s calf injury, which forced him out of the match against Wolves, will see him miss out on the derby and is likely to be out of action until the end of the month. In his absence, Sir Alex Ferguson with go with either Jonny Evans or Chris Smalling, and neither of the young center-halves featured for their respective countries’ international friendlies during the week.
With Javier Hernandez traveling back from the United States from Mexico’s midweek match, Sir Alex will more than likely remain with an unchanged front line of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. The Manchester Derby has an added spice with the incentive that winner could gain the upper hand in the Barclays Premier League title race, so hopefully United will use their experience to knock City out contention.
Out: A. Valencia (leg), O. Hargreaves (hamstring); Doubtful: R. Ferdinand (calf)
E. van der Sar; Rafael, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; Nani, D. Fletcher, P. Scholes, R. Giggs; W. Rooney, D. Berbatov
Manchester United 3 Manchester City 2
Submitted by The United Religion
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