Man Utd vs Man City: Injury News, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
In only the second-ever Manchester Derby to be played outside of the city, United battle City in the FA Cup Semifinals at Wembley Stadium for a spot in the final. The Reds come into this match full of confidence after they advanced to the Semifinals of the UEFA Champions League with a fully-deserved 3-1 aggregate win over Chelsea, however, their local rival goes to Wembley after a completely demoralizing loss against Liverpool.
The FA Cup, which was the Blues’ last realistic chance of winning a trophy in 1981, is a competition which forms matters for nothing, so Manchester United must ready for a tightly-contested match with their noisy neighbours.
The Reds have definitely endured a very tricky time getting to this stage facing two of their longest standing rivals, Liverpool and Arsenal, and then two teams, Southampton and Crawley Town, from the lower levels of English football. On the other hand, the Citizens have only one faced one Barclays Premier League team, Aston Villa, however, that has not stopped City from playing an extra two matches, resulting from replays against Leicester City and Notts County, to get to the semifinals.
This is the first time that these two clubs have met in the FA Cup since they clashed in the 5th Round of the competition in 2004 with United coming out victorious 4-2. But this is the second consecutive year that United and City have met in the semifinal, with the Reds, personally, prolonging their trophy-less drought with a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 aggregate win in the Carling Cup last season.
After losing the first match, United has ran their unbeaten streak to four games, winning three of them, but the last time around it something special to knock City off.
The Reeds earned a very classy, but hard-fought 2-1 win over City at Old Trafford, which was down to a precise counterattacking team goal and also a stroke of individual genius.
Nani capped off a very swift four-player, 100-yard move to give the Reds a deserved lead right before halftime, but it was harshly canceled out by David Silva, who got the unsuspecting, but telling touch on City’s equalizer. However, a brilliant bicycle kick by from Wayne Rooney proved that class that still separates the two Manchester clubs. At the time, the saw the Reds bounce back from their first loss in 30 Premier League matches in the best possible way, but it also put an end to City’s meek title aspirations this season as well.
Even though Roberto Mancini has failed to land any of the four different trophies from the competitions that they have been involved with, the defiant Italian will definitely see the FA Cup as his best chance to salvage his job and City’s season.
As expected, the City boss has failed to live up to the lofty expectations set forth for him and his over-compensated players, but even if he does happen to win this match, Mancini is facing a certain axe. To further compound his misery, Mancini will be without his savior, Carlos Tevez, who may or may not play for City again this season – or ever, if the transfer rumors are true.
With him in his best form of the season, Rooney will miss the 159th Manchester Derby through his unjustified suspension, but, thankfully, Sir Alex Ferguson is able to recall and fully fit and fresh Dimitar Berbatov to the line-up if he so chooses to do so. Unfortunately, Berbatov did not play any part in the Reds fantastic European win, but that will mean that he will be raring to go against City today.
With the Reds are still deeply involved in three different competitions, the games now are coming thick and fast, so the Gaffer will fully utilize his available squad. However, Sir Alex would have learned from the Reds’ failure a couple of seasons ago when they exited at this same stage on penalties to Everton, and it was down to not having a strong group of first team players available.
Throughout its history, the FA Cup has always tossed up either surprise result or a brilliant matches, so Wembley will have special feel to it for this Manchester Derby.
Out: W. Rooney (suspension), J. Evans (suspension), O. Hargreaves (shoulder), A. Lindegaard (knee); Questionable: Rafael (bruise)
E. van der Sar; Rafael, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; Nani, P. Scholes, D. Gibson, Anderson, A. Valencia; D. Berbatov
Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1
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