25 March, 2014 - 14:15

Premier League fixtures: Manchester United vs Manchester City

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The most iteresting facts about Manchester derby in our preview

Tournament importance

The derby was originally scheduled for 1 March, but was postponed due to the League Cup final, where Manchester City played against Sunderland. But for The Black Cats, who had knocked United out of the competition in the semis, the derby in Premier League could have been postponed for the same derby in the League Cup. However, the Red Devils did not make it to the final, and eventually all but failed in the race for the top four in the championship.

Manchester City were knocked out from both the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League this month and can concentrate on catching up with Chelsea in Premier League. Despite trailing by six pounts, they have three games in hand and better goal difference. By winning at Old Trafford, the Citizens would jump past Liverpool and boost title hopes. On the other side of the moon, it is more about saving image and prestige for David Moyes and his players.

Manchester United made an icredible comeback to make it past Greek champions Olympiacos in the Champions League and beat West Ham United courtesy of Wayne Rooney brace to return some inspiration to Theatre of Dreams.

Manchester City have not conceded in Premier League in the last four matches and scored five to reckless Fulham last Saturday.

Squads

Robin van Persie knee injury is a major blow for David Moyes. Rio Ferdinand is set for return after sitting out the game in London to replace Michael Carrick at centre-back position. However, the veteran defender was outclassed during the derby at Etihad last September and could struggle against the likes of Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Samir Nasri. Sergio Aguero is the main blow for Manuel Pellegrini. Vincent Kompany will return from suspension that he served against Fulham.

History

City beat United 4-1 in September and won on last two occasions at Old Trafford, 2-1 last season and 6-1 in 2011. The teams met 166 times to date: United got 69 victories and City got 47.

Bookies

William Hill: Manchester United - 3,30. Draw - 3,30. Manchester City - 2,20.

Prediction

Moyes’ United have shown inability to fight against strong opposition: of all six clubs that lie above them in the table, United have only beaten Arsenal once and lost to Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City, Liverpool (twice) and Everton. But if there is a tiny probability they could still reach the top four, with Arsenal struggling to keep up with the leaders, they must absolutely win at Old Trafford. Otherwise, they would hardly be able to move from the seventh. However, given the inconsistency and lack of creativity in the attack, common for United under David Moyes, it is unlikely they could compete against City in midfield, dominated by Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, and will suffer yet another setback at home.

Manchester United vs Manchester City
25.03.2014. Manchester. Old Trafford. 19.45.
Referee: Michael Oliver.

photo: telegraph.co.uk

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