TEAM NEWS: Balotelli starts for Manchester City against United

The Italian striker has been given a starting place by Roberto Mancini, while Sir Alex Ferguson has gone with a strike partnership of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie
Mario Balotelli has been handed a starting place up front ahead of Carlos Tevez, with the Argentine having to settle for the Manchester City bench for their derby clash against Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson has gone with an attacking line-up, choosing a midfield combination of Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young starting on the wings for the visitors.

Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and David Silva will play behind Balotelli, while Pablo Zabaleta has got the nod at right-back ahead of Maicon for the hosts.

Despite City's aerial threat, Sir Alex has opted for the pace of Rafael ahead of Chris Smalling's height at right-back, while young goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is on the bench for the Red Devils.
revealed on Saturday that Valencia was in contention for a surprise return to the first team after injuring his hip during United's 1-0 defeat to Norwich City in November and the Scot has indeed decided that his star winger is fit enough to face the Premier League champions.

Manchester City starting XI:
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; Nasri, Aguero, Silva; Balotelli

Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Maicon, Kolo Toure, Garcia, Tevez, Dzeko

Manchester United starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Young; Rooney, Van Persie

Subs: Johnstone, Jones, Smalling, Giggs, Scholes, Chicharito, Welbeck