Manchester United - Manchester City Preview: Only pride at stake for Mancini's men with title race all but over
Sir Alex Ferguson's men are enjoying a 15-point lead over their cross-city rivals but the champions will be looking to avenge their 3-2 defeat at the Etihad earlier this season
By Tim Poole
Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Young
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Milner, Tevez, Silva
Sir Alex Ferguson is still without Darren Fletcher, who is out for the season, but full-back Rafael is expected to return from a groin injury.
However, there could still be a place for Phil Jones or Chris Smalling at right-back, though the experienced pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are expected to start at centre-half.
Up front, Sir Alex's wealth of options means Chicharito, Danny Welbeck or Shinji Kagawa could be in contention to start ahead of Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie.
The visitors, meanwhile, are still without injured full-back Maicon (knee) but could welcome Micah Richards (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) back in time for Monday's clash.
Out-of-favour defender Joleon Lescott is likely to continue on the bench for Roberto Mancini's men, though City's top scorer in the Premier League Edin Dzeko could be in contention for a starting place.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester United are on course for a record 21st domestic title. City pipped them to the post last year, winning their first title in 44 years but United now look set to regain the trophy with a 15-point lead.
- The Red Devils can do the double over City with victory on Monday after a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season.
- Robin van Persie (pictured right) is Manchester United's top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions this season, but he has not netted in his last nine games for the club.
- Sir Alex's men have not finished outside of the top three since 1991. They have also finished at least second in their last eight consecutive league campaigns.
- Manchester City have lost just once in their last seven games in all competitions.
- City have scored 15 fewer goals than United this season, subsequently making their goal difference weaker than that of their cross-city rivals by 10.
- Away form has been the biggest problem for Mancini's men, with City suffering three defeats and five draws on the road. In stark contrast, the Premier League champions have only lost once and drawn three times at the Etihad, amassing 11 wins.
- Manchester City have beaten the Red Devils 16 times at Old Trafford in their history, though they have lost to United 36 times at the same ground.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City
- 16.02 %
Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City
- 14.22 %
Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City
- 8.93 %
|Premier League (EPL)||25 Mar 2014||Manchester United 0 - Manchester City 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Sep 2013||Manchester City 4 - Manchester United 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||8 Apr 2013||Manchester United 1 - Manchester City 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Dec 2012||Manchester City 2 - Manchester United 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Apr 2012||Manchester City 1 - Manchester United 0|
|20 Apr 2014||Everton 2 - Manchester United 0||EPL|
|9 Apr 2014||FC Bayern München 3 - Manchester United 1||UCL|
|5 Apr 2014||Newcastle United 0 - Manchester United 4||EPL|
|1 Apr 2014||Manchester United 1 - FC Bayern München 1||UCL|
|29 Mar 2014||Manchester United 4 - Aston Villa 1||EPL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
After being rested against Chelsea in the FA Cup, the England striker is expected to feature heavily on Monday - meaning Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic may be in for a rough ride. As well as scoring six goals in his last five international matches, the 27-year-old has netted 16 times for his club this season and all eyes will be on what he can do in between the lines against City. If paired with Robin van Persie, Rooney's ability to find space may just be the key to ending the Dutchman's barren run.
There is no question about it - City are a different side without Toure. When the 29-year-old is not in the team, City border on looking average. Yet with the Ivorian in their line-up, the Premier League champions look like a match for anyone in Europe on their day. Confidence will be high for the powerhouse midfielder after signing a new contract and his strength in both defence and attack will prove vital if City are to come away from Old Trafford with a result.
Manchester City are on a fine run of form but United's 15-point lead should provide them with the psychological edge they need to put their "noisy neighbours" to one side.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed