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Premier League

  • 30 April 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 47259
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Manchester City - Manchester United Preview: Top two set for titanic ‘title decider’

A win for the hosts will send them top of the Premier League on goal difference, while victory for the visitors will see them within a point of securing a 20th top-flight crown

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER CITY

Hart
Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Y Toure, Barry
Silva, Tevez, Nasri
Aguero
MANCHESTER UNITED
 
De Gea
Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani
Rooney, Welbeck


Manchester City look set to welcome back Micah Richards from injury, while striker Mario Balotelli is also available having completed his three-match ban after his sending off against Arsenal.

However, given their recent form manager Roberto Mancini is expected to continue with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez up front.

Manchester United, meanwhile, have few absentees other than long-term injury victims Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Anderson. Nani, who injured an ankle in training, and Jonny Evans are both doubts, but are expected to be fit for the clash.

However, after watching his side throw away a 4-2 lead against Everton last weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson may decide to shake-up his starting XI. Chris Smalling is being tipped to get the nod ahead of Rafael at right-back while in midfield Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley, Ji-sung Park and Ashley Young are all available.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester City have an incredible home record this season. Roberto Mancini’s men have won 21 of 22 games at the Etihad, scoring 51 goals in just 17 games.
  • The hosts have already thrashed the visitors in this campaign. They famously won 6-1 at Old Trafford back in October, United’s heaviest ever Premier League defeat.
  • In the 6-1 win, City were ruthless in front of goal. They scored six goals from just seven shots on target.
  • However, on their own ground it’s a different story. City have not scored at home against United in the league for almost five years.
  • Manchester United have already beaten Manchester City twice this season: a 3-2 win in the Community Shield and another 3-2 win in the FA Cup at the Etihad back in January.
  • In Premier League meetings between these sides there have been six red cards, and Manchester United have been shown a whopping five of them. Jonny Evans (pictured right) was the last man to see red in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford.
  • The champions come into the game in red-hot goalscoring form. They have scored eight goals in their last two games, four against Everton and four against Aston Villa.
  • Manchester United won the title with 80 points last season. They have already collected 83 points to date and if they win their three remaining games they could equal their best-ever Premier League points tally of 92.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
4Vincent KompanyDefender
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
6Joleon LescottDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
18Gareth BarryMidfielder
8Samir NasriMidfielder
21David SilvaStriker
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
16Sergio AgüeroStriker
10Carlos TévezStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
2Micah RichardsDefender
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
34Nigel De JongMidfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
45Mario BalotelliStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
Players to Watch
Carlos Tévez
Carlos Tévez
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Carlos Tevez has been hugely influential since his return to the club, leaving many to ponder the question of whether City may indeed have wrapped up the title already if the Argentine had not returned to South America for five months of the season.

The striker has scored four and grabbed two assists in his last three games, whilst also helping Sergio Aguero rediscover his goalscoring touch, and you suspect he would love nothing more than to score against his former team, and pip them to the title.
David de Gea
David de Gea
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Back in October when City thrashed United 6-1, questions were being asked of the young Spaniard, yet fast forward six months and he is now the established No. 1 at Old Trafford.

His best performances this season have come against the bigger teams: he was superb against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and United will need him at his best once again - particularly because, you suspect, he will be in for a busy evening.
Prediction
A mouth-watering encounter is in prospect at the Etihad as the best home record in the league meets the best away record in what many are billing as the 'title decider'.

Whilst the league cannot be mathematically won on Monday, victory for either side will generate huge belief and put the title tantalisingly close. However, United do have a slight advantage in that a draw will keep them three points ahead of their rivals with just two games left to play.

Both teams have already beaten each other this season, and whilst City have home advantage, they have struggled when the pressure has been on, meaning United’s greater experience in these situations may prove crucial.
Editor's Prediction

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