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Premier League

  • 1 May 2012
  • • 00:30
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 47259
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Live Commentary

  • Right, I'm going to wrap this game up! Thanks for keeping me company on Twitter - @Miles_Chambers - as always. Stick around on Goal.com for reaction to the Manchester derby, quotes from players and managers in the aftermath of the match and analysis of what is next for Manchester City and Manchester United.
  • Saah Cho Fon writes on Twitter: "Yeah the citiyens have made it.God help us to win Newcastle and QPR."
  • How exactly does the Premier League look now then? Manchester United have eight goals worse goal difference compared to their blue rivals. Manchester City just need to win their final two matches to finish as champions realistically. Well, unless Manchester United turn Swansea City over 8-0 then Sunderland 7-0. In which case we might be looking at a shock Red Devils triumph.
  • Any thoughts on that scoreline? I'm sure many of you do, though I suspect Manchester United fans will be burying their heads in nearby pillows so I'm not anticipating many tweets from them! Direct your tweets @Miles_Chambers on Twitter if you do want to get all interactive.
  • Full-time! Manchester City have beaten Manchester United 1-0 and go top of the Premier League! Vincent Kompany scored the one and only goal of the match in stoppage-time of the first half, his powering header the only moment of magic separating the Manchester sides.
  • 90' + 6'
    Joe Hart is fouled in his own box in an aerial challenge with Chris Smalling. It's all over now, the referee will blow the whistle any second now.
  • 90' + 5'
    United corner..last minute..
  • 90' + 4'
    An absolute beasting collision between Micah Richards and Patrice Evra. Even though it's the French full-back making the tackle it looks like the England defender wins the contest!
  • 90' + 3'
    SubstitutionSamir Nasri James Milner
  • 90' + 3'
    It's nail-biting stuff at the Etihad Stadium. City just need to survive for anothe rtwo minutes of injury-time and they will be Premier League leaders. Nasri comes off for James Milner as the seconds evaporate.
  • 90' + 2'
    Jonathan Lomax lets his thoughts be known on Twitter: "United has been over achieving ever since Ronaldo left. This is a rude awakening for Fergie. He has a mediocre squad."
  • 90'
    Panic at the Etihad Stadium!! The ball is flying from end to end with the poise among the players on the pitch at a limited level. Five minutes of stoppage time to be played now.
  • 89'
    Nasri has such a fine opportunity to put the home side ahead inside the United box but he fails to pull the trigger before United defenders swarm around him like hungry bees.
  • 88'
    How have Manchester City not scored a second?! A host of chances, beginning with Zabaleta's penetrating run down the right, his pass going behind Nasri and reaching Gael Clichy. The Blues left-back hammers it goalwards and De Gea's gets down with prowess to keep the score at 1-0, and 30 seconds of more home pressure later and an offside against the hosts give the ball back to United.
  • 87'
    David de Gea palms away a free-kick from the left flank after Jones concedes a foul in City's favour.
  • 85'
    47,000 fans watch on as Samir Nasri shelters the ball in the corner flag territory as the clock winds down. So close now to the Blues regaining the bragging rights in Manchester and returning back to the top of the Premier League.
  • 84'
    If United rescue a point from this match it will be completely undeserved. City have not been dominating but they have been the better side.
  • 83'
    SubstitutionNani Ashley Young
  • 83'
    Final thoughts as the game hurtles to a close Twitter folk? Tweet @Miles_Chambers remember!
  • 82'
    SubstitutionDavid Silva Micah Richards
  • 82'
    So close to a second from Yaya Toure. The former Barcelona man has marauded through the Manchester United midfield with so much ease all half and he does it once more. His shot from the edge of the box goes just wide of De Gea's right upright.
  • 81'
    Greg Stobart comments from the ground for Goal.com: "“Fergie’s cracking up” sing the City fans, raising the volume level here after a quiet 10 minutes when the nerves appeared to start getting to the crowd. This group of City players have never been in this situation before, the question is how they will respond in the final 10 minutes."
  • 80'
    10 minutes to pay at the Etihad Stadium and the score still hangs in the balance, although United are having very few chances on goal. Their attacks are limited to corners to be honest.
  • 79'
    Daniel Cowen correctly comments on Twitter: "The managers need to calm down They focusing too much on each other rather than the game and making small but fatal mistakes."
  • 78'
    SubstitutionPaul Scholes Antonio Valencia
  • 78'
    Yellow CardMichael Carrick
  • 78'
    A minute later and Carrick commits an equally clumsy tackle in front of the managers, but Fergie keeps quiet this time. The pressure might just be getting to the Scot, you know. How rare is it we see that?!
  • 77'
    Haha Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini are going at it on the sidelines after that De Jong tackle! Fully yelling at each other! This is brilliant! The players are doing a good job of behaving themselves on the sidelines but it seems like the coaches need to buck their ideas up!
  • 76'
    Yellow CardNigel De Jong
  • 76'
    De Jong commits a poor tackle on Danny Welbeck and is swiftly booked for the challenge.
  • 75'
    Manchester United look like a tired side, it's not boding well for their title hopes. Not one bit.
  • 74'
    Referee Andre Marriner hasn't had a bad game, as such, but he needs to be reminded of the advantage rule. Clichy is fouled by Nani on United's right and keeps the ball excellently, but the whistle-happy ref comes to the 'rescue' again.
  • 73'
    Yaya Toure opts to go solo with a viciously-struck effort from 25 yards out which skids wide to the right of goal. City continue to have the occasional glimpse on goal.
  • 72'
    Prince Tee suggests on Twitter: "I see Aguero making it too in some minutes to come and rooney scoring 1 to make it 2-1"
  • 71'
    Amir Bakovic suggests on Twitter: "I'm surprised that Dzeko hasn't been given a chance yet considering hes always scored vs United."
  • 70'
    A pause in play as Barry gets treatment from the physio for his ankle pain. The tackle was a stinging one but Gazza Baz, as I like to call him, should be okay to continue.
  • 69'
    Yellow CardPhil Jones
  • 69'
    Phil Jones gets a yellow card for a rash and unnecessary tackle around the in the centre-circle on England team-mate Gareth Barry.
  • 69'
    Giggs crosses a cute ball in from deep on the left but Clichy is cooler than the proverbial cucumber when he chests the ball back softly for Hart in goal.
  • 68'
    SubstitutionCarlos Tévez Nigel De Jong
  • 68'
    A first substitute from the hosts: Carlos Tevez comes off for Nigel de Jong. A defensive decision from Roberto Mancini on the Etihad Stadium sideline.
  • 67'
    Wayne Rooney showing a bit of fight to win the ball on the edge of the City box but he's overpowered by the quantity of surrounding Blues men.
  • 66'
    Phil Jones crosses a dire ball way over the heads of every United team-mate from the by-line on the right wing. A wasted venture forward as we enter the final 25 minutes.
  • 65'
    Ashraf Arefin notes on Twitter: "I hope Aguero scores to make his legendary father-in-law (Maradona in the stand) proud and seal the deal!"
  • 64'
    United have worked the ball back into the City half and squirmed a corner out of the possession. Could this be the early signs of a revival?
  • 63'
    Nehuen Calvo amused me on Twitter with: "Fergie looks a bit upset, he could probably do with some Kompany."
  • 62'
    Yaya Toure fizzes the ball across at real pace on the left, and the wall of United players parry it out the area. Squeaky bum-time indeed for the visitors at the moment.
  • 61'
    Patrice Evra fouls Zabaleta when he forearms the Argentine's face in an aerial leap. Hard to tell if he meant it, but credit to the City full-back for not making a meal of the tackle.
  • 60'
    Let's hear more of your Twitter reaction - there's a third of this game left and City are comfortable passing the ball about in United's half. Do you see the score ending in the home side's favour, or can Fergie's men turn the tables?
  • 58'
    SubstitutionJi-Sung Park Danny Welbeck
  • 58'
    Ji-Sung Park is brought off for Danny Welbeck. Manchester United will press forwards you can bet now, and my prediction is the game will open up in midfield as a result. Good news for us neutrals hopefully!
  • 57'
    Yay Toure gets mugged by Jones' high-bouncing header, much to the away fans' amusement. But the home fans are roaring back to full volume when their side counter-attack with 4-on-4, and Pablo Zabaleta wins a corner on the right side of the box.
  • 56'
    Carlos Tevez's touch forwards to Sergio Aguero isn't intricate enough on the edge of the Manchester United box and Rio Ferdinand hoofs it clear for the visitors.
  • 55'
    Danny Welbeck is, in fact, warming up on the sidelines. I expect his introduction isn't too far away as United pursue an equaliser.
  • 54'
    Shaurya Dogra writes on Twitter: "United have to introduce Hernandez or Welbeck for a goal. Even berbatov would help."
  • 53'
    Yellow CardYaya Touré
  • 53'
    Manchester City are having a nice little period of play, but it's ruined when Yaya Toure is booked after shoving Ryan Giggs off the ball when United finally get the ball back.
  • 51'
    ANOTHER corner, but this time at the United end. The ball just misses Lescott's forehead who evades the marking Rio Ferdinand. I foresee another goal from a corner at this rate!
  • 50'
    Straight away Hart is tested again: Nani fires a shot in from the left edge of the area and he can't hold the shot, bouncing it out for the third United corner in five minutes.
  • 49'
    Joe Hart gets the tiniest of touches to prevent Wayne Rooney levelling the scores from the first corner of the second half. Super goalkeeping from England's number one.
  • 48'
    Manchester City are content to sit back now they have the lead it seems. The Red Devils players are taking the game to the hosts, and Nani wins a corner when his shot hits Joleon Lescott's back.
  • 47'
    United stranded moving slowly up the right flank at the moment. No attacks from either side just yet. But it can't be long...
  • 46'
    Manchester United, who came out onto the field early, kick the game back into action.
  • Right, play's about to restart. I hope you've got your second half snacks ready. I know I have!
  • Chukwudike V. Anieze is either one pessimistic Utd fan or trolling me on Twitter: "I will be surprised if Man Utd even scores. United players are no match to City players. Am a Man United Fan."
  • Hope seems to be the resident word on Manchester United fans lips at the halfway mark. Their fellow Red Devils followers inside the Etihad Stadium are probably feeling the same.
  • I see what you did on Twitter there, Kainebi...and I like it haha: "City in good Kompany, but Wel United roar beck?"
  • Sekhoane Moshabesha on Twitter writes: "United will hav e to attack more in the second half, its on but i am rooting for City."
  • Greg Stobart gives us an half-time update from the Manchester ground: "Shaun Goater gets a hero’s reception as the half-time guest. With respect to the Goat - who I have met a few times and is a lovely bloke - it is a pretty stark sign of how far City have come in recent years."
  • Sohit Kumar is hopeful on Twitter: "Don't worry. United will definitely come above this....remember Chelsea vs United (3-3)....This will be 1-3."
  • I'm so glad we got a goal - it really opens up the second-half possibilities. United will be thrust forward by their gaffer as a loss is not an acceptable outcome. Sir Alex Ferguson is not a man accustomed to defeat but he must be able to taste the Premier League trophy slipping through his team's fingertips at this rate...
  • Half-time thoughts on this Manchester derby my tweeting boys and girls, I want to hear them! @Miles_Chambers is where to write to on Twitter, so get a-typing!
  • Greg Stobart analyses that goal from his seat inside the Etihad Stadium: "What a huge goal in the title race that could be. The Etihad Stadium rocks to Vincent Kompany’s name at half-time after that thumping header by the City defender. In a game of few chances, the captain led by example, losing Chris Smalling and simply showing more desire to get to the ball than the United defenders. This completely changes the game for United, who set out for a draw, whatever Sir Alex Ferguson says to the contrary. They need a goal now and it surely won’t be long until we see Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia in the game to support Wayne Rooney, who has been frustrated and isolated."
  • Half-time! And what a critical end to that 45 minutes as Blues captain Vincent Kompany sent the Citizens ahead. An awkward half with players who looked overwhelmed by the occasion eventually turned into a slow progression of Manchester City domination and Manchester United were on the back foot for a good half an hour.
  • 45' + 1'
    AssistDavid Silva
  • 45' + 1'
    GoalVincent Kompany
    GOAL!! Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany scores in the first minute of stoppage time, with a poweful header five yards out! He shrugged off Chris Smalling who was marking him and sent the hosts into the lead with barely any time left on the clock. Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United!
  • 45'
    Corner to the hosts. United centre-back Ferdinand confidently clears. What an animal he still is in the air.
  • 44'
    The ball looks like it'll finish its half in United territory as City push forward tentatively. Not enough danger and concise passing as of yet.
  • 43'
    Ha, a few of you starting to think this game with be a 0-0 bore draw. I STILL BELIEVE!!! But seriously fellas - I'm looking at you especially Man United attack - give us some blooming entertainment!
  • 42'
    Park skies it with a half-volleyed attempt from a United corner, and it very nearly clears the roof of the stadium. Maybe I exaggerated that a little. But it was dire, boys and girls - dire.
  • 41'
    Greg Stobart, who hasn't had much to write about from the Etihad this half in all honesty, adds: "As Roberto Mancini strokes his hair with one hand and waves Yaya Toure forward with the other, City are starting to build some pressure here. They haven’t quite been able to open up United, who have 10 men behind the ball when they don’t have possession, but the hosts are controlling the game now. The crowd have kept up the volume despite the lack of action, roaring City on and giving Wayne Rooney and referee Andre Marriner plenty of abuse."
  • 40'
    Yaya Toure has a trademark marauding run up the pitch, Tevez bursts through the ranks, and Aguero wins the corner for City. Manchester United on the rocks now. Can they hold on until half-time?
  • 39'
    A vital defensive header at the back post from Phil Jones, and Blues left-back Clichy ball back into the box is claimed adeptly by De Gea.
  • 38'
    Plenty of you having your say on Twitter by tweeting @Miles_Chambers - so many predicting a high-scoring match, but it's not looking that way at the moment!
  • 36'
    A shot on target now from Zabaleta. The right-backs worms his way into the box and pokes the ball through the legs of the United defenders off-balance, but it rolls straight at De Gea's feet and he saves with simplicity.
  • 35'
    Ooo. Aguero fires a ball down at the ground from 10 yards but it bobbles wide of David de Gea's right upright and out for a goal-kick to the away side. The chances are getting closer...
  • 34'
    A pause in play as the referee has a word with United captain Evra about the bad-tempered tackles leaking into the match. The latest is a mistimed lunge from Tevez on Rooney.
  • 33'
    Tevez is deemed to have fouled Carrick, but the Argentine is adamant it was the other way around. Replays are inconclusive, they were both having a bit of argy-bargy with each other to be honest.
  • 32'
    Ji-Sung Park is muscled out of play by City left-back Gael Clichy. Solid defending from the former Arsenal man.
  • 31'
    Man City are definitely growing into this match. Rooney and Kompany having a little bit of handbags off the ball - the England striker hasn't been given a single booking all season in the league, it'd be silly to blemish that record with pointless shirt pulling tonight!
  • 30'
    Yaya Toure with a masterful challenge on Phil Jones. City's attacking move sizzles but never saunters and the crowd are getting restless around the 22 players on the pitch.
  • 29'
    Neat passing play from City, Nasri sprints down the right, but his cross in is pinged out off the head of Rio Ferdinand.
  • 28'
    Gamma C Max is just as nervous as many Manchester fans of either side must be: "Hmmm..this game has my knees tingling, come on Utd!"
  • 27'
    Man United with the ball on the right wing, trying to probe the City defence like they did in the opening minutes with little success.
  • 26'
    Elisha O predicts on Twitter: "I know this will be a breathtaking match, but Man Utd will surely come out victorious by a 3 - 0 margin."
  • 25'
    Deft headed flick from Joleon Lescott who tees up Aguero for the volley, but he hammers it high from 10 yards out. Manchester United goal-kick.
  • 24'
    Sergio Aguero, whose step-father Diego Maradona is in the crowd at the Etihad tonight, wins another corner for the Blues.
  • 24'
    The home crowd cheer ironically when Nani is penalised for a foul on the centre-spot. both sets of fans remain in good voice despite the estranged start to the match.
  • 23'
    City win a corner after a neat passage of play camped around the United box, with Carrick conceding a corner heading it clear.
  • 22'
    Greg Stobart writes from the Etihad Stadium: "It’s been rather disappointing so far, with both teams seemingly afraid of conceding first. It’s very reminiscent so far of the goalless draw in the corresponding fixture last season, one of the most boring fixtures I’ve ever covered. We need a spark here to open the game up."
  • 21'
    I'm sure there's no bias whatsoever in Nate's Twitter prediction: "Manchester United 3-5 Manchester City. Yes i'm a Liverpool fan."
  • 20'
    Rooney is caught on the halfway-line by Kompany but Andre Marriner waves play on. Wowzers, he brandishes a yellow card to the City captain after the ball is kicked out 30 seconds later. Harsh.
  • 19'
    Yellow CardVincent Kompany
  • 18'
    City seem to have decided United's left defensive flank is their weak spot as almost every attack seems to be prioritising that route. No fruit for the effort yet though, bar Tevez's stealthy run a few minutes ago.
  • 17'
    United are pressing like moths to a lightbulbs, it's impressive to watch. When Fergie's men are on the ball, the Blues are a little more conservative with their energy. Could that be crucial later on? Or have the Red Devils got their tactics right? Let me know on Twitter @Miles_Chambers with a tweets or three!
  • 16'
    Carlos Tevez is slotted in down the right slither of the box by Nasri, but his hard low cross is blocked in the six-yard box by Jones.
  • 15'
    An awkward first 15 minutes at the Etihad to be honest. Like a first date between a couple who met each other when drunk and couldn't quite remember what the other one looked like...
  • 14'
    Pablo abaleta has had plenty of involvement in the background already, and now he is penalised by Marriner for a slide tackle on Rooney. No contact, but his legs were all over the place! Like Spaghetti Bolognese, as Gary Neville might say...
  • 13'
    Andre Marriner annoys Evra when he is fouled by Gareth Barry on United's left but maintains possession, and the referee blows his whistle for the foul anyway.
  • 12'
    Greg Stobart gives us some insight from the Etihad Stadium: "Sir Alex Ferguson may have picked a defensive-looking starting XI, but the visitors have started on the attack and settled more quickly into the game. You can sense the tension in the City players as Roberto Mancini - already out in his technical area - makes ‘calm down’ motions towards his players."
  • 11'
    Paul Scholes is penalised for handball 45 yards from the United goal, in the dead-centre of the field.
  • 10'
    Arhewoh Ose Alec writes on Twitter: "I'm back with my outrageous predictions United 4-3 City.. I know..I'm a United fan!"
  • 10'
    Nani has a wild attempt from around 35 yards. Row Z was reached.
  • 9'
    Half-hearted shouts of handball from the visiting fans when Chris Smalling is nods the ball into Kompany's body. Replays show it was a good chest control from the Belgian centre-back though.
  • 8'
    Carrick with a fine long ball along the ground for Rooney who controls it nicely before passing it back into the Man United midfield. A chorus of boos echo around the Etihad Stadium as the away side have a small period of possession before winning a corner from a blocked cross.
  • 7'
    It comes to nothing after poor control from Samir Nasri on the edge of United's box. So much tension pulsating through this match. It's giving me goosebumps and I'm not even there!
  • 6'
    David Silva has a dragged shot on goal from the left edge of the box - it takes a deflection and it's Manchester City's first corner of the game.
  • 5'
    Vincent Kompany has an audacious little dribble towards the United half and bumbles the ball away to a team-mate for an attack. The eventual cross from the left goes over the head of Carlos Tevez and the Red Devils have the ball back.
  • 4'
    Blues goalkeeper Joe Hart calmly collects a high cross from Phil Jones, who is at right-back for the visitors tonight.
  • 3'
    The six most experienced players in City-United derbies are unsurprisingly wearing red shirts. Does this matter? Probably not. Food for thought though!
  • 2'
    Early corner for Manchester United, which Patrice Evra won down the left flank. A goal-line melee follows from the se-piece, with Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney flailing legs at the loose ball to no avail.
  • 1'
    Manchester City get this mammoth match underway!
  • Strap yourself in, pull those harnesses down...this rollercoaster is about to start its ascent.
  • A final pre-match update from Greg Stobart at the Etihad Stadium: "What a noise here ahead of kick-off. It feels like a cup final as the City supporters roar at the top of their lungs, Blue Moon ringing around the Etihad Stadium. You sense United are going to have to weather a storm in the first 10 to 15 minutes here."
  • Regular play-by-play visitor Sarahhloves1D says on Twitter: "I'm going for a City win.. It will not be 1-6 though.."
  • Ben Woodfine predicts on Twitter: "Man City early goal but full time score 2-1 City."
  • Renny Kips writes on Twitter: "I'm seeing MCFC taking all the 3 points here.."
  • Right, - T-Minus FIVE minutes until kick-off boys and girls!!! Tweet @Miles_Chambers should you fancy having a sneaky prediction before th action gets underway.
  • Just browsing the visitors’ bench - Dimitar Berbatov, Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Rafael, Javier Hernandez and Ben Amos? Those players could waltz into almost any other team in the league and be their pivotal player.
  • A win for Manchester United would be MANumental. See what I did there?!?! Outrageous, I know. But, back on topic, being six points clear of the Blues would surely mean they’re guaranteed their 20th league title. Then again, City were ruled out after their Arsenal defeat and United stuttered, faltered and are now in danger of falling behind their blue rivals.
  • Greg Stobart's got another little bit of info from the Etihad Stadium: "As usual, Roberto Mancini and his coaching team stand on the touchline studiously watching the City players warm-up. The Italian looks remarkably relaxed - a message he will want to convey to his players - but inside his stomach really must be starting to turn. It’s do-or-die time for him and his players. I fancy City to win tonight having seen the teams - they are certainly set up to attack while Sir Alex Ferguson has named a very cautious line-up."
  • The Scot is amusingly to-the-point about the Red Devils' break in south Wales to avoid the build-up to the match: "The weather was terrible."
  • Sir Alex Ferguson says before the match: "The experience in these derby games is vital. Ryan [Giggs] and Paul [Scholes] have played more derby games than all the rest between them."
  • This is a must-win match for Man City, to be honest. If United win then they go six points clear at the top of the Premier League - the difference isn’t unassailable but it would require the Red Devils to lose at home to Swansea City and away to Sunderland, and for Mancini’s men to win at Newcastle United and at home to QPR. A tough cookie, one might say.
  • Greg really is spoiling us: "The big screen has finally got around to showing all of the goals from ‘the 6-1’ after a wonderful 15-minute montage to remind fans young and old of the history of the rivalry between these two clubs. You know it’s a big game when the Etihad Stadium is three-quarters full more than 20 minutes from kick-off. Apparently City have something spine-tingling planned for when the players exit the tunnel."
  • Greg Stobart's nice and cosy in the City stands now for Goal.com. He adds: "I’m now in position in a packed press box as the build up to the game steps up, with the big screens at the Etihad providing some entertainment in the form of video clips of great derby victories for City from the past. Both teams are warming up on the pitch, which is dominated by a huge ‘TOGETHER’ banner in the centre circle."
  • Result 3: A turning point in the Red Devils’ campaign? City were striding ahead at the top of the league and this FA Cup fixture seemingly meant nothing to the title chase. But the 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium - one of only two losses at the ground for Mancini’s men all season - has eventually led to United being favourites for the title once more as we enter the climax of the season. Admittedly, the Blues were better in the latter 45 minutes and they were so close to pulling the scores level thanks to some lazy United defending. But it was United who prevailed in the third-round tie and the bragging rights swung back in Old Trafford’s direction.
  • Result 2: October 23, a date that will send shivers down Manchester United fans’ spines. Manchester City turned up on their hallowed Old Trafford turf and trounced them 6-1. The final score was unfathomable and it was arguably the tipping point in their rivalry. They could no longer be considered just noisy neighbours. This was annihilation. This was an embarrassment. This was one hell of a match.
  • Result 1: the first game of both squads’ season - the Community Shield. Manchester United went two goals down before half-time thanks to calamitous goalkeeping from summer signing David de Gea. But, after Sir Alex make some changes at the break, the Premier League champions fought back to win 3-2. Such a good start to the season and it hasn’t calmed down a jot has it?
  • This is the sort of match that music being played to introduce each team out onto the pitch (a la boxing and wrestling) wouldn’t look out of place. It’s hyped beyond the point of a mere football match and, let’s be honest, it’s going to be tough to match expectations. And yet...let’s have a look back at the teams’ previous meetings this season and you’ll see why entertainment comes as standard.
  • Another snippet from GoalUK’s correspondent Greg Stobart: “Roberto Mancini in his programme notes: “Together we have fought our way back into the title picture. Derby games are always special and this game has an extra edge to it because of how the table looks before kick-off. However, none of us must get carried away with the idea that this is the only important game left this season. There will be pressure tonight for both sides. We led the league for a long time but United were eight points clear...so maybe there is more pressure on United protecting that lead. They are an experienced team and we respect them and all they have achieved in recent years. They will be well prepared for this game and so will we.””
  • What ingredients does this match have that set it apart from your usual title race fare then? Firstly, the teams share the same City and bragging rights go without saying. Add the potential for a league trophy in the mix and you’ve got a doozy. Secondly, the “noisy neighbours” have had some epic clashes with United in the past few years, and the rivalry is reaching fever pitch. And thirdly, there are so many headline factors dotted all over the pitch that broadcasters, newspaper journalists and radio commentators are all salivating down their fuzzy little coats. You just cannot tell what will happen. Form goes out the window in derby games, doesn’t it?
  • Greg Stobart gives us another update from the Etihad Stadium: "The global appeal of the Premier League has never been more apparent than in the press room ahead of tonight’s game. City tell me they turned down nearly half of the journalists and broadcasters who applied to cover tonight’s match but there are still reporters here from all over the world, from South America to Indonesia. Apparently the game will be broadcast in 203 countries: tonight this really is England’s answer to El Clasico."
  • I’m kidding. Even if my brain implodes/explodes with excitement I will persevere to keep you informed. I know, I’m such a hero.
  • Will Mario Balotelli see red or get goals? Can Wayne Rooney keep up his mesmerising 2012 form? Has Roberto Mancini got his tactics right or will Sir Alex’s shrewd experience win the titanic battle? Will Carlos Tevez cap off a rollercoaster season with a destiny-defying late winner? I think my brain would implode if that happens. So, for the record, apologies for that possible interruption in LIVE coverage in advance!
  • Another miniature disaster, this time at Greg Stobart's end. The Goal.com correspondent is at the Etihad Stadium tonight: "First anticlimax of the day. I intentionally arrived here with an empty stomach with high hopes for my pre-match meal, an important part of any journalist’s routine on derby day. I’m afraid to report that the mixture of sausage, chicken and pork I was served up was the most disappointing in my three-or-so years coming to this fantastic stadium. Hopefully the half-time pie will make amends."
  • Disaster already from this end - in my excitement I opened a Lucozade which was shaken up. Imagine a volcanic eruption coming from a fizzy bottle in your room and you’ve got a rough idea of what went down haha.
  • So, what say you of those teams? United’s is inevitably the more defensive, but then again they only need a point to keep their advantage at the top of the Premier League. A win for City would send them top which would be hell-on-earth for the red half of Manchester and heaven in a bottle for the blue half. Personally, I don’t care who wins, but from a neutral's point of view it’d be great to see three points go to one of these fine sides.
  • In contrast, Sir Alex Ferguson makes four changes to his Manchester United side. Antonio Valencia, Rafael, Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck go out of the side that draw 4-4 at home to Everton last weekend. In their place go Ryan Giggs, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ji-Sung Park. Evans, by the way, isn’t even on the bench as he was struggling to overcome an injury.
  • A grand total of zero changes by Roberto Mancini for the match against the Red Devils. Mario Balotelli returns to bench after his three-match ban for a red card at Arsenal was completed. Expect the front four Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Samir Nasri to cause a lot of problems at the Etihad Stadium. It’s the Blues’ strongest side, I would argue.
  • Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney. Subs: Amos, Evans, Berbatov, Hernandez, Welbeck, Rafael, Valencia.
  • Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Yaya; Silva, Aguero, Nasri; Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Kolarov, De Jong, Milner, Balotelli, Dzeko.
  • Line-ups are coming up boys and girls...
  • Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Miles Chambers. You may know me from former LIVE commentaries such as Cardiff City 2-2 Liverpool (a.e.t, Reds won on penalties, good God, what a League Cup final) and, very recently, Manchester United 4-4 Everton. Suffice to say I’ve had my share of bore draws mind, so don’t let me fool you too much! As always I insist you get involved and get interactive on Twitter - @Miles_Chambers is where to direct you tweets! I’ll whack as many in here as I can in between the action, at half-time and at full-time.
  • Hello, hello, hello, and welcome one and all to The Most Hyped Premier League Match Of All Time. Yep, this is the play-by-play of Manchester City v Manchester United - just typing the team names is getting me giddy like a kid on Christmas morning! Has a Premier League match ever been this built up before? Probably, but if so I can’t remember it! The game doesn’t get underway for a little while yet but I’ll be bringing you plenty of pre-match build-up, statistics to get you thinking and - of course - the team news.