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Premier League

  • December 9, 2012
  • • 13:30
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 47166
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FT
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Manchester City - Manchester United Preview: Rivals clash in table-topping tie

Sir Alex Ferguson's side go to the Etihad three points clear of Roberto Mancini's Premier League champions, who will want to pick themselves up after a dismal Champions League exit

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester City

Hart
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
 Barry
Nasri, Y Toure, Silva
Tevez, Aguero
Manchester United

De Gea
Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Carrick, Scholes
 Valencia, Rooney, Young
Van Persie

Manchester City's main injury problems lie in defence, but Gael Clichy (ankle) is set to return for the Premier League champions, with fellow left-back Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) also close to full fitness.

James Milner (hamstring) and Micah Richards (knee) are likely to miss out for the home side, while Jack Rodwell (hamstring) should be available for selection for Roberto Mancini.

David Silva (hamstring) is a worry for the hosts, and could be replaced by Javi Garcia in the centre for a more defensive formation.

The visitors have injury problems in midfield, with Anderson (hamstring) likely to miss the festive period after picking up a knock against Reading, and Tom Cleverley (calf) also a doubt.

Antonio Valencia (thigh) and Nemanja Vidic (knee) could both be available for selection, although Sir Alex Ferguson has said he feels the game will come to soon for the Serbian captain after a second long spell out.

Nani (hamstring) is almost certainly out of the game, while Shinji Kagawa (knee) could take a place on the bench after time on the sidelines.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The first meeting between Manchester City and Manchester United - or West Gordon and Newton Heath as they were formerly known - ended in a 3-0 victory for the latter in 1881.
  • Manchester City have been awarded 21 penalties in the last three seasons - the joint-most in the Premier League alongside United.
  • Wayne Rooney's penalty against Reading in the 4-3 victory last weekend was United's 1000th Premier League goal this century.
  • United have recovered 21 points from losing positions this season in the Premier League - more than any other side in the division.
  • Carlos Tevez (pictured, right) has played for both Manchester clubs - he joined City in 2009 after spending two seasons on loan at United.
  • Robin van Persie is joint-top scorer in the league, with 10 goals alongside Demba Ba, Michu and Luis Suarez - City's top scorer is Carlos Tevez with seven.
  • Sir Matt Busby and Steve Coppell both played for City before managing United, with the former leading the Reds to their first ever European Cup in 1968.
  • 2006 was the last year there was more than one goal scored in a league fixture between the two with City as hosts, with the home side winning 3-1.

Players to watch

V. Kompany

Position: Defender

Games: 6

  • 0
  • 1
  • 0
The Belgium international was imperious in the title-turning 1-0 victory over United at the Etihad last season, scoring the only goal and marshalling the back line superbly. The club captain is an inspirational presence for Roberto Mancini, and his match-up against Robin van Persie will see arguably two of the finest players in their respective positions battling in a mouth-watering clash. How he copes with the Dutchman and what he can offer going forward this time around will be pivotal to the outcome of the game, but one thing is for sure - if Kompany is on form, City are a very hard team to beat.

W. Rooney

Position: Attacker

Games: 6

  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
All eyes have been on Robin van Persie this season, and for good reason - even Javier Hernandez has flown past Wayne Rooney in the goalscoring charts, but numbers alone do not tell the full influence of the 26-year-old on his side. With the Dutch forward being the focal point of the strike force, Rooney will almost certainly drop deeper when United lose possession, and will try to create chances from further back in the final third. His work rate and distribution are invaluable in clashes like these, and with two strikes in his last league game at Reading, the England forward may be in line for a trademark run of goals.

Editor's Prediction

Despite being clear at the top of the league, neither Manchester club have covered themselves in glory so far this season. United are three clear of their neighbours but cannot stop losing the first goal in games, which could prove fatal on Sunday if they persist with what Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled "cartoon defending." City are right on their rivals' heels in the league, but went out miserably in the Champions League as they finished bottom of their group, and will need to react strongly.

It is arguably more important for City to win this one to regain top spot, but with each manager facing different problems, both may secretly be happy with a point before a demanding festive fixture list.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester City

Manchester United

Wins
4
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester City FC MNC
Manchester City FC Manchester City
Draw
Manchester United FC MNU
Manchester United FC Manchester United
30%
63%

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester City FC MNC
1 - 2
Manchester United FC MNU
Manchester City FC MNC
1 - 3
Manchester United FC MNU
Manchester City FC MNC
2 - 1
Manchester United FC MNU

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