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Closest Derby in Years Predicted as City visit United


The Saturday lunchtime kick-off in the Premier League will see first host third at Old Trafford; a ground where City have won just once in the last 26 league matches.

United, no longer undefeated in the league following a poor outing against relegation-strugglers Wolves last weekend, are missing two key central defenders for what is being billed as one of the most crucial Manchester derbies in recent history.

Sir Alex Ferguson is almost certain to be without both Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, meaning England under-21 defender Chris Smalling will join Nemanja Vidic in the heart of United's defence.

In their quest for a 19th league title, Ferguson will be hoping forward Wayne Rooney can add to his slim goal tally.

The England forward’s under-par season could easily be forgotten by those in the Stretford End should he net a handful of goals against 'the noisy neighbours'.

The Manchester United manager will be able to call upon South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung after his international period in the Asian Cup concluded. An important cog in the big games, Park’s man-marking abilities and tireless, consistent performances has helped United on more than one occasion, and his inclusion may allow Michael Carrick to be rested for their European ventures in midweek.

City have injury worries of their own; Italian striker Mario Balotelli is unlikely to feature due to a knee injury, and he could be joined on the sidelines by midfielder Nigel de Jong and defender Micah Richards.

Mancini’s men returned to winning ways at the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Brom; a result that saw the end of Roberto Di Matteo as Baggies boss.

Mancini will be hoping for new striker Edin Dzeko to prove his price tag in the Bosnian’s first British derby match. His strike partner Carlos Tevez will also feature after being left out of the Argentina squad due to his behaviour. The ex-United striker has scored four times against his former employers and is fresh off the back of a birthday hat-trick.

Premier League 09/10:

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City

Manchester City 0–1 Manchester United

Premier League 10/11:

Manchester City 0–0 Manchester United


Manchester United vs Manchester City Half-Time Update

Old Trafford has enjoyed a good first half of football in the lunchtime sunshine of Manchester, as Manchester United are currently winning 1-0 against the ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City.

Last season's bout at Old Trafford was described by reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson as “probably the best derby of all time” after striker Michael Owen’s 96th-minute winner helped United win 4-3.

City will not want a repeat of that game, and it is the blue half of Manchester who will perhaps argue that they’ve had the better of the opening exchanges, with David Silva proving lively, with Roberto Mancini’s physical three-man midfield is bustling United’s creative midfield into uncharacteristic mistakes and slack long passes.

The early chance fell to Manchester City, three minutes in with some good short passing resulting in a good chance for Silva, but the eventual shot was just wide of the far post, due to good closing down from Van Der Sar.

Reds winger Nani had a fierce effort after ten minutes, cutting inside onto his favoured left foot and firing a quick shot just over Joe Hart’s crossbar.

It was Nani who opened the scoring five minutes before half-time – a long kick from goalkeeper Van der Sar was flicked on by Rooney. Ryan Giggs found Nani with a great pass, and one-on-one, the Portuguese winger comfortably slotted beyond Joe Hart.

A win in this fixture would see Manchester United gain a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, but perhaps do more damage to their rivals’ title chances as the season turns into the last few months of action.

Manchester United make four changes, with one forced. Jonny Evans is unfit, and with Rio Ferdinand still absent young centre back Chris Smalling starts for the reds. Leading goalscorer Dimitar Berbatov is left on the bench, with the preference given to midfielder Anderson, as United line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Wayne Rooney as the lone striker. O’Shea is preferred to Rafael, and Fletcher starts alongside veteran Paul Scholes, with Michael Carrick on the bench. Park Ji-Sung is still not considered fit to feature.

Man City also field a few changes; Micah Richards returns to the starting 11, as does Joleon Lescott, in place of Kolo Toure. There is no place for new striker Edin Dzeko, as Carlos Tevez features alongside attacking wide players Silva and Kolarov.

Tevez, who scored a hat-trick in City’s last league game, remains perhaps their best option for a goal. The stat repeated before kick-off was that City haven’t lost any of the 25 league games in which he has scored.

Manchester United:Van der Sar, Evra, Smalling, Vidic, O'Shea, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Rooney

Substitutes: Lindegaard, Brown, Rafael, Carrick, Owen, Berbatov, Hernandez

Manchester City:Hart, Richards, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Lescott, Milner, Barry, Silva, Yaya Toure, Tevez

Substitutes: Given, Boateng, Kolo Toure, Wright-Phillips, Vieira, Dzeko, Jo

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