City perspective: Ric Turner, Blue Moon MCFC.
City’s injury problems are mounting, with David Silva, James Milner and Aleksandar Kolarov joining Micah Richards, Gael Clichy and Jack Rodwell in the treatment room. As a result, Roberto Mancini was forced into playing a stronger XI than he would have liked against Borussia Dortmund midweek. Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure will almost certainly be restored to the starting line-up, at the expense of Javi Garcia and Edin Dzeko.
Yet another abject Champions League performance has cast doubts over Mancini’s long term future and, if truth be told, we haven’t performed particularly well all season. The fact that we remain undefeated in the Premiership despite this bodes well, but performances need to improve quickly if we’re to keep pace with United at the top of the league.
Unsurprisingly, United have the better overall record with 62 victories compared to our 43 (with 47 draws). However, we completed a league double over them last season, including the unforgettable 6-1 annihilation at Old Trafford. In the title deciding derby at Eastlands, a particularly negative United side played for, but failed to secure, the draw.
The draw at 3.40. I expect this to be a fairly nervous, cagey affair with neither team wanting to lose.
Yaya Toure to score first at 12.50. The Ivorian is something of a big game player, so is a decent punt for first goalscorer.
Under 2.5 goals at 2.20. I don't think this will be a goalfest, so the unders looks sensible.
Score prediction: Man City 1-1 Man United (7.00)
United perspective: Chudi Onwuazor, The Busby Way.
After his return was mooted in the week, Nemanja Vidic will miss the game after stating that he needed more time to return to full fitness. Shinji Kagawa has an outside chance of making the game but Tom Cleverley is definitely out after picking up a calf injury against Cluj. Anderson, Nani and Antonio Valencia are also injured.
Indifferent form is the story of our season. Despite winning 4-3 against Reading, United gave a master class in how not to defend, conceding 3 first half goals. We continue to win and sit at the top of the table, three points clear of rivals City, but the come-from-behind act is wearing thin. United will have to be weary of City as they may not be willing to play along.
Last season doesn’t exist in my memory. The 6-1 thumping at Old Trafford and lifeless 1-0 defeat at the Etihad handed the title to City, and I can only hope we avoid a repeat this term. Up until last season we had a great record against the noisy neighbours, winning five of the previous six league meetings. Now we have to ensure last season’s games don’t affect our performance this time around.
Wayne Rooney to score at 3.20. Rooney loves a derby goal and has scored eight so far in his United career. He found the net twice against Reading last week, and hopefully he can bring this form to the Etihad.
Both teams to score at 1.50. Both teams are better in attack than defence, so this looks a strong bet.
United clean sheet at 4.80. Sir Alex has expressed concern about United’s defence and clean sheets have been hard to come by, but these odds make it worth consideration.
Score prediction: Man City 1-2 Man United (12.50)