United starting team: de Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Young; Van Persie, Rooney.
Barclays Premier League
Referee: M. Atkinson (matches 12, R1, Y47)
Assistants: P. Kirkup, S. Burt
Fourth Official: M. Clattenburg
Head to head at the Etihad: United 5, City 5, Draw 1
30 Premier League games: United 17, City 7, Draw 6
Head to head between managers: Sir Alex Ferguson 5, Roberto Mancini 4, Draw 1
City have not lost at the Etihad in over a year, 37 games.
Manchester City are the first English club not to record a single win in the group stages of the Champions League tournament. Ousted from Europe and also out of the Capital One Cup, with only the Premier League title and the FA Cup to concentrate on this season. Is this a favourable advantage for Manchester United ? NO most certainly not, we would ideally want to keep your arch rivals to have a similar amount of games to participate in !
United have the most lethal attack in the Premier League scoring 37 goals to date, while the current Premier League title holders have the least porous defence in the league, conceding a miserly 11 goals in 15 games so far. Which has resulted with City’s resilient rearguard being the only unbeaten team in England. Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledged a win at the Etihad on Sunday would be “The finest of his career “.
Robin van Persie has scored 13 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions, however the Dutchman has not netted in his last eight matches against the Citizens.
Wayne Rooney has scored 4 goals in 8 matches at Manchester City in the league, netting 8 goals in all competitions against Manchester City. Only Sir Bobby Charlton has scored more goals against City, 9. Will Wayne Rooney equal or overtake the United legend today? Rooney while not having a prolific goal scoring spree currently has provided the most assists (7) in the Premier League from his deeper role in the team. United are the most potent team away from Old Trafford scoring 18 goals, 6 more than any of the other teams. United as we know have conceded the first goal 15 times in 23 games. Coming back last week against Reading for the seventh time in the league to register a nail- biting win, a record for a Premier League season. One which the manager and his staff will be actively endeavoring to eradicate. With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones returning from lengthy injuries their additional height in the central defence will increase the managers options, particularly from dead – ball delivery into United’s 18 yard box.
Interestingly Carlos Tevez has never been on the losing side in which the Argentinian has scored a goal in the Premier League, ( W31, D4 ).
A confusing picture with contradictions and possible mind games.
United will be without Nemanja Vidic, Kagawa Shinji, Anderson and Nani. Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia are very unlikely to make the United bench. The manager said on the injuries “I know we have some injury problems but we are not short of a squad, I have plenty of experience to bring in. I rested Darren Fletcher against Cluj on Wednesday and just brought him on for the last ten minutes. Michael Carrick will be back in. I also have Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. That is what big squads allow you to do. You don’t have every player every week. Our supporters must recognise that. Over the years we have had injury situations. Every club gets them “.