Hassan Chamas

What: English Premier League
Who: Manchester City (4th; 62 points) vs. Manchester United (2nd; 73 points)
When: Saturday 17th April, 2010, at 12:45 UK Time
Where: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England

Fight for Fourth

The City of Manchester Stadium prepares itself for the 155th Manchester derby, in what promises to be a crucial meeting played in a real pressure cooker atmosphere. Manchester City enter this race with the ever-lasting hope of clinching that ultimate Champions League berth. Their run-in looks a tricky one and, just a single point clear of fifth placed Tottenham, the Citizens cannot afford to drop too many points.

One thing City can be proud of is their magnificent attacking potential: Having scored 14 goals in their last three competitive matches, Roberto Mancini’s team hold now a golden opportunity to have wreak their revenge on their cross-town rivals, after Sir Alex Ferguson’s team managed to come up with all three points in the corresponding fixture earlier this season thanks to a Michael Owen injury time goal. Add to that elimination from the semi-final of the League Cup and City should not be short of motivation.

Spiraling Down

A defeat in this weekend’s Manchester derby may be the spark to blast Manchester United’s season, as a loss to Chelsea and a frustrating draw against Blackburn in the Premier League sandwiched United’s Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich. With the Red Devils out of the competition that they ended as finalists in the last two years, and having dropped precious points in the league race, they could very well be contemplating what looked like a promising end of season run turning into a damp squib.

Most of the gossip around Old Trafford has been on Wayne Rooney’s injury and comeback date. The Englishman injured himself in the second leg against Bayern Munich, and after having sat out the goalless draw against Blackburn Rovers, will be racing towards fitness as his team faces a crucial time. Should the striker fail to make it this Saturday then Dimitar Berbatov will occupy his place, something few Manchester United fans relish in the wake of the Bulgarian’s substandard form. 

Recent form

Manchester City:
Manchester City 3-0 Wigan Athletic (29/03; Premier League)
Burnley 1-6 Manchester City (03/04; Premier League)
Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham (11/04; Premier League)

Manchester United:

Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea (03/04; Premier League)
Manchester United 3-2 Bayern Munich (07/04; Champions League)
Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Manchester United (11/04; Premier League)

Key absences

Manchester City: Stephen Ireland (doubt); Martin Petrov (doubt); Joleon Lescott; Wayne Bridge; Michael Johnson

Manchester United: Wayne Rooney (doubt); Danny Welbeck; Wes Brown; Michael Owen; Anderson

Players to watch

Manchester City – Carlos Tevez: No player on the pitch this weekend will hold a more personal agenda than the Argentina star. Having found the back of the net on 22 occasions this league campaign, “El Apache” will be looking to hit back at his old coach, especially since he faces the possibility of coming against Berbatov, the player Ferguson preferred over him.

Manchester United – Nani: The Portuguese’s showing against Bayern might have helped him shrug off the “big-game flop” tag, but Nani will be expected to produce again when facing City. With Rooney potentially missing this encounter, Nani will have to be the spark that gets Man Utd running.

Match prediction

Sir Alex Ferguson will be crossing his fingers, hoping to have his most important star back for this Manchester derby. Should the regular United front-man fail to show up, then the hosts will certainly prove to be a nuisance for the 1999 treble winners. Having embarked on an amazing run recently, the Citizens have what it takes to upset their cross town rivals. A 2-1 final score for The Blues. 


Fancy a bet on this exciting game? Remember, you can find and compare the prices of all major online bookmakers on tip-ex.com.



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