Man City v Man United preview
Manchester City and bitter enemies Manchester United meet at Eastlands on Saturday lunchtime in one of their most significant derby battles.
Roberto Mancini's City are desperate to reinforce their hold on fourth place in the Premier League and they are aware a win would also inflict further damage on United's title aspirations.
City are now the favourites to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League, but they sit just one point above Tottenham in what promises to be an agonising conclusion to the season.
United occupy second position and trail leaders Chelsea by four points after a defeat to the Blues and a stalemate with Blackburn loosened Sir Alex Ferguson's defending champions' grip on the trophy.
In contract to their neighbours, City are hitting form at the perfect time of the season having won their last three matches and they have scored 14 goals in the process to build a degree of confidence.
To add to the spice, the home side are out for revenge after they felt they were denied at least a point by refereeing inconsistency in September's injury-time defeat at Old Trafford, while they were also knocked out of the Carling Cup semi-finals by United.
Carlos Tevez will start against former club United and the Argentina star will want to continue a rich vein of form which has seen him score six goals in his last three matches.
Wayne Bridge has a chance of featuring as he has recovered from a hernia operation which caused him to miss five matches.
The full-back is one of four players who are in line to return with Stephen Ireland (ankle) and Patrick Vieira (knee) on the mend following injuries while Pablo Zabaleta is free from suspension.
Ferguson has confirmed that striker Wayne Rooney is in contention to return from the ankle complaint which forced him to miss the draw with Blackburn after aggravating the problem against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
United are also boosted by the news that England midfielder Owen Hargreaves is set to be included for the City game, giving him the chance to make his first senior appearance in almost 20 months after a series of knee operations.
Latest Forum Comments
What a cracking day saturday turned out to be!! I thought we played well against City but still not quite right although winnin git like we did will really give us the lift we need. HE SCORES GOALS GALORE.... Spurs were awesome against Chelsea who bottled it big time, created nothing and looked like the could concede 4 or 5. IF we can get 3 points against spurs at OT then the pressure is on Chelsea BIG TIME and the one of the last teams they will want to play is Stoke, be it at SB or not. They will fight for everything and will hopefully be launching long ball after long ball at their defence minus Terry and a dodgy looking Cech! WE SHALL NOT, WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED~!!- birchy
Anyone else pleasantly surprised by Berbatov when he came on? I was shocked at the way he picked up the ball, turned and then ran at the City defence a couple of times. Usually he'll pick it up then just look to pop a pass out to a wide man. He looked more direct yesterday when he got on the ball. His problem is that he plays at a different tempo to the team and tends to slow things down. If he just upped that temp then I think he would be so much more effective. The most frustrating thing is that we all know he has the talent and ability to be a United player, but maybe time has run out for him?- Menace
If you could bottle that feeling when Scholes scored, it would be the most expensive addictive drug in the world. I went and stood right in the front row behind the goal in the 2nd half, I have bruises and cuts all over my shins where I ended up over the barrier when Scholes scored. Then we stopped off on the way back to watch Spurs beat Chelsea. What a mint day. Moments like that are what make all the money/travelling/getting up at 4am etc all worth while. And in stoppage time again?! Brilliant.- Matt
What a day yesterday. I'll be smiling all of next week. Our never say-die-attitude over the years has been incredible.- Geoff
Very pleasantly surprised the way this weekend has turned out! However, as Jonny and Neil say - we play these guys next week... So let's hope they don't continue their dream run with us!- Abner
What a wonderful day. Couldn't really have been better. Unless we didn't have to play Spurs next Saturday - that's going to be a very, very tough game. Oh, and given Terry's current form it's a pity he'll be suspended next week. England better hope Rio is on tip-top form come the World Cup, Terry looks dreadful.- Neil
Great to be only a point behind with 3 games to go hopefully we can win our next 3 and Liverpool do us a favour when Chelsea go to anfield. But im still gonna moan because Tottenham should have won that game by 4 or 5 with the amount of chances they created and missed. But id definitey have taken a 2-1 at the start of the day.- Munsterman
i never thought at the end of the day we'd be within a point of Chelsea. brilliant day.- Shaun
if it stays like this we will be one point behind and only 2 goals down on Chelsea. then if we win against Spurs next Saturday our goals would probably be equal and be 2 points clear, with Chelsea playing the next day. Big pressure. All big ifs though of course.- Shaun
Until we have secured 3 points against Spurs at OT I shall not be getting too excited about this one.- jonny
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