Man United vs Man City - Match Preview

"The most eagerly awaited Manchester derby in years" as the red and blue meet as the top two teams in the country.

"The most eagerly awaited Manchester derby in years". We seem to have been saying that before each one of their meetings in the last four seasons or so, but this time there's more than a ring of truth to it as the red and blue of Manchester meet as the top two teams in the country. They haven't finished that way since 1968, when Manchester City pipped Manchester United to the title while Sir Matt Busby's team famously won the European Cup. There's every chance that Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero & Co. can make Manchester the capital of the continent's football again in the same way that the teams of Colin Bell and George Best did all those years ago. They've already met this season of course, with United winning 3-2 in the Community Shield. City let slip a two-goal lead at Wembley, as they did in the only Premier League game they've dropped points in this season: the 2-2 draw at Fulham last month. That, and the fact that four of United's last five derby triumphs have been sealed in stoppage time - makes this one to watch right to the end. There'll be none of the caution in United's approach that the line-up at Anfield suggested last weekend, and City's attacking mentality this season should ensure no repeat of the 0-0 bore-draw of last November at Eastlands, when both sides were happy with the point. City have scored at least two in every Premier League game this term, and you just know they'll have to maintain that record if they're to win at Old Trafford, something no opposition side has done since Chelsea in April 2010 - some 37 games ago. It's the perfect game for Roberto Mancini to reach 100 as City manager, their 14th boss during Sir Alex Ferguson's time at United and at times two seasons ago it didn't look like he would reach three figures. Meanwhile, Ferguson is sending a team out for his 43rd Manchester derby - won 24, lost eight is his impressive record as the red half of Manchester has, by and large, dominated. The gap, however, is closing if not closed - and United's manager knows it. There's almost an air of menace in his voice as he says: "They are top of the league. We have to do something about it". Excited? Oh, just a bit! TEAM NEWS Manchester United have no new injury worries - their only absentees remain midfielder Tom Cleverley (foot) and defender Rafael (shoulder). Wayne Rooney is likely to start after being on the bench against Liverpool, while Nemanja Vidic should also play. City forward Mario Balotelli is likely to return after missing the Champions League match in midweek through suspension. Owen Hargreaves will be assessed in a late practice match Date: Sunday 23 October 2011Location: Old TraffordKick off (BST): 13:30Competition: Barclays Premier LeagueCoverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 1 and highlights on Match of the Day 2 MATCH FACTS Head-to-head United have won 66 of the 159 matches between the clubs since they first met in the old Division Two in 1894. City have 43 victories, with 50 draws. Manchester City have only won once at Old Trafford since 1974 - a 2-1 victory for Sven-Goran Eriksson's side in 2008. United have scored 50 goals in 28 Premier League matches between the two clubs. City have scored 28 in that time. There have been a total of five red cards in this fixture in the Premier League era - Cristiano Ronaldo (two), Roy Keane, Alan Smith and Bernardo Corradi. The last hat-trick in this fixture came from Andrei Kanchelskis in a 5-0 victory in 1994; United's biggest home win over City. Manchester United United are unbeaten in their last 25 Premier League home matches, winning the last 19. This is the club's longest-ever run of top-flight home victories. They have now gone 37 games at Old Trafford without defeat in any competition. Wayne Rooney has scored five league goals in Manchester derby matches - the equal-second highest scorer in the fixture during the Premier League era with Paul Scholes (five). Only Eric Cantona (seven) has scored more. United have scored in all of their 13 league and cup matches so far this season - notching 37 goals along the way - and have now scored in their past 17 games. Manchester City They have scored 14 goals in four Premier League away games this season; an average of 3.5 goals per game. City failed to win in all four Premier League visits to so-called 'Big Four' clubs last season (United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool). Samir Nasri has provided seven league assists this season - more than any other player in the division - and previously scored both goals in Arsenal's 2-1 home win against Manchester United in November 2008. Manchester United - De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Young, Nani, Fletcher, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez.Manchester City - Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Toure, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli. Nathan's prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Man City (Hernandez, Balotteli, Nasri)

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