Manchester Rivals Battle For Top Spot

Image courtesy of uefa.com/Getty Images
City captain Vincent Kompany will be a central figure in the Manchester derby. Image courtesy of uefa.com/Getty Images
Mouthwatering doesn’t even begin to describe the Manchester derby coming this Monday morning (AEDT). United and City sit first and second on the Premier League table, but it is fair to say neither team has really hit its straps for any significant period of time in all competitions this season. In the context of the EPL, though, this match has a significant bearing, as the Red Devils can go six clear at the top if they take the three points across town.

After 15 games, City remains undefeated, but the Sky Blues have won just one of their last five in all competitions. Their EPL form has been consistent, but after their midweek UEFA Champions League exit, when they became the worst performed English team in the history of the competition, pressure is all of a sudden mounting on manager Roberto Mancini.

While Sir Alex Ferguson is safe, the same can’t be said of his backline. Nemanja Vidic was meant to return from three months on the sideline in the 1-0 loss to Romanian side CFR Cluj on Wednesday night, but his knee needs more time to recover. United has kept just four clean sheets in 22 league and cup games this season, and the 4-3 win over Reading represented the seventh time this season the Red Devils have come from behind to win.

Despite the avalanche of goals this game promises, the last five matches between these teams at Etihad Stadium have featured just four strikes. City has won two of those games 1-0 , including the corresponding game last season, while United has picked up a pair of 1-0 victories. The Citizens have conceded just six goals at Etihad this campaign and in eight home games, they’ve been the team to score first on six occasions.

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