We won’t mention last season’s 6-1. We won’t mention this season’s 3-2. We won’t mention the fact that they wanted RVP and we got him. I might, however, drop in the fact that we’re fifteen points clear. A few times. I’m not being arrogant and I’m not foolish enough to talk about ‘number twenty’ but going into the derby game, fifteen clear of your nearest rivals, knowing that even after the worst day of days we would still be twelve clear with seven left to play is such a beautiful thought.
Wayne Rooney will look forward to returning to action in the biggest game of the season so far whilst Rafael will be looking to take his right back spot back as he returns from fitness. Vidic and Evans remain at 50-50 so Ferdinand who has been quoted as saying ‘We…have to make sure…that they will be disappointed at the end because we have won’ will expect to command at the back with Smalling his likely partner.
Richards and Maicon are definite non-starters for City whilst Jack Rodwell could be ready for action again. David Silva and Samir Nasri (remember when we actually wanted him?) are likely to be fully fit and will likely line up in a City attack desperate to win.
This is City’s final throw at the dice for the title. Win and they know, even though slimmer than an anorexic model, their chances for the title are still there. Come away with anything less than three points and even the most blinkered and confident City fan would surely concede defeat? For that very reason I see City throwing absolutely everything at United. They will want to keep their faint hopes alive but, more importantly, and in the words of Mancini, they want to show that they ‘don’t deserve to stay 15 points behind’. The question that has to be asked, however, is will they leave themselves too open at the back? I said I wouldn’t mention the 6-1 but I’ve got to. I remember it getting to 3-1 thinking ‘shit! We can do this!’ and I fear, with hindsight, that the players felt the same. They kept on pushing forward. Over and over and over. We know what happened next. If City do this tomorrow then I think United could lap it up and sting them on the counter on more than one occasion.
• United have kept six clean sheets in a row in the Premier League.
• United are the first team in English top-flight history to win 25 of their opening 30 fixtures.
• Mancini’s Premier League record against United reads 2W, 3L, 1D
• Van Persie has failed to score in any of his last nine fixtures but…
• Tevez and Aguero have scored the same combined total as RVP has by himself (19)
• United to win @ 13/10
• United to win 6-1 @300/1
• RVP hat-trick @25/1
• Van Persie to score first in a 3-1 win @115/1
• Welbeck to score anytime in a United victory @19/5
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