Its derby day in Manchester between two sides who completely hate each other and surprisingly share a common aim for the rest of the season – finishing in the Champions League places after a dramatic change in fortunes of both sides.
Manchester United are in great form after winning the last five consecutive matches and are coming into this match as the favorites. Louis Van Gaal has apparently found his best formation after much tinkering and it’s beginning to reap rewards.
Manchester City on the other hand, are in crisis having lost five of their last seven games. They have relinquished second spot and have dropped to fourth in what has been a turbulent period for the champions.
Manuel Pellegrini is not safe too with rumors in the media suggesting that he will be relieved of his job in the summer. That may well be the case unless he can turn things around dramatically and what better way to start than against bitter rivals United, who they have beaten in the past four outings.
On a side note, Mark Clattenburg will referee this weekend’s showcase game.
The host do not have any new injury concerns and they could have Robin van Persie and Chris Smalling available for selection. Van Gaal is likely to retain the same starting XI that beat Villa last week with Wayne Rooney leading the charge alongside Juan Mata and Ashley Young.
In form Ander Herrera and Maruoane Fellaini will be joined by Michael Carrick in midfield while Phil Jones and Marcus Rojo will be the center back pairing. David de Gea should retain his place in goal despite his bizarre mistake last week.
For the visitors, it’s hard to say if Pellegrini will stick with his 4-4-2 or switch to a more conservative 4-5-1 after the failure of the former to reap any dividends in the last couple of weeks.
Edin Dzeko was abysmal in the last match so he may be dropped, while Stefan Jovetic has been frozen out altogether. The only viable option to partner with Sergio Aguero – who claims they’re still in the title hunt – is Wilfred Bony, but even he is unfit at this time meaning the Citizens may well be forced to play just one man upfront.
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