The clock is ticking and soon we will see if the Eastlands masses come away with bragging rights of whether the Old Trafford boys can give their title chase a big boost.
Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge is expected to make his comeback on Saturday after a five-match absence following a hernia operation.
Stephen Ireland is also in contention after injury, while Pablo Zabaleta is free from suspension.
Manchester United are confident that Wayne Rooney will have recovered from an ankle injury in time to play.
Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand remain doubts with respective hamstring and groin problems.
Doubtful: Bridge (hernia), Ireland (ankle), Sylvinho (calf)
Injured: M Johnson, Petrov & Vieira (all knee), Lescott (hamstring)
Doubtful: Ferdinand (groin), Giggs (hamstring), Rooney (ankle)
Injured: Anderson (knee), Brown (metatarsal), Owen (hamstring) (BBC Sport)
These two sides hardly need much incentive to get in the right gear to face it each other but this season’s second Manchester derby has massive significance outside the usual local rivalry. City are looking to nab that final Champions League spot and United need the three points to keep up with Chelsea in the title race.
City were of course mighty unlucky to lose out in the seven goal thriller that took place when these two sides last met with Michael Owen scoring a last gasp winner. Roberto Mancini will be counting on his Eastlands home record to work in his favour as City have lost just once in the Premier League on their own patch and have won their last three games on the trot and scored an incredible 14 goals in the process. However Man United are not in such a good shape of late. Sir Alex Ferguson saw his side follow up a run of seven straight wins with defeat at home to Chelsea, elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich and then a worryingly dour performance at Ewood Park that ended in a goalless stalemate.
Wayne Rooney’s return, if indeed the England man makes it into the starting eleven, will be crucial. The 24 year old has been in awesome form this season and when he has been absent United haven’t been able to finish off their opponents in anything like the same manner they are accustomed to.
My Bets of the Day would include the obligatory card count and you can get a healthy 5/4 on there being at least six cards shown which seems reasonable. 9/5 on City to triumph also seems fairly generous. First goalscorer bets of interest would be 4/1 on Wayne Rooney and 5/1 on Carlos Tevez to score first, longer odds can be found though and 16/1 on Paul Scholes and 14/1 on Shaun Wright-Phillips seems decent bets also.
My Prediction: Well I would make two predictions based solely on whether Wayne Rooney starts the fixture or not. If the goal machine is not fit to start then I would plump for a 2-0 win to Man City and if the England international is fully fit and raring to go then I would go for a 2-1 win to Man United. Having watched United in action against Blackburn Rovers and predicted that they wouldn’t score I would say the same would occur today. Dimitar Berbatov just isn’t in the right frame of mind to lead the line of late and Federico Macheda is still very raw.
Here are some highlights of recent battles to get everyone in the mood.
Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City September 2009
All the goals and highlights of this match can be seen by CLICKING HERE
Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United March 2004
Manchester City 3-3 Manchester United November 1971