With the English Premier League season reaching the home stretch, Manchester United and Manchester City are set for a crucial top of the table clash. The last time these two sides met at Old Trafford, Manchester City romped to a 6-1 victory. Manchester United never recovered from that defeat and went on to lose the title to their “noisy neighbours” on goal difference in May. Fast forward to a year later and United have a 15 point lead at the top of the table. Victory on Monday would virtually guarantee their 20th league title. For Manchester City, this is a chance to gain some pride and show that the gap between the two teams is not as large as the points difference suggests. Â The demand for football tickets for this match is expectedly high, with United fans fired up to lead their team to a victory that would almost certainly bring the title back to their side of town.
Neither side has many injury concerns ahead of the game. Wayne Rooney missed Manchester United’s FA Cup defeat to Chelsea, but he should be fit in time for Monday’s clash. He will partner Robin van Persie in attack, with Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa offering creativity and tenacity from the wings. Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick will resume their successful midfield partnership, with Phil Jones a possible inclusion in place of Cleverley.
United’s defence was a concern early in the season, but they have not conceded a Premier League goal for more than 600 minutes. David de Gea is in exemplary form, and it is likely to be a back four of Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, and Patrice Evra in front of him.
Manchester City have found the “second season syndrome” makes retaining a league title a lot more difficult than winning it the first time. Their key players have failed to shine all season. The likes of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and David Silva have shown their quality in patches, but not on a consistent basis. This has led to City dropping too many points and now they find themselves fifteen points behind the league leaders.
City will go with Tevez and Aguero up front, with Nasri, Silva, Barry and Yaya Toure behind them. Nastasic will partner Kompany in defence, where there is no place for last season’s stand out performer Joleon Lescott. It is between Pablo Zabaleta and Maicon for the right back slot, with Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov competing for the left back place.
This is a game that could go in either direction as both teams possess their fair share of match winners. The return game at the Etihad ended in a 3-2 Manchester United victory, with Robin van Persie’s 90th minute free kick giving the Red Devils all three points. That was before United ran into a 2-0 lead and City pegged them back with a fantastic second half rally.
United’s players and fans will not have forgotten the 6-1 defeat early last season. It was the day when City announced themselves as a genuine threat to the Premier League title. Revenge will be on the players’ minds, and they will not want to let City get another victory at Old Trafford. This game will be a home victory or a draw.
I cannot see City getting all three points at Old Trafford. Despite their obvious quality, they do not have the determination that Manchester United currently possess. United have been relentless in their pursuit of the Premier League title. Last season’s final day failure hurt the players, and they have only dropped 13 points all season. Victory on Monday would be the icing on the cake of an inevitable 20th league title success. If you want to see this titanic tussle, look online for Manchester United vs Manchester City tickets.