Manchester City v Manchester United – Sunday 8th January 2012 – Etihad Stadium (15:00)
Locked at the top of the table at the time of writing this article on 45 points each, local rivals Manchester City and Manchester United will meet in the 3rd round of the FA Cup this Sunday. The Premier League winner looks likely to come out of these two and both will be going all out in an attempt to make the next round of the FA Cup and increase their chances of claiming another trophy come end of the season.
Manchester City are going through their biggest slump of the season winning only 2 of their last 5 matches. They blew a huge chance to pull 3 points clear of Manchester United after losing 1-0 to Sunderland last Sunday, conceding a goal in the dying seconds. Although that goal was clearly offside, City failed to capitalise on their chances throughout the match and Sunderland fought on until the end. Roberto Mancini will have his full star studded squad available for selection with Mario Balotelli returning to the fold after being rested with a slight ankle problem in their defeat to Sunderland. Manchester City have been untouchable at home this season winning all 9 matches scoring 28 goals and conceding just 4. Playing at home will give them the much needed confidence against United and the 6-1 thrashing City handed United in the league at Old Trafford will still be fresh in the minds of both teams.
Manchester United went down to bottom of the log Blackburn Rovers last Saturday with Yakubu bagging a brace and David De Gea’s blunder handing Balckburn the winner. United’s form had been excellent until that loss and they will be looking to get back to winning ways here. Someone who has been impressive of late for United is the classy Dimitar Berbatov who has now scored 5 goals in his last 2 matches. The Bulgarian could start alongside Wayne Rooney who is expected to return to the starting line-up after Ferguson punished him for having a late night with teammates Darron Gibson and Jonny Evans and failing to keep up at training the next day. United fans will be hoping Anders Lindegaard will replace the disappointing David De Gea in goal who has been a shadow of what was expected since his arrival from Atletico Madrid.
These have been the highest scoring teams this season with 53 and 49 goals respectively and goals is what should be expected here in what should be a fast paced end to end match. City are tipped to nip the win.