30th April 2012 _ 20 :00 GMT
The countdown has begun. It’s time for what’s turning out to be the battle of two biggest rivals in English Football as Sir Alex had quoted earlier this week
“Cheers , Heartbreaks , Goosebumps , Emotions , Celebrations & all possible ingredients you need for a Derby atmosphere …..Its arguably the biggest and most Important Derby in the history of the Premier League .. With 3 games to go, its a do-or-die situation for both the Manchester clubs as the season draws to a conclusion with the title race being as lively as ever..”
For United it’s an easy situation as they just need to avoid defeat before playing their final two games against Swansea at home and Sunderland away. But for City its a must win situation in order to stay in contention for what will be a first ever Premier League title for Mancini and his team. After the derby, City travel to the Sports Direct Arena to face a Newcastle side who are in blistering form after winning 6 of their last 7 matches.. So a defeat or even a draw will prove no good for City and consequently dent their title hopes as United are unlikely to lose any of their remaining fixtures.
The Match kicks off at The Etihad Stadium on Monday night with a record 650 million people over the globe reported to view through 16 broadcasters at the stadium itself – the most ever for a Premier League game. United will go into the match on back of a home draw against Everton where they twice gave up a 2-goal lead. It is clearly evident that they have missed their Captain and best defender in the squad – Nemanja Vidic who has missed most of the season though injury. Although the partnership of Ferdinand and Jonny Evans was proving to be a strong and stubborn one, the defence will surely be concerned after letting in four goals at home . Michael Owen, Anderson , Fletcher and Paul Pogba are the other notable absentees for United.
As far as City are concerned , they are equipped with a full strength squad with Mario Balotelli returning from suspension and Micah Richards shrugging off a hamstring injury.
Head to Head:
The teams have previously met 162 times with United winning 64 , City with 47 wins and the remaining 51 games ending in a draw.
On field Competitions :
Rooney <–> Kompany :
The United striker is in great form after scoring 22 goals in his last 21 starts for his team. But this time he faces Vincent Kompany, who according to many pundits, is currently the best defender in the league although history suggests the striker faces no difficulties in finding the back of the net against the blues.
Valencia <–> Kolarov
United Fans will surely know just how important this man has been to their team recently. The United winger has 4 goals and 13 assists this season and has been unplayable since Christmas. His ability to go pass defenders, his immense strength and most importantly, decent deliveries into the box has earned him the Man Utd player of the month for 2 straight months. The battle between Alexandre Kolarov and Luis Valencia wil be surely the one to watch.
Carlos Tevez<–> Jonny Evans
Manchester City have been recently blessed with the return of Carlos Tevez, who has been in good form since his return with a hattrick against Norwich a few days after opening the scoring against West Brom. His partnership with Aguero has so far been fruitful with the Argentine pair scoring 9 goals when they have started together. On the other side, United defender Jonny Evans has also demonstrated excellent defensive qualities and has matured a lot as a defender this season , especially in the absence of Vidic. His performances have earned a lot of praise from many journalists over the world including the manager Sir Alex Ferguson.