Manchester Derby Preview: The Fight to Top the Premier League Continues!

The 2 Manchester Derbies that took place in the Premier League last season ended in devastating losses for United. Not only did City gain a vital 6 points from both matches, they won by a goal differential of 6 points.

Manchester DerbyIn October of 2011, manager Roberto Mancini led the Citizens to a shocking 6-1 win at Old Trafford, the biggest goal margin in Manchester Derby history. Later in the season, they defeat United once more, this time at home, with the score of 1-0.

These wins were vital to Manchester City’s first Premier League title. The 6 points tied them with Manchester United at the end of the season, and the superior goal differential pushed City ahead, handing them the title. That has been the first time that the Premier League had been settled by goal differential.

Could tomorrow’s Manchester Derby be as decisive as last year’s? The 2 Manchester Clubs will meet at Etihad Stadium in their first match-up since the Citizens gained Premiership last year. But one thing is for sure: If there is 1 game any Premier League enthusiast is yearning to see, this is certainly the one!

Manchester United stands at the top of the Premier League with 36 points, while Manchester City stands in a close 2nd with 33 points. Chelsea, who has already played this week’s game (which ended in a 3-1 win over Sunderland), is in 3rd with 29 points.

Because Manchester City has a larger goal difference (+17 compared to United’s +16), for them, tomorrow’s game could put them back in 1st.

Manchester United, who has a 3 point advantage over City after 15 matches, has a chance to widen the margin with Manchester City to 6 providing a win away from home.

Manchester United

Things to Note:

Robin van PersieUnited has done a superb job in the Champions League Group Stage, ending in 1st in Group H with 12 points. They are in 1st in the Premier League, and have a total of 12 wins and 3 losses so far. They have shown strength in their offense this season, and are holding on tightly to their current positions. But their weaknesses are in their goalkeepers: David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard have been performing very poorly, conceding a combined 21 goals in 15 games.

United have many players out due to injuries, 3 of which are Nemanja Vidic, Nani, and Antonio Valencia.

Key players:
Robin van Persie

Clearly United’s most influential summer signing, Robin van Persie is currently tied for top goalscorer in the Premier League with 10 goals. The Netherlands International striker has led the United offense to spectacular heights this season. They have scored a total of 37 goals thus far, which is 9 larger than Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham’s 28 goals this season. He will surely play a significant role in the Manchester Derby, and could likely score a goal or two.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney has been at United for a total of 8 years now, and he seems to be improving with every season. Rooney has done a good deal of goal-scoring too, netting a total of 4 thus far, but his most shocking record currently seems to be his 7 assists, which is the most in the league. Already, Rooney has made more assists than 2 of his last 3 seasons. He will also probably be a vital factor in tomorrow’s derby, and I could see a Rooney-van Persie duo finding the back of the net.

Manchester City

Things to Note:

Manchester CityNow that City are out of the Champions League and they don’t even need to face the Europa League, all their focus is on winning the Premier League. City did not do extremely well at the beginning of the season, unable to win 3 of their first 5 matches. At the Champions League, the English Champions did terribly, gaining only 3 points from 3 draws in Group D and ending in 4th.

Alike United, City have many players out due to injuries, such as Gael Clichy and James Milner, but David Silva will finally be back after missing their game against Dortmund.

Key players:
Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez will play a very active role tomorrow. He has scored the most goals for Manchester City (7), and has also made a significant number of assists (4) this season as well. The forward will help drive the Citizens toward the Red Devils’ goal, and will likely fire a few shots and assists too. But only time can tell whether or not any of those attempts will be successful.

Joe Hart

Because of United’s very strong offense, I have decided to put City goalkeeper Joe Hart as one of their key players for tomorrow’s game. The England International has made a total of 27 saves in their 15 games this season, and has been vital to keeping City’s goal differential the largest in the league. City has conceded 11 goals so far, which is much less than United’s 21. I predict Joe Hart will be the one saving serious shots in tomorrow’s match.

Summary

The Manchester Derby is an event football fans all over the world enjoy watching, and without a doubt, it will be very interesting. City remains the only undefeated team in England and has an exceptional record at home. But on the other hand, United has been doing a great job away from home, winning 6 out of their last 8 away matches.

United has the advantage in the offensive half and a weaker defense, while City has just the opposite. This puts them in a more-or-less even match, but I feel United have the determination and passion to defeat City in tomorrow’s Manchester Derby.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United

  • Can’t wait for the derby. Think City is getting out with a win though!