It’s the Manchester derby tonight and the United camp has been severely stricken with a virus which has hit a number of first team players.
The Reds could be without up to a dozen first team regulars through illness and injury as they seek to capitalise on reducing the gap at the top of the premier league to just two points.
It is 18 games unbeaten in all competitions so far for United, and avoiding anything other than an unthinkable four-goal reverse will keep them above their city rivals in the table.
Fergie: City getting carried away.
Sir Alex chose yesterday’s press conference to have another pop at his ‘noisy neighbours.’
It is understood that Ferguson has become irked by the behaviour of elements of the club and their support, accusing them of ‘getting carried away’ since they came into the Abu Dhabi fortunes two years ago.
The Scot said “There was one City fan with a tattoo saying ‘European Cup winners’. Supporters are just as bad as directors. Their supporters would prefer to see a trophy paraded before they start screaming from the rooftops.”
He has previously branded City ‘cocky’ and ‘all talk’ and still harbors resent at the ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard rolled out for Carlos Tevez’s arrival, branding the poster as a ‘gimmick.’
City bookies favourites.
There is money to be had in the betting market with the bookies a little unsure which way to go. According to SkyBet, City are favourites at 7/5 with United a potentially long 19/10 and the draw the tastiest value at 23/10 – however, as the wise man warned the apprentice about where splinters can go if you sit on the fence…there has never been a draw at Eastland’s between the pair, with each side collecting four wins a piece.
Carlos Tevez is favourite to score at 5/1 with Javier Hernandez 11/2, Dimitar Berbatov 13/2 and Emmanuel Adebayor 7/1. Park Ji Sung has three goals in his last handful of matches and is well-priced at 12/1.
Perhaps the most difficult market to conquer would be ‘first booked’ with a host of characters familiar to referees. The walking bad tackle that is Paul Scholes is a worthy favourite at 7/1, but that is only likely to infuriate City’s own hatchet men Patrick Vieira (8/1), Nigel De Jong (8/1/) and Pablo Zabaleta (9/1).