First meets second in the Premier League tonight, in what may be the most important Manchester derby in history, with the winner moving into poll position for a title victory.
Just three points separate the blue and red sides of Manchester, as City host their rivals, with the chance to draw level, and in the process gain a clear advantage in the title race due to their superior goal difference.
Both teams come into the game in good form, with Manchester City enjoying three wins in a row following their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at the beginning of the month. At home City are unbeaten in the league in 27 games, 25 of which were victories, meaning United have it all to do at the Etihad Stadium.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have won one of their last three league games, 4-0 over Aston Villa, but suffered a defeat to Wigan, and a draw last time around with Everton. Prior to the Wigan defeat however, United had recorded five wins from six away Premier League matches.
For City, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez could continue their excellent form of late, but manager Roberto Mancini does have Mario Balotelli back from suspension, and has hinted that the Italian should play some part. Micah Richards is set to return to the squad following injury.
United are expected to bring in Ji Sung Park, with striker Danny Welbeck most likely to be sacrificed, leaving Wayne Rooney as the main attacking element of the side. Nani is set to miss out with an ankle injury, and a decision based on form will be made at right-back, where Rafael, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are incontention for a place.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man