Manchester United might be out of the title race, but this doesn’t mean to say that this local derby is going to be any less significant. As well as the fierce rivalry, United will know that a victory over their “noisy neighbours” will hinder their championship bid substantially.
Of course, it’s not all about local pride. It’s no secret that United have experienced an absolutely dire campaign but following two successive victories, there is at least some hope that the Red Devils might be turning their campaign around. With eleven points separating them from the top four one would assume that Champions League qualification is not attainable via the league route, but David Moyes will know the importance of finishing strongly if only to prove the doubters wrong. The defeat to Liverpool just over a week ago was probably one of their lowest points for many a season, but United have still managed three wins from their last four which certainly isn’t a bad return and will at least inject some confidence ahead of this almighty test against City.
If we take a look at Manchester City’s situation, it’s clear that they are slowly turning the corner as well. A couple of weeks ago they hit their first real stumbling block of the campaign and after dropping points to Chelsea and Norwich, as well as suffering defeats in cup competitions, questions were being asked of Manuel Pellegrini’s side. However, successive wins over Hull and Fulham has put their title bid back on track and if they can take all three points this Tuesday, most people think that the championship is theirs to lose. They still have three games in hand over leaders Chelsea and with just six points separating them from the Blues, the ball is certainly in their court.
In terms of team news, Manchester United could approach this game with some severe problems at the back with late decisions set to be made on Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand as the trio struggle on the sidelines. When you also consider the fact that Nemanja Vidic is still missing through suspension, it’s clear that United really could be fielding a makeshift backline. However, United aren’t the only side with problems and visitors City will not be able to call upon Sergio Aguero or Matija Nastasic who are both on the treatment table. On a more positive note, Vincent Kompany is tipped to start after serving his suspension.
Manchester United have shown signs of improvement over the course of March, but we don’t think they’ll have a chance of stopping their local rivals. City seem to be returning to peak form just at the right time and taking this into account, our tip will be a 3-1 victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.