Manchester United v Manchester City: Match Preview
Premier League: Manchester United can move one step closer to winning the title by beating Manchester City on Monday night
In the corresponding fixture last season at Old Trafford, it was described as a "seismic day in English football" after Manchester City slaughtered Manchester United 6-1 on the road to a maiden Premier League crown.
A lot has changed since then with Manchester City putting up little fight in the defence to their crown, as the Red Devils are romping to a 20th league title.
Whilst this game has no ramifications on the title race, bragging rights in Manchester are up for grabs as United look to do the double over City this season and Roberto Mancini's men aim to salvage pride in an otherwise uninspiring campaign.
The Premier League champions-elect have been in imperious form this term, scoring goals for fun with their devastatingly prolific frontline consisting of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
That potency upfront proved the different in the earlier season meeting at the Etihad Stadium, where Rooney took his brace with supreme confidence and assurance, while Van Persie was fortuitous but nonetheless deserving of his late winner.
Dreams of a treble or double winning season have been dashed in recent weeks by Real Madrid and Chelsea, but there is no denying the red half of Manchester an unprecedented 20th league title. They will still be burning from the massacre that was handed to them some 18 months ago when this most impregnable of fortresses that is Old Trafford was blown to bits by the razzle and dazzle of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and co. This game serves as a chance to set things straight and whilst returning the favour might be beyond them, they can definitely remind their neighbours that Old Trafford is a fortress once more.
Mancini's charges have been insipid in defending their title. They have never really got going at any point this season with injuries, poor form and an overall feeling of jadedness hounding them. Having opened the campaign with a 15-match unbeaten streak, it seemed as if City were gradually building towards their best, but that has not been the case as their strikers have been nowhere near the prolific scoring machines that they were last season.
They have not been aided by the sparkling midfield of last season as Silva, Samir Nasri and even Yaya Toure have blown hot and cold.
There has been a visible lack of width in attack with congestion through the middle being a common theme all season, as the loss of Adam Johnson and the scarcely used Scott Sinclair not allowing City to add another dimension to their attack.
Too often Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are found dropping deep and causing a gridlock in the middle with the likes of Silva and Nasri. In contrast, United have an abundance of wide options with the likes of Nani, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia. They will no doubt be looking to exploit City's full-backs and the lack of cover for them will be a concern given there no natural wide players City possess.
Tevez was excellent against United when the two sides met in December, and his industry and clinical finishing will be much more threatening alongside Eden Dzeko or Aguero than what Mario Balotelli brought to the table back then.
City are probably in as good a form as they have been all season so they will be difficult for even the Red Devils to knock over
Manchester United 2 Manchester City 2
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