Saturday, 29 November 2008

Man City v Man United Premiership Preview: Robinho & Berbatov In Race To Be Fit For Their First Manchester Derby

Manchester City play, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Premier League at the Eastlands Stadium on Sunday.

Mark Hughes will be pitting his wits against former boss Ferguson in his first Manchester Derby as a manager, with the City manager keen to put one over on his old mentor. The Blues go into this game on the back of an excellent 3-0 win against Arsenal last weekend and an impressive victory over Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the UEFA Cup on Thursday. However, while City have been scoring quite freely this season they are also prone to concede goals, with Hughes aware that any defensive frailties will be exposed by the Premier League Champions on Sunday. Man City, are yet to draw a game in the Premiership at the Eastlands and are 11th in the table.

Ferguson takes the Red Devils into this derby on a run of indifferent form, with the European Champions failing to score in their last two outings against Aston Villa in the Premiership last weekend and Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday. However, with the talent at his disposal at Old Trafford, Ferguson will be confident that United can collect all three points at the Eastlands and keep touch with Premier League pacesetters, Chelsea and Liverpool, who are the only teams above United in the table.

Hughes will hope to have British record signing Robinho back for this derby clash, who missed the UEFA Cup tie with Schalke on Thursday with an ankle injury. City are unable to call on Valeri Bojinov (calf), Michael Johnson (groin) and Martin Petrov (knee). The Blues will give late fitness tests to Pablo Zabaleta (thigh) and Gelson Fernandes (hamstring) along with Robinho. Elano should feature for City after missing the European tie due to his wife giving birth on Wednesday.

United are unable to call on Paul Scholes (knee), Owen Hargreaves (knee) and Wes Brown (ankle) for the short trip across Manchester, but could welcome back summer signing from Tottenham Hotspur Dimitar Berbatov and defender Gary Neville if they can shake off injuries in time to take their place against their local rivals at the Eastlands. Edwin van der Sar should be back to replace Tomas Kuszczak in goal after missing the clash with Villarreal.

Manchester City: (from) Hart, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Kompany, Elano, Ireland, Hamann, Robinho, Wright-Phillips, Jo, Vassell, Onuoha, Ball, Schmeichel, Mills, Zabaleta, Fernandes, Calcedo, Evans, Castillo, Ben Haim, Benjani, Sturridge, Etuhu, Logan, Glauber

Manchester United: van der Sar, Neville, Evra, Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Anderson, Berbatov, Rooney, Giggs, Foster, Park, Vidic, Carrick, Nani, Welbeck, Fabio, Rafael, O’Shea, Evans, Fletcher, Manucho, Kuszczak, Tevez, Possebon, Gray

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