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Preview: Manchester City v Manchester United

Rob Bromilow Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After the weekend's last minute victory for Manchester United, we head into the Manchester derby in confident mood if not a full compliment of players. A virus has swept through the training ground since the club's trip to Turkey and the likes of Anderson, Carrick, Berbatov and Evra have all been struck with the illness. Nani could return to the team, but he won't be fully fit, Giggs is ruled out although he has been training for the last 10 days.

Ji Sung Park has been one of the best United players in recent weeks and he is sure to start with United lacking options in the midfield. The goalkeeper and defensive positions pick themselves with the likes of van der Sar, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra most likely to continue where they left off against Wolves. Rafael da Silva will probably come in to replace Wes Brown at right back.

The midfield is depleted with doubts over Anderson, Gibson, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Scholes and Valencia and Hargreaves ruled out long-term. The only guaranteed midfielders who are fit are Fletcher, Park and Obertan. With a tough trip to Eastlands this is far from convenient. Upfront Javier Hernandez will continue the lone role, assuming Berbatov doesn't recover from the flu he has contracted. United will be happy to welcome any players from injury/illness but Fergie may opt for a defensive strategy and try to play for a draw. It is not the United way but with a depleted squad it may be the best way to approach the game. Experience is often crucial in these derby games and I wouldn't be surprised if Fergie risked Giggs and Scholes from the start alongside Fletcher, Carrick and Park in a 5 man midfield.

For City they have doubts over Emmanuel Adebayor's fitness and Mario Balotelli is suspended for the game. Other than that they have a clean bill of health and will opt for the usual 4-3-3 of Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Kolo Toure, Jerome Boateng, Yaya Toure, Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry, James Milner, Carlos Tevez, David Silva.

United will probably line up like this:

Van der Sar
Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Fletcher Carrick
Park Scholes Giggs

Bench: Kuszczak, Brown, O'Shea, Gibson, Nani, Macheda, Berbatov

This is a really tough game to call and with the game being played at Eastlands and City feeling they are due a win against us, the sensible money would be on a draw, especially with us having a weakened squad. However I always think United can/will win so my prediction is:

Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United

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