PREVIEW: City vs United

Robert Toole & Robert Pollard

City versus United, Sunday 9th December 2012, 1.30pm, Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Tickets: Sold Out

Last Season: City 1-0 United

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Team News

City – David Silva (hamstring) is in contention despite missing Wednesday’s Champions League game against to Borussia Dortmund. James Milner and Gael Clichy are also hoping to prove their fitness.

United – Tom Cleverley is a doubt with a calf injury. Anderson has been ruled out for at least three weeks (hamstring), while Nemanja Vidic is unlikely to feature and Shinji Kagawa is still out.

Stats

City remain the only unbeaten team in the league this season after a 1-1 draw against Everton.

A Tevez penalty earned by Dzeko was enough to earn a point in the race for the Premier League table. Tevez now has 7 goals so far this season at a rate of one every 152 minutes and 17 seconds and 6.7 shots per goal.

City have conceded just 11 goals compared to United’s 21.

Nastasic has averaged a defensive contribution once every 19 minutes and 16 seconds including 12 attempted tackles, 5 clearances, 12 interceptions and 4 blocks.

Kompany has been integral to that, contributing 107 defensive interventions so far this season, including 50 attempted tackles with 52% won, 19 clearances, 33 interceptions and 5 blocks. Impressive figures given City’s dominance of possession means opposition attacks are often limited.

City have only scored 1 goal at home against United in their last 4 Premier League meetings at the Etihad Stadium.

City currently average a shot in the Premier League every 7 minutes. That’s the same rate as the 2011/12 season.

If CIty avoid defeat on Sunday they will equal their all time top-flight unbeaten 22 match streak (set from 1936-1937).

City are looking to win 3 top-flight matches in a row against United for the 1st time since a 4 match winning run in 1969-70.

United were forced to cover more ground as a team against Reading than they have in any other game this season, clocking up 66.29 miles between them. That included 6.96 miles by Rooney, the second highest by an individual United player (after Rooney’s own record of 7.03 miles)

Van Persie’s goal was his tenth of the season making him the Premier League’s joint top goal scorer. Interestingly, of the four players who share that position van Persie has needed the second fewest shots at goal to net his ten goals. Van Persie has needed 46 shots to hit double figures for goals, while Suarez has needed 80, Ba 53, and Michu just 39.

Rooney has 4 goals in 11 games now this season having has 35 shots at goal with 65.7% accuracy, the best percentage on target rating of any of United or City’s strikers. Rooney’s team mate Hernandez, meanwhile, has the best shots per goal ratio of any of the strikers that might take to the field in the derby, needing just 3 shots for each goal.

Rafael da Silva has contributed more defensively than any other United player. Da Silva has attempted 44 tackles, winning 24, and made 13 clearances, 22 interceptions and 1 block.

The possession battle on Sunday will be key, revolving around the key playmakers for each side: Yaya Toure and Michael Carrick. Toure has completed more passes in the opposition half than any other player in the league, with 657, averaging one every 2 minutes and 12 seconds. Carrick has completed 518, averaging one every 2 minutes 38 seconds. The pair sit first and fourth respectively in the EA SPORTS Player Performance for the number of passes completed in the opposition half.

Toure and Carrick are beaten in the table for minutes per pass completed by their team mates Paul Scholes and Samir Nasri, however. While Scholes and Nasri have played fewer minutes than Toure andCarrick their frequency of pass completion is better, with Scholes still the best in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with Nasri second. Scholes completes a pass in opposition territory once every 1 minute 53 seconds (the only player to break the 2 minutes per pass barrier) while Nasri does so every 2 minutes and 5 seconds.

Stats courtesy of By Far the Greatest Team and Opta City.

Press Conference

As you would expect from pre-derby press conferences, it was a case of mind games between the two managers. Alex Ferguson claimed City’s recent record with penalties would be worthy of a House of Commons inquest if United got as many as us, while Roberto Mancini rebutted his nonsense by reminding the United manager of Ashley Young’s propensity to dive.

Ferguson:

If we got that number of penalty kicks there’d be an inquiry in the House of Commons. There’d be a protest.

It would be difficult to think the two of us would collapse and allow another team to get in so I think it [the title race] will be between the two of us. We have that gap over Chelsea and Arsenal and Tottenham. City are our biggest threat and we’re their biggest threat.

Derby games are notorious for surprises. City haven’t lost for two years in it. It’s going to be a hard game for us but we are capable of beating anyone.

Mancini:

I remember very well last year, [Ashley] Young, when he went swimming. I think it was four or five times in the last 10 games and he [Ferguson] didn’t say nothing.

They are used to playing these games in the title race for 20 years. For this reason they have a small advantage. They can lose [this weekend’s game] because they have three points more. We have three points less and we can’t lose. They are better than us at this moment.

Inside the Opposition

Don’t miss our two interviews with United blogger Scott the Red, who edits Republik of Mancunia, and Mark Kelleher, who writes for stretford-end.com.

Fixtures

All matches kick off at 3pm unless stated.

Saturday

Arsenal v West Brom

Aston Villa v Stoke

Southampton v Reading

Sunderland v Chelsea

Swansea v Norwich

Wigan v QPR

Sunday

Everton v Tottenham

West Ham  vLiverpool (4pm)

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