The FA Cup enters its semifinal stage with a Manchester derby on Saturday as City and United clash at Wembley vying for a place in the final.
Overshadowed by their more illustrious neighbors since the early 1980s, City are closer than ever to United as far as wealth and quality of squad are concerned. Thanks to the hard cash investment from their Middle Eastern owner, City are competing for a Champions League spot and if they hadn't lost their way midway through the season, they might well have had a realistic chance of winning the Premiership title.
The FA Cup remains their last chance of winning silverware this season, and despite a crushing defeat at Liverpool in the league on Monday, they will be pumped up to face their sworn-enemy.
The FA Cup could just be what City need to make that last lap and match United, a point reflected by City manager Roberto Mancini who had won three consecutive Serie A titles in his time as manager of Inter Milan.
He told The Sun, If we win the FA Cup this year or get in the final and get in the Champions League, then that will give us a massive push, we will be flying. Once you get that first success you have the winning mentality.
I can see the same thing happening here as at Inter if I am given time. Anything can happen if you don't win; every club can change its manager. But every time you change a manager you are just starting again, every time.
Contrastingly, United are in the hunt for a treble. They are favorites to take the Premiership crown, they beat Chelsea to progress to the semifinals of the Champions League and only City stand in the way between them and another FA Cup final at Wembley. United, as they have shown in the past, are unstoppable in the final stages of the season. They have bounced back from consecutive defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool in the league to win six in a row.
They come to this game after seeing off Chelsea in the Champions league quarterfinals. Add to that peaking players like Rooney, who has bounced back from his worrying form, Giggs, who seems incapable of playing poorly, and Van der Sar, who plays as though he is twenty and United have all the right ingredients to win the treble.
City's egos are sure to be wounded after United's veteran midfielder Paul Scholes considered them a rival just because of their geographical proximity.
When they are fourth or fifth, or wherever they are in the league, I don't think they can be classed as a main rival. Our main rivals are obviously Arsenal and Chelsea. I think City are just a rival because of where they are (geographically), and Liverpool the same.
Manchester derbies are something special, and when played at the Wembley with the FA Cup final at stake, it could pan out a classic.
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City will be without their talisman Carlos Tevez who has a hamstring injury but defender Micah Richards will return from his own hamstring troubles.
Striker Wayne Rooney is suspended for United along with Johnny Evans, while Darren Fletcher is sidelined with illness.
City were clueless against Liverpool and though there will be a marked improvement, it will still be a bit short to deny a United side spurred on by the prospect of a treble. 2-1 to Manchester United.