Finally the stage has been set for the biggest match of this season at a perfect time when we see both the Manchester clubs fight each other to come atop the table. While Manchester United are presently the leaders in the table and look to take their crown back from the champions, Manchester City are not far behind and have a good chance of knocking the red devils from the top berth this week if they win convincingly.
The Manchester derby has become far more enthusiastic and exciting over time after the red devils knocked Liverpool off their perch. City has been unbeaten on their home ground in the past 37 matches (33 wins & 4 draws) and look to carry off this great form ahead to beat United like they did both times last season. At the same time, United look esurient for last year's revenge which cost them the title and their attack force has been magnificent and has already scored 37 goals, the maximum for any team this season.
The concern for United has been the defence and the unsettled goalkeeper which has seen Sir Alex Ferguson's men conceding 21 goals already. Here is an assessment of who should the United 11 be if they want to win this match and go 6 points clear at the top.
GOALKEEPER - THE GUARDIAN
Sir Alex Ferguson has been hobbling for a fixed United no.1 but has suffered only frustration till now. Lindegaard was doing fine but conceded 3 goals in the first 20 minutes against Reading last weekend. David De gea has also not been impressive but he forms my pick for the Manchester derby for his excellent reflexes and the energy that he carries and if United want a bright future, then it is he who should start.
DEFENCE - THE BACK 4
As a matter of fact, Manchester United defence has been amongst the worst this season. The tale of long list of injuries and unsettled keeper has been on from the last season and still going. The captain Nemanja Vidic has already been ruled out of the match due to an injury while Phil Jones has played just 2 games after his comeback from a 3-4 month injury, Rio Ferdinand is also ageing and has not been at the best but carries the much needed experience for this big game.
The Brazilian Rafael has been excellent this season having got the chance of playing almost every United game, Jonny Evans looks reliable and is also a goal threat for the other teams in corners, Patrice Evra is gaining his form back after suffering a poor run for some time. Chris Smalling also looks good.
Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and David Silva are the 3 deadly players who can sink the United defence and break it into pieces as they did last season. So, the red devils need to land their best back 4 on the pitch who need to be in the form of their life against the Citizens to stop them from scoring .
MIDFIELD - THE PLAYMAKERS
Antonio Valencia, Luis Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Anderson and Tom Cleverly(a doubt) are all featured in the United's injury list. Both the wingers as well the man in the hole behind the strikers, Shinji Kagawa is also unavailable. This all leads to only one decision in Sir Alex Ferguson's mind - DIAMOND FORMATION which has worked comprehensively for them this season.
Michael Carrick is well experienced and should control the game from the back with the scot Darren Fletcher and the pacy Ashley Young moving front into the City's half trying to tear it apart. These 3 will also have to mark Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri who are the 2 central gameplay maker for the blues and will cause great problems to the United defence.
Ryan Giggs has also mentioned his desire to play in the derby and might well get a chance from the bench late into the game for the immense experience and composure that he possesses for the big games. Paul Scholes will definitely play a part late in the game to spark it to a new pace which we have already seen a no.of times this season.
STRIKEFORCE - THE GAMEDECIDERS
Due to the form United defence has been this season, it looks evident that City will definitely score at home. So, it all lies on the United strikers how many goals they score as they have done time and again this season at 8 occasions to win after going down. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have set up a formidable partnership and are blazing guns for United at the front. Rooney has been a revelation for the new role of playing in the hole behind Van Persie and has done extremely well creating hordes of chances and scoring as well. With Kagawa being absent, Rooney is likely to play the same role. Van Persie has been in excellent form topping the Fantasy Premier league charts and has already scored 10 goals and 5 assists in 15 matches so far. Danny Welbeck who was very impressive last week should join Van Persie at the front with the Wondersub Chicharito coming late into the game assuring a goal for the Red devils which might seal the victory.
My pick for the team : 4-3-3 Diamond
David De gea
Rafael Ferdinand Evans Evra
Welbeck Van Persie