Manchester City vs. Manchester United: Don't expect anything when giants meet

Michael Regan

What happens when Manchester United and Manchester City meet on Sunday is anyone's guess.

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Manchester United and Manchester City are the best two teams in the Premier League. Given Chelsea and Arsenal's recent form, that might mean a bit less than it has in recent years when they've contested one of world football's best derbies for the top spot in the table, but they're fighting for first place nonetheless. Unless something incredibly drastic chances, City and United should be first and second when the season ends.

While both teams have some new blood, they're essentially the same sides that played each other in last spring's almost title-deciding tilt. United still haven't addressed their center of midfield and will be athletically overmatched by City in that area of the pitch, while the City defense is still occasionally suspect, as is their manager in these situations.

Shockingly, it was Alex Ferguson that made the tactical gaffe last April, when Park Ji-Sung started behind Wayne Rooney. With both players outside of the positions they had played most of the last two seasons at United, the Red Devils created nothing going forward and conceded a goal to Vincent Kompany in a 1-0 defeat.

City have been the more consistent of the two teams in the league so far this year, but they've also been consistently just a bit worse than expectations. They were bounced out of the Champions League group stages for the second consecutive year, and they've already drawn nine times after playing just 15 matches. They trail United by three points, and will expect a result at home.

Manchester City injuries and suspensions

Out: Micah Richards (knee), Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Aleksandr Kolarov (groin). In doubt: David Silva (hamstring), James Milner (hamstring), Gael Clichy (ankle).

Manchester United injuries and suspensions

Out: Anderson (hamstring), Antonio Valencia (thigh), Nani (hamstring), Kagawa (knee). In doubt: Nemanja Vidic (knee), Tom Cleverley (calf).

All three City players listed as in doubt will face late fitness tests before the match to determine whether or not they can play. Silva was not expected to play entering this week, but has recovered faster than anticipated from his hamstring injury and will attempt to play in the derby. On the United side, don't expect to see Vidic back just yet. Cleverley also faces a late fitness test.

Match date/time: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. local, 8:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Ethiad Stadium, Manchester, England

TV: FOX Soccer (U.S. - English), FOX Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)

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