Preview: Man. United v Man. City

Manchester City travel to Old Trafford for a meeting with cross-town rivals Manchester United in an eagerly anticipated clash on Saturday. Man. United v Man. City

The early kick-off presents City with an opportunity to close the gap on table-topping United to just two points and any victory would give them a very real chance of winning their first Premier League/First Division title since 1968.

But winning at Old Trafford is easier said than done and City boast just one win at the venue since 1974.

That win came in 2008 when goals from Darius Vassell and Benjani gave the blue side of Manchester a famous 2-1 victory.

While City come into the game full of confidence after an easy 3-0 win over West Brom, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were surprise 2-1 losers to then-bottom Wolves at Molineux.

The defeat gives Ferguson’s side the perfect chance to fight back in one of the biggest fixtures in English football as midfielder Darren Fletcher explained.

“All of the lads will be up for it and it’s one of those games that provides the perfect opportunity to bounce back,” Fletcher said.

“It’s a local derby so all the players will be up for it, the fans will be up for it and we’ll be ready for the game.”

A full card of international fixtures in the build-up to the game will affect the preparation of both sides and Ferguson admitted the scheduling was ‘crazy’ with both sides having numerous players involved.

“Unfortunately we have got international matches in midweek which in my view is crazy, but we have to get on with it,” he said.

Wayne Rooney featured in England’s 2-1 win in Denmark, making a 45-minute cameo, although City’s star Carlos Tevez, who scored a hat-trick against West Brom last week, did not feature for Argentina against Portugal because of ‘attitude problems’.

Tevez, a former Manchester United player, will no doubt be roundly booed throughout the match, but will hope for a goal that would silence the Old Trafford crowd and bring him level with Dimitar Berbatov at the top of the Premier League’s scoring charts.

The Argentine may enjoy some extra freedom with Manchester United’s key defender Rio Ferdinand still sidelined with a calf strain while midfielder Antonio Valencia is still approximately a fortnight away from returning from an ankle injury.

Manchester City have their own worries with midfielder Adam Johnson and striker Mario Balotelli ruled out thanks to ankle and knee injuries respectively while defender Micah Richards is in doubt with concussion.

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