Two Manchester club sides, United and City are poise for a showdown and the winner will settle for the third place in the Premier League table.
United, buoyed by five successive Premier League victories, head into Sunday’s derby against City, a place and a point above their rivals and believing they are ready to restore their ascendancy in the city.
Champions City have won the last four league meetings against United, including a 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium in November, but their hopes of retaining the title have faded following their 2-1 lose to Crystal Palace on Monday.
City have dropped down to fourth after four wins in 11 league games and trail leaders Chelsea by nine points.
United, meanwhile, have put their early season struggles behind them to climb to third, eight points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool in the race for Champions League qualification.
Manchester United manager, Luis Van Gaal told his players after their 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday that, “That was more in the start of the process and now we are in the end of the process.
I think the confidence of our players is very high at the moment.
The next game is the decisive game, you have to win these kinds of matches.”
City arrive at Old Trafford on the back of a 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace but captain, Vincent Kompany believes form counts for nothing in a derby.
“It does not t matter what place you are in the league, it is a derby. If anything, it is a good moment to go into a derby.
“I guess the momentum is a little bit with our neighbours at the moment, but it is the perfect place for us to go and try to rectify what we have had.
Manchester United have lost their last four league matches against Manchester City; they have never lost five in a row against any club.
Sergio Aguero has scored four goals in his last three Barclays Premier League matches against Manchester United. Only three of Wayne Rooney’s eight BPL goals against Man City have come at Old Trafford.
His last three against the Citizens arrived at the Etihad.
No City manager has lost four successive Barclays Premier League away matches since Stuart Pearce in September 2006.
Certainly, the derby is one of the biggest clashes in England. Few games produce as much hype as the Manchester derby, the 169th meeting between the sides.
Ahead of the blockbuster clash, which could go a long way to deciding where the teams stand at the end of the season.
Defensive duo, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw could return to action after missing last weekend’s win over Aston Villa through illness and injury respectively, while Jonny Evans (suspension) remains United’s only confirmed absentee. Van Gaal may give Robin van Persie opportunity due to the crucial nature of the clash because of his experience and skill in games of that magnitude.
Manuel Pellegrini could have a fully-fit squad at his disposal, if striker Wilfried Bony recovers from the ankle knock he picked up in training last week.

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