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Very Little Separates Manchester City and Manchester United Ahead of Pellegrini and Moyes’ First Derby

All eyes will be on new Man Utd boss, David Moyes, on Sunday afternoon as he takes charge of his first Manchester Derby following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

This weekend, football fans are in for an absolute treat as the two heavyweightManchesterrivals, United and City, lock horns at the Etihad Stadium. The mouth-watering match brings together two of the favourites in the race to win the Premier League title and if recent meetings between the two are anything to go by, Sunday’s spectacle promises to be an enthralling encounter.

Hosts Manchester City head into the game as the 6/5 favourites to come out on top, while Manchester United can be backed at 12/5 to grab an away win in this fixture for the second successive season. Alternatively, the draw could be the way to go at 23/10.

BothManchesterclubs have only picked up one victory since their comprehensive opening day victories. After thumping Swansea 4-1, United’s only other win in their opening four games came in a 2-0 win over newly promoted Crystal Palace, while they were beaten by Liverpool and played out an uninspiring draw against Chelsea. City meanwhile were been stunned by Cardiff in a 3-2 defeat in the Welsh capital and held by Stoke last weekend, with a victory over new boys Hull the only other win since thumping Man City 5-0 on the opening weekend.

However, both the blue and red halves ofManchesternow have the opportunity to slam down their title credentials on Sunday afternoon. Both sides were involved in Champions League action during the week with United battering Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at Old Trafford, while City secured a comfortable 3-0 victory at the home of Czech champions, Viktoria Plzen.

Ahead of this weekend’s action, they can both be found locked on seven points in 4th and 5th place in the Premier League table, with Manuel Pellegrini’s men above United due to their superior goal difference. City have won three of the last four league meetings between the sides, including their last two visits to Old Trafford. Last season they came away 2-1 victors, while they stormed to a stunning 6-1 victory back in 2011. However, they have only won one of their last five top-flight home games against their neighbours; United coming away 3-2 winners 12 months ago.

This fiery fixture is famed for the abundance of goals. Four of the last six meetings have featured a whopping five goals or more and neutrals will be hoping for a truck load more on Sunday. Furthermore, both teams have scored in five of the last six league and cup meetings, while there hasn’t been a draw in eight encounters in all competitions.

Sergio Aguero, who scored the third and final goal during the week, has bagged three goals in his last five games against United while Yaya Toure is also enjoying a decent run in front of goal this season with three goals in five games and both will be key personnel if City are to open up a three point gap come the final whistle on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney got off the mark last weekend with a fantastic free-kick, which sealed United’s 2-0 victory against Palace. The striker then bagged a brace on Tuesday inEuropeand has four goals in his last four games against City, including a double at the Etihad last season. Rooney has rapidly put his summer problems behind him and heads in to the derby brimming with confidence.

In the last two week, Robin Van Persie has scored five goals for club and country. The flying Dutchman also scored a memorable winner at the Etihad last season and together with Rooney, the duo are sure to cause the City defence plenty of problems.

This is a tough game to call with both Manuel Pellegrini an David Moyes experiencing a Manchester Derby for the first time but the fans and players will know exactly what is at stake. Based on recent history, another goal filled encounter looks the most likely outcome with the winner determined by which of the two ‘gets the rub of the green’ on the day but it would be no surprise to see them share the spoils and as such, a 2-2 draw is the prediction.

About Richard Smith

Richard writes for It's Round and White.

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