Man Utd v Man City 20:00
– Manchester United remain 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League coming into this game after beating Sunderland 1-0, Titus Bramble turning a Robin van Persie shot into his own goal.
– Manchester City look like they may be finding form too late after beating Newcastle 4-0 in their last game. Goals from Tevez, Silva, Kompany and a James Perch own goal forced by Yaya Toure.
– Ahead of the derby, we compare some key players like for like, starting with goalkeepers. Joe Hart has made 85 saves this season, conceding 26 goals at an average of 3.26 saves per goal. Hart has 13 clean sheets this season.
– In goal for United, David de Gea has hit a great run of form and last conceded in the Premier League against Southampton on January 30th, keeping six clean sheets in a row in the league since. That’s two thirds of his total clean sheets for the season. He has only conceded three goals in the Premier League 2013, a huge swing compared to the 17 he conceded up until the end of December. De Gea averages 4.65 saves per goal conceded.
– In defence United have been dogged by injuries this season, rarely able to use the same back four for consecutive matches. Despite that, they have conceded the second fewest number of goals in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 31, after City’s 26. At the age of 34 and troubled by injuries, Rio Ferdinand hasn’t managed to play every game this season, but he STILL has contributed more defensively than any other player for either City or United. Rio has 137 defensive contributions in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, including 64 interceptions that show his reading of the game is just as sharp as it ever was.
– Pablo Zabaleta, however, is 1 tackle, interception, block or clearance away from matching Rio, having notched up 136 defensive duties this season. That includes coming out on the winning end of an incredible 64 tackles, 59.8% of all those attempted. PerhapsFerdinand’s most direct comparison, however, is withVincent Kompany. Kompany has made 126 defensive contributions this season including 28 clearances and 54 interceptions.
– In midfield one player has stood out for Manchester United this season – Michael Carrick. Carrick is ranked sixth in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opposition half with 889, but that’s exactly 150 behind today’s opposite number Yaya Toure. Carrick has also played 201 more minutes that Toure this season, due to Toure’s absence during the Africa Cup of Nations. David Silva also ranks above Carrick in number of passes completed with 970, and has again played around 400 minutes less than Carrick.
– With fascinating battles all over the park it is up front, however, where most eyes will be focused. Robin van Persie thought his goal drought was over when his shot hit the back of the net against Sunderland in his last game, just for it to be credited as a Titus Bramble own goal. However, Van Persie remains the second top goalscorer in the Premier League, despite that four game drought, and is one of only four players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have had 100 efforts at goal this season, unleashing 103 shots while maintaining a 60.1% on target rating.
– Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, has hit 12 goals this season to support Van Persie, the same tally as Manchester City’s top goalscorer Edin Dzeko. Rooney has, however, taken more minutes on pitch and more shots at goal to hit that target. Rooney has played 1691 minutes and attempted 68 shots to reach 12 goals, whileDzeko has played 1556 minutes and taken 62 shots.
– City’s goal threat comes from three players – Dzeko,Aguero and Tevez. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Tevez is the most accurate shooter of the three, getting 65% of his shots on target, while Dzeko is the most efficient, needing just 5.17 shots per goal.