Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Sunday November 30 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
30th November 2008
With both teams not pulling trees up in the league neither team can really afford a defeat in this the 150th competitive derby between these two illustrious teams.
Shaun Wright Phillips talks about the first derby game at the City of Manchester Stadium: That's one that people still ask me about and it's one that's always in the back of mind, but I'm also looking forward to putting in a performance to get the result we need against United.
'Don't get me wrong, it would be nice to score another goal but as long as we win, it does not matter how the goal goes in or who scores it. I don't think they will be coming for revenge after last season, they'll be looking to do to us what we want to do to them. It'll be a good game, but a hard one for both teams.
'We know how difficult it is going to be, but I think they know that it will be difficult for them as well. Either way it is going to be a good game with the way we are set up at the moment.'
Shaun then goes on to talk about the passion of the derby: 'Hatred is the wrong word to use, the competition between the two sides is high and the players will want to win, that's more to the point.
"It seems like I have friends in every team at the moment, so it's nice to get one over on your friends, or give them a tackle that they are going to remember for a very long time! The boys I go away with when with England there are my pals off the pitch as well."
Robinho, who joined City from Real Madrid for £32.5million, missed the Uefa Cup win over Schalke with a slight ankle problem but should be fit to take his place in attack.
Pablo Zabaleta (thigh) and Gelson Fernandes (hamstring) will also come into contention after injury as will Elano after dealing with a domestic matter.
Javier Garrido is doubtful after picking up a knock in Germany and could be replaced in the starting line-up by Michael Ball.
After having the week off I am sure he will be firing to prove that he is the biggest star in the premiership.
Dimitar Berbatov is back in training after missing United's last two matches with a hamstring problem and Ferguson is hopeful he will prove his fitness ahead of kick-off.
Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are not yet ready to return, while Owen Hargreaves is set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Edwin van der Sar will line up in goal after being rested for the goalless draw against Villarreal in midweek, while Nemanja Vidic should also come back in.
Park Ji-sung, Rafael da Silva and Ryan Giggs will also be hoping to feature after being left out of the UEFA Champions League clash.
Despite being a player that most people hate; he is also the player that most people would like to see in their team as his allround game is a very high quality.
Since the return to the premiership in 2002 City have won five league derbies to Uniteds four with three draws. Meaning that since that return City have taken more points off United than anyone else.
Clearly in the nineties United won nearly every game against City and City did not beat United in between the five one in 1989 and the three one victory and last derby at Maine Road on the 9th November 2002.
Howard Webb - has a very good reputation; but I do not feel he has been as good as he was last season. This will be City's second game with him in charge; his first was the three nil victory over West Ham. It will be United third game with him in charge; the other two have been two one defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively.
I think this will be a very close game with a few goals ending all square. MCFC 2 - 2 MUFC.
Fulham away at Craven Cottage on Saturday 6th December with a 12:45pm kick off on Sky Sports.
Date:Sunday November 30 2008
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