Manchester City vs. Manchester United: Latest Buildup, Team News, Twitter Talk

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2012

Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero
Wayne Rooney and Sergio AgueroMichael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City host cross-town rivals Manchester United in a battle for the top of the English Premier League once again.

The Citizens are fresh off being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in pathetic fashion.

Manchester United looked awful in their early exit from the Champions League last season, as the last thing that the English Premier League wants is its Champions to be sent packing from Europe's elite competition.

However, Manchester United at least got to play in the UEFA Europa League; Manchester City did not ever earn that right as they were dumped out at the bottom of Group D. Although their competition were the champions of three of Europe's top six divisions, Real Madrid (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany) and Ajax Amsterdam (Holland), that is no excuse, as the EPL is supposed to be the top league in all of Europe.

Nevertheless, United come into the match knowing that they have a place in the February Champions League Knockout stage, while the defending EPL champs are no longer even allowed in European competition at all this 2012-13 campaign.

It will be interesting to see how City respond to their midweek frustration. Will the result light a fire inside of them, or will they continue to fade into their humiliation as the second straight defending English Champions to be shown the door from the group stage?

Speaking to the press (via ESPN) before the weekend clash, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of the fact that despite how results go there is much time left:

There is such a long time to go before the end of the season. We've won leagues when we were 12 points behind and lost them when 11 points ahead...You can never be sure in this league, you can lose to anyone.

We have lost to Norwich already this season. But, that's the kind of league we are in, its a tough league.

The Red Devils have a chance to go six points up on their rivals, but a loss would see them level on points and second to City on goal difference.

Ahead of the match, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini also spoke with reporters and played up the importance of the match and his opponents, as well as making interesting comments in regards to the club's exit from the UEFA Champions League:

Its important and clear that they have three points more than us, and they have a small advantage. But, it is a really difficult match for both teams. It could be important, not just because we have seven months.

Probably in February it could be [an advantage to be out of the Champions League and free of Europa League] because if you play in the Champions League you play Tuesday, Wednesday but if you are in Europa League you play on Thursday night, then travel then play Sunday afternoon with little time to recover.

One of the more interesting comments, not quoted but mentioned on Manchester United's official Twitter account, @manutd_fc also brought more interesting light to the challenge:

Sir Alex Ferguson says there would be a House of Commons inquiry if United were given as many home spot-kicks as City.

— Manchester United FC (@manutd_fc) December 7, 2012

Ferguson's comedic but interesting comments surely are classic of his pre-match mind games that are aimed at making the competition even more fun by getting his touch line-opposing general involved.


Injury Report

Manchester City have multiple injury doubts for the match as defenders Aleksander Kolarov and Micah Richards are still recovering, as are James Milner, Jack Rodwell and David Silva.

Manchester United likewise have several injury frustration as well with Anderson, Tom Cleverly, Antonio Valencia, Nani and defender Nemanja Vidic. Both Valencia and Vidic are going to be on the bench.


Projected Lineups

Manchester City's possible Starting XI: Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Gareth Barry; Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, David Silva; Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero.

Manchester United's possible Starting XI: David De Gea; Rafael; Jonny Evans; Rio Ferdinand; Patrice Evra: Michael Carrick; Paul Scholes; Antonio Valencia; Wayne Rooney; Ashley Young; Robin van Persie.