Manchester United vs. Manchester City: Predicting the Reds Starting Lineup

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IApril 27, 2012

Manchester United vs. Manchester City: Predicting the Reds Starting Lineup

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    Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League table was cut down to three points after their disappointing 4-4 home draw against Everton last weekend, and most feel the title race momentum has swung Manchester City's way.

    The two sides next meet in a game that could go a long way to clinching the title for Manchester United or make it City's to lose. Three, four weeks ago, no one would have predicted this outcome, but that's football for you.

    Here are my predictions for United's starting lineup against Manchester City.

Defense

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    GK: David De Gea

    David de Gea was pretty much helpless in the goals United conceded against Everton, but his place in the team is not under threat.

    LB: Patrice Evra

    Manchester United have no one better, so Evra will definitely start.

    RB: Phil Jones

    United's preferred right back, Rafael, has quite clear weaknesses seen in his sometimes non-existent defensive nous and poor zonal positioning. Phil Jones is unlikely to do any better, but he's the only feasible option other than Rafael at the moment.

    CB: Rio Ferdinand

    This season, Rio Ferdinand has been able to get regular play under his belt, which has helped his form and benefited the team in their title tilt. United will need every single iota of Ferdinand's class if they are to stay on top of City.

    CB: Jonny Evans

    Recently referred to as "arguably the best defender in the country" by Sir Alex Ferguson, Jonny Evans has been one of United's best performers in this league campaign and is sure to start against Everton.

Midfield

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    LM: Luis Nani

    Last weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson made the judgment call to start Nani against Everton and the Portuguese international repaid the vote of confidence with a goal. I have a feeling Nani will start ahead of Ashley Young against Manchester City.

    RM: Antonio Valencia

    Antonio Valencia's form of late has dropped somewhat, but he is still a live wire in United's midfield and is sure to start.

    CM: Paul Scholes

    By far United's best passer of the ball, Paul Scholes will have to start if United are to have any chance of staying above City. 

    CM: Michael Carrick

    Now employed as a protector of the back four these days, Michael Carrick's form has visibly improved since the return of Scholes, and given the good partnership the two share, he will retain his place in the team.

Attack

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    SC: Danny Welbeck

    I still retain my belief that Sir Alex Ferguson genuinely prefers Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez as partner to Wayne Rooney upfront in attack, but I think he's realized that United just do not have the quality in midfield to supply the Mexican. As such, the next option is to play Danny Welbeck.

    SC: Wayne Rooney

    Although it goes without saying, I'll say it anyways: There's no way Wayne Rooney will be left out against Manchester City.

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