Manchester City have been so imperious, domestically at least, over recent years that they have become heavy favourites for this fixture.
And for good reason. They beat United 3-0 on their own patch and 4-1 at home last season – that’s a 7-1 aggregate for the arithmetically challenged.
But things have changed this season. Manchester City are still ahead in the league – the gap is 4 points right now – but they are in the middle of a really shaky patch having lost their last two games.
Added to that they have injuries to key players to deal with. One of Manchester United’s main tormentors over the last few years, David Silva, looks like he could miss the game with a calf injury. And Yaya Toure is also struggling.
At the same time there is quiet optimism about a renaissance at Manchester United. They barely managed to draw their last two games with late equalisers. But the form under Louis van Gaal is starting to improve, to the point that Manchester United fans are looking forward to the game this weekend instead of fearing another cuffing.
With Wazza also likely to feature after his three match suspension United are in good spirits ahead of the crunch encounter.
But this remains a fixture where any result is possible. The season before last United came to The Etihad and got themselves two up in the first 20 minutes before winning 3-2. We wouldn’t rule out a Manchester United win this time either – they certainly have the players to do it.
But we are going to sit on the fence and opt for a draw on Sunday with both teams leaving with pride intact and genuine optimism of still mounting a serious title challenge.
Either way, except a screamer.
TFF Prediction: Manchester City 1 Manchester United 1