United and City set for battle

February, 11, 2011

• League leader Manchester United hosts third-place Manchester City on Saturday morning, in the first-ever Premier League meeting with both teams in the top three.

• Entering the weekend, Manchester United leads second-place Arsenal by four points and City by five points. United is a 73.2 percent favorite to win the league, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index. But the Red Devils may have the most difficult remaining schedule. Among the half-dozen clubs at the top of the table, they have more games left against fellow top-six teams than any other club does, including consecutive road games at Chelsea and Liverpool in early March, and a trip to Emirates Stadium at the end of April.

• Manchester United's 29-game league unbeaten streak was snapped on Saturday. United will now try to avoid losing consecutive league games for the first time since March 2009, when a 4-1 home loss to Liverpool was followed by a 2-0 loss to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

• Manchester City has won only one of its past 26 league games at Old Trafford, a 2-1 triumph in 2008. Soccer Power Index gives City a 10.7 percent chance of emerging victorious on Saturday, while United has a 65.7 percent chance of winning.

• United's Dimitar Berbatov (19 goals) and City's Carlos Tevez (18 goals) are the league's leading scorers, both in volume and importance. Tevez has scored a league-best 43 percent of his team's goals this season, and Berbatov is right behind him with 35 percent of United's goals. Berbatov has never scored in five Manchester derby appearances, while Tevez has three goals in six total games against United since moving to City.

And a bonus…

• Don't forget about Wolverhampton, which defeated Manchester United on Feb. 5 and visits Arsenal on Saturday (9:55 AM ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com). Despite sitting in 19th place, Wolves have now beaten Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool this season. But they haven't defeated Arsenal in any competition in a 16-match span since September 1979.



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