City still Manchester's dominant force ahead of 161st derby


October 24, 2015
@Normal:Manchester City's Yaya Touré (centre) is tackled by Manchester United's Marcos Rojo during last year's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England.


Louis van Gaal was careful to downplay talk of a permanent power shift in Manchester after United's 4-2 victory over City in the most recent derby game.

Old Trafford was rocking that evening in April. After four straight losses to its neighbour, United finally owned local bragging rights. City was on a downward spiral behind its neighbour in the standings, its title defence in tatters and with manager Manuel Pellegrini's job under serious pressure.

Van Gaal wasn't getting carried away, and he was right.

Since that painful loss six months ago, the blue half of Manchester has recovered to remain the dominant force in the city as they have been since the end of Alex Ferguson's 26-year tenure at United in 2013.

City won six straight games after that derby to finish the Premier League nine points above United and in second place.

After two months of this season, City is in first place, the top scorer in the division and the favourite to capture the title for the third time in five years.

The derby mauling in April seems a distant memory now as City heads back to Old Trafford tomorrow for the 161st Manchester derby, the headline game in the 10th round of Premier League fixtures.

The momentum seems to be with Pellegrini's men, who have won their last two league games 6-1 and 5-1. City also had the advantage of playing at home in the Champions League on Wednesday beating Sevilla 2-1 while United had to travel back from a game in Moscow on the same night.

However, United is at home where it is unbeaten this season and has won seven of eight games and has the incentive of potentially going top of the league with a win. United is third, tied for points with second-place Arsenal but behind on goal difference.

Arsenal is at home to Everton today.

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