Manchester United take on Manchester City on Sunday in what is arguably their toughest game of the season so far.
Louis van Gaal’s side faced runaway league leaders Chelsea last weekend but that was in their own backyard. Facing the reigning Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium will be an entirely different proposition and United will have to be at their best to take anything from the match.
But here are three reasons why van Gaal’s side could take both the bragging rights and the points against City:
Wayne Rooney’s suspension meant that he had to watch the last three United games as a frustrated fan. But now he is back and, if reports are to be believed, he is fighting fit after overcoming a foot injury.
Rooney’s return will be vital if United want to beat City, with the England international having a fine record against the Blues and his energy something the club lack when Robin van Persie is relied on as the sole front-man.
City may be the current title-holders but they are not playing like that at the moment. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have not won in three games, with defeats to West Ham in the league and Newcastle in the Capital One Cup accompanied by a draw away to CSKA Moscow in Europe.
City will want to turn that form around and playing United gives them a great opportunity, but if the visitors take the lead the doubts could creep in.
United are hard to beat again
Under David Moyes if United went behind you sensed another defeat was on the way, but that is no longer the case with van Gaal in charge.
United showed against both West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea that they will now fight until the last kick of the game and van Persie’s last-gasp goal against Jose Mourinho’s side could be the strike that gives them the confidence to go on and take all three points at the Etihad on Sunday.
The defence remains a worry, but their forward line is such that there is always a threat and that does not bode well for Vincent Kompany and his defensive colleagues.