Roberto Mancini opted for Mario Balotelli over Carlos Tevez to partner Sergio Aguero against United in today’s derby. Gael Clichy recovered from an ankle injury that has kept him out of the team. David Silva, Matija Nastasic and Pablo Zabaleta were also named in the City team.
The selection of Balotelli over Tevez will be seen as a huge gamble for Mancini. The moody Italian has been out of the team recently for injury and ‘football reasons’ but famously revealed a t-shirt bearing the legend: ‘Why Always Me?’ upon scoring against United at Old Trafford little over a year ago during a 6-1 win.
David De Gea won the battle of the United ‘keepers to face City although recent reports of a possible move for Stoke’s Asmir Begovic has ramped up the pressure on both De Gea and Anders Lindegaard who have had mixed fortunes in goal this season for United.
Tom Cleverley recovered from his recent calf injury to line up alongside Michael Carrick in United’s midfield as Sir Alex Ferguson named an attacking line-up with Ashley Young and a rejuvenated Antonio Valencia on the flanks and Wayne Rooney playing off Robin Van Persie.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Silva, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli
Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, K Toure, Garcia, Tevez, Dzeko, Lescott
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Valencia, Rooney, Carrick, Young, Van Persie, Cleverley
Subs: Jones, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes, Johnstone