When Manchester’s Premier League big guns were spending lavishly in the close

season, neither City nor United can have imagined that the final derby of the

campaign would be little more than a contest in the battle for a Champions League


With City, lying fourth, having slipped 12 points behind the leaders and United trying

to climb up from sixth, Sunday’s match is hardly the pivotal title decider they both

would have wanted.

City spent 152 million pounds in preparation for the campaign while United also

surpassed the 100-million mark, but neither team has generated the momentum

needed to launch a sustained title challenge.

United, often laboured and struggling to score goals all season, go into the game at

the Etihad Stadium trailing their rivals by four points but perhaps sniffing blood. City

have capitulated in recent weeks and, with leaders Leicester playing Crystal Palace

on Saturday, could find themselves 15 points off the top by kickoff.

In the relegation fight, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez will experience his

first north-east derby when his team host Sunderland on Sunday.

Jeriah Udi

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