The most significant Premier League match for many a season and it is all set up beautifully at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
The title race has long contained only two horses but while Manchester City looked much the likelier victor at the turn of the year it is rivals United that have finished the stronger.
However, recent dropped points by the Red Devils means it is still all very much to play for and this is a must-see match.
Defeat at Wigan and an astonishing 4-4 draw with Everton last time out has seen United’s lead cut to three points and, boasting a significantly better goal difference, a win for Monday’s hosts would see them leapfrog their opponents with just two rounds of fixtures remaining.
With a trip to St James’s Park to face Newcastle still to come, victory for Roberto Mancini’s men certainly wouldn’t mean the title was secured but a win for either team will certainly put them in the driving seat and it is sure to be thrill-a-minute stuff.
The bizarre high scoring clash with the Toffees at Old Trafford contradicted United’s imperious form since back-to-back defeats in January and manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be desperate to see his team produce to the sort of defensive performance that yielded clean sheets in five of their previous six fixtures.
United will undoubtedly come under pressure from a City team that has thrived at home this season, dropping just two points all term, but the visitor’s away record in the recent past has been superb, especially in big matches, and it is now 10 triumphs in 13 Premier League matches on the road.
Successes at Arsenal and Tottenham were key in sustaining United’s title challenge when City were faltering and with Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes all likely to feature, experience could be key for the defending champions.
Having been available at 2.50 a week or so ago, Mancini’s team are now no bigger than 2.20 to get the maximum haul they so desperately need but that is prohibitive enough given their patchy overall form of recent months and I’m happy to take them on at that price.
A draw clearly suits Fergie significantly more so than the Italian but United are unlikely to settle for that from the outset and it is 90 minutes to relish. A stalemate beckons but I doubt it will be dull and you’d be mad to find yourself otherwise engaged.
2pts Lay Man City (vs. Man Utd) @ 2.20 (Betfair)