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Tensions will be running high on Saturday in the first FA Cup semifinal fixture as Manchester City and Manchester United collide for a right to appear in the final. With a victory over their in-city rival, United could keep their hopes for a second FA Cup, Premier League, and Champions League treble under Sir Alex Ferguson alive. Manchester City on the other hand are still in search of their first major trophy in nearly four decades. Kickoff between the two is set for 17:15 local time at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Manchester City’s last match was a one-sided 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on Monday in the Barclay’s Premier League. Striker Andy Carroll made his biggest contribution to his new club since joining the Reds in January, opening the scoring with a 13th minute goal. Dirk Kuyt doubled Liverpool’s lead with a 34th minute goal, followed closely by Carroll’s second goal in the 35th minute. City were unable to mount any serious challenge to Liverpool and in addition to losing ground in the Premier League’s top four; City lost striker Carlos Tevez to injury. Manchester United dispatched of their Premier League rivals Chelsea in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford. Javier Hernandez put his side in front 1-0 on the evening, and 2-0 on aggregate, with a 43rd minute goal. In the second half Chelsea found a glimmer of hope thanks to Didier Drogba’s 77th minute goal, but the level pegging would not last. Just seconds later Park Ji-Sung scored to put United back in front 2-1 on the evening and 3-1 on aggregate.
Manchester United and Manchester City have combined to win the FA Cup 15 times, and Sir Alex Ferguson is looking to bring the trophy to Old Trafford for the fifth time in his tenure. The winner of this match will return to Wembley for the final on May 14 and face the winner of Sunday’s other semifinal between Premier League sides Bolton and Stoke City.
Both teams understand what is at stake on Saturday and will be fighting for victory to give themselves a chance at lifting the FA Cup next month. Manchester City will be playing in the new Wembley Stadium for the first time, with their last appearance coming in the old Wembley in a Division Two playoff match in 1999.
The Barclay’s Premier League weekend will kick off with a massively important Manchester derby when United plays host to City. United enter the matchup sitting in first place in the league table with a four point lead over second place Arsenal, and a five point lead over their city rivals in third place. The most recent installments of the Manchester derby have not been lacking in intensity, and Saturday’s matchup is likely to live up to the recent past. Kickoff between the two is set for 12:45 local time at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
Manchester United became the most recent big victim to exit the Molineux after a shocking defeat last weekend at Wolverhampton. Nani put United in front early with a goal in just the third minute, but Wolves had a swift answer with a 10th minute goal to equalise. Wolves would take a 2-1 lead with a 40th minute goal and never relinquish their lead. Wolves, although bottom of the league table, have now beaten Chelsea and Manchester United at the Molineux in 2011. Manchester City nabbed a comfortable victory at home last weekend over West Brom, courtesy of a Carlos Tevez hat trick. Tevez’ first goal came in the 17th minute, followed by a penalty strike in the 22nd minute. Tevez snatched a third goal minutes before halftime with a 39th minute goal to pace his club to a 3-0 win.
The history between these clubs is full of intense league meetings, but it is United and their overflowing trophy case that remain the top dog in the city of Manchester. Roberto Mancini and Manchester City have their eyes firmly set on the Premier League title, but a victory by Sir Alex Ferguson’s men on Saturday would put a serious dent in City’s dream of snatching the title from United.
Both clubs will be looking for all three points from Saturday’s matchup. The Red Devils can establish a seven point lead over Arsenal with a victory, putting extreme pressure on their nearest contender to win to keep pace. City could blow the title race open with a victory, giving Arsenal the chance to move within one and moving themselves to within two points.
The tension is mounting as Wednesday evening's Manchester derby between Manchester United and Manchester City draws near. The two sides played out a tense first leg Carling Cup semifinal a week ago, with City overcoming an early United lead to win 2-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium. Now the venue switches to Old Trafford where United will try to overcome City's one goal aggregate lead and reach the Carling Cup final at Wembley. The first leg was made even more tense given former United striker Carlos Tevez scored both goals for City and even exchanged pleasantries with Gary Neville, who was warming up on the sideline at the time, in a situation that has been held under the magnifying glass since the match. Kickoff between the two is set for 20:00 local time at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
Manchester United's last outing was a 4-0 trouncing of Premier League strugglers Hull City at Old Trafford at the weekend. Wayne Rooney was magnificent, scoring all four of United's goals in the rout. Rooney put the Red Devils in front early with a goal in the eighth minute. Hull managed to keep the Red Devils close, but Rooney went on a devastating tear in the final 10 minutes of the game to stretch United's lead. Rooney scored in the 82nd, 86th, and 90th (+3) minute to give United a 4-0 victory. Manchester City held off a pesky Scunthorpe United side in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday to advance to the final 16. Martin Petrov put City in front early with a goal in just the second minute but the Championship side equalised in the 29th minute. City would retake the lead with a goal in the 45th minute before stretching their lead to 3-1 in the second half with a goal in the 57th minute. An own goal from City would give Scunthorpe life as they were down 3-2 after the 69th minute own goal. Robinho secured the victory for City with a goal in the 84th minute.
Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand faces a violent conduct charge from the FA stemming from an incident involving Craig Fagan in the second half of United's 4-0 victory over Hull City at the weekend. Ferdinand had just returned from three months out of action and now faces a three match ban if he pleads guilty. Manchester City striker Robinho, who joined the club for an English record transfer fee of £32.5 million in August 2008, is now in talks with Brazilian sides Santos and Sao Paulo to secure a loan deal. Injuries and inconsistent play have dogged Robinho in his time with City and he has factored little in new manager Roberto Mancini's plans so far, increasing his discontent. Despite their trophy dominance over city rival Manchester City, current League Cup holders Manchester United have only beaten City once in the League Cup, during the third round of the 1974/75 campaign.
The Carling Cup tournament will end for one of these sides on Wednesday evening, with the winner moving on to face Aston Villa at Wembley in the final. Manchester City have the aggregate advantage, but United are only one goal behind and the Red Devils have proven more than once this season their ability to score goals in bunches.
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