MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) – Mario Balotelli has been handed a starting place for Manchester City in this afternoon’s Manchester derby with Manchester United at Etihad Stadium.
Reports had suggested that the Italian forward would have been given the nod over the like of Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko and manager Roberto Mancini has decided to go ahead start him.
Balotelli will start up front with Sergio Aguero, while David Silva has recovered from an injury to take up his place in the midfield.
Also starting for Manchester City in the derby are Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure and Gael Clichy, who passed a fitness test for his injured ankle.
Meanwhile, David De Gea keeps his place in goal for Manchester United after a solid showing in the Red Devils’ Champions League defeat to Cluj in midweek.
Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley both start for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as well.
Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young also start, meaning the manager has decided against playing the diamond formation used when beating Chelsea earlier in the season.
The Manchester United vs Manchester City game will be live on Fox Soccer 2Go starting at 8:30 AM ET.
TEAM NEWS: Manchester City vs Manchester United
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Barry, Nasri, Silva, Aguero, Balotelli.
Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Kolo Toure, Garcia, Tevez, Dzeko, Lescott
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Valencia, Rooney, Carrick, Young, Van Persie, Cleverley
Subs: Johnstone, Jones, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes