On paper Manchester City and Aston Villa look like clubs in very different positions at the moment (16 places seperate the Premier League teams), but the way they are feeling about their season may be pretty similar. What feeling is that? Despair.
Aston Villa are a side with talent- but talent that needs to be nurtured and may prove not to be ready for the Premier League. Roberto Mancini and his men are watching their Premier League title slip from their grasp into their most bitter of rival, United's preying hands, with every game that passes.
So the importance of this game can not be underestimated. It could turn out to be a season shaping clash.
If Villa beat City, it would be a massive boosts for them and could inspire them to beat the drop. Lose and they will remain rooted at 18th.
For Manchester City, every game for the rest of the season is a must-win. If they were to lose, the title chase will most certainly be over and Fergie could lead his men to pick up the trophy straight after the final whistle.
So what can we expect from tonight's game? Goals. For Manchester City, we expect.
Manchester boast the best defensive record in the league this season, having only conceded 24 goals overall. Villa, on the other hand, have the worst record- conceding 52 goals all campaign.
To top that off, Man City's offensive trio of Aguero, Dzeko and Tevez together have scored more (29) than the whole Villa squad (26) this season.
What is even worse for Villa fans to consider is the last time these two faced off- Paul Lambert's men were thrashed 5 - 0 at the Etihad Stadium.
There is good news for Villa, however. City's captain, Vincent Kompany may miss the game due to a calf injury. Shay Given, Ron Vlaar (pictured with Diamond Football products) and Darren Bent will all be available for the tie after missing the club's defeat against Arsenal.
Our prediction: 4 - 0 City...