Unbeaten run, UCL spots at stake in rare Thursday night Manchester derby
When Manchester City host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, it will be the first time the Manchester derby will be held on a Thursday in more than 20 years.
United were victorious in the last Thursday meeting, claiming a 5-0 victory at Old Trafford on Nov. 10, 1994 behind a hat trick from Andrei Kanchelskis.
City, who have lost just one of their 15 home Premier League games this season, enter fourth in the table with 64 points. United are fifth, one point out of a UEFA Champions League qualifying position.
If United were to win, they would have a 63.3 percent chance to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League, according to FiveThirtyEight's Soccer Power Index (SPI). A loss would drop United's chances to 20.7 percent, with City virtually guaranteed to finish in the top four.
Should United win, they will increase their unbeaten run -- which remains the longest in Europe's top five leagues -- to 24 games. It remains their longest run in the Premier League without a defeat since they went unbeaten for 29 games from April 11, 2010 through Feb. 1, 2011.
City, who won 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sept. 10, have won seven of the past 11 league derbies -- though United won 1-0 on Oct. 26 in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
The two players who scored for United in those meetings -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata -- will not play on Thursday because of injuries.
Including that loss in September, Jose Mourinho has failed to win any of his past four Premier League games against City, having lost once and drawn twice while managing Chelsea.
He has also won just four of his 18 meetings against Pep Guardiola, with 11 of those occurring while the two were coaching at Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively, between 2010 and 2012.
Sergio Aguero, who scored the last-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers in 2012 that gave City the Premier League title over United, has scored in his past six games in all competitions and now has 166 goals for the club.
Aguero has eight goals in 10 appearances for City against United, including both goals in a 4-2 defeat at Old Trafford on April 15, 2012. He has not scored since, having missed two of the four most recent games.
Wayne Rooney, who returned to United's squad and scored a goal in their 2-0 victory away at Burnley on Sunday, remains the all-time leader with 11 goals in 26 appearances in the Manchester derby.
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