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Monday, April 30, 2012
15 pics and 1 video for Manchester derby

By Patrick Dorsey

Look away, non-soccer fans -- this one's for those stoked about today's Manchester derby. That's when Manchester City plays host to Manchester United, in what might be the biggest match between the two squads ... ever. But don't take it from us; read the analysis here.

Playbook Visuals, meanwhile, offers a look at these great images -- ones that, we hope, capture a small fraction of the drama that's about to ensue (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

First, a tremendous animation from Richard Swarbrick, on Wayne Rooney's bicycle goal from one of last year's showdowns:



And now the photos ...

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson hopes the clock isn't ticking on Manchester United's time atop the table.
Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini might be feeling the pressure if he can't bring a title to his high-priced City club.
Aguero
Newcomer Sergio Aguero put away one of City's six goals in the first Manchester Derby of 2012.
Kompany
... and City kept sticking its foot in against its rivals, ultimately winning the away match 6-1.
Balotelli/Atkinson
Mario Balotelli has been a troublemaker in Manchester, sometimes to the detriment of his club.
Mario Balotelli
... and his performance on the pitch hasn't always been strong, either.
Balotelli
But the enigmatic Italian hasn't stopped being humorous -- nor capable of scoring impressive goals.
Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez also has provided some off-the-pitch drama, although he's back and ready.
Wayne Rooney
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and United have enjoyed a strong season so far.
Wayne Rooney
... as Rooney remains the face of a United club that has fought injury all year.
Rooney
Wait, remember when Rooney had less hair?
Wayne Rooney
Yeah, he used to have a lot less hair. (Although he plays great, with or without the locks.)
Ethihad Stadium
Here's guessing Eithad Stadium will be ready for Monday; City hasn't won the title since 1968.
Manchester  United
Will United clinch another big celebration, making them 20-time winners of England's top competition?
Carlos Tevez
... or will City retain its shot at that elusive top trophy, after winning the FA Cup in 2011?