If you take Manchester City's first five matches of the season out of the equation the Blues are nothing but a mid table Premier League team fighting for a Europa League place. The Blues have not won successive league games since October and have shown an uncanny ability to get nothing from games against better teams at the The Etihad, a shocking reversal from the form the club has shown in big home matches over the course of the previous five seasons.
The only reason Manchester City might still qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season is because the English top flight league is perhaps at its weakest point in two decades. Simply put, even two seasons ago this Blues side would be looking at BEST a fifth place team and more likely somewhere near David Moyes seventh placed Manchester United squad.
Manuel Pellegrini's tenure as Manager has almost certainly left the Blues in worse shape than the side he inherited. But the club also has three more major trophies and the buying and selling of players has been more down to Txiki Begiristain than any other factor.
Nonetheless, the Blues enter the derby at the weakest stage for the club in six seasons yet still as overwhelming favorites. That speaks volumes about the decline of Manchester United in the post Sir Alex Ferguson world.
Tomorrow will give us a fascinating contest between two struggling sides whose best days are behind them. But it's a derby and as always this venue gives an opportunity for new heroes to be forged.