United have the chance to move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League if they beat QPR a Old Trafford this weekend, and they are a top priced 1.2 with Paddy Power to do so and heap the pressure on rivals City.
They play just hours before City visit Arsenal and Sir Alex will be well aware of the psychological blow they can inflict on their neighbours.
The champions were briefly eight points behind Roberto Mancini’s side at the start of December but a win here would see that situation completely reversed and make the title theirs to lose.
QPR are embroiled in the relegation battle at the bottom of the table and also desperate for points.
Mark Hughes’ men face a difficult run-in but have done well in recent weeks to register home victories over Liverpool and Arsenal.
However they have been a totally different side away from Loftus Road, and are without a win on their road since victory at Wolves way back in September.
Hughes may be hoping for a favour from his old boss but is unlikely to find the gaffer in generous mood as the champions look to close in on a 20th league title, and the stats suggest that the former striker will leave empty handed.
United have won nine and lost none of their last 12 matches against QPR in all competitions and won 32 and lost just two of their last 36 Premier League games at Old Trafford.
They have also conceded just one goal in their last five Premier League home matches and have a strong squad heading into the run-in which has been boosted by the news that Nani is fit again after suffering an ankle injury in the 3-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao last month.
It’s impossible to envisage them not winning this with plenty to spare, so it comes down to who is going to get the opener and what the final score will be.
Rooney is once gain the favourite to score first at a best price of 3.75 with Betfred.
However that looks skinny enough, and better value could be Valencia who has 12 assists and four goals in 16 Premier starts this season and is looking sharper than ever.
He is an 9 chance with Betfred to break the deadlock, and that looks worth a small punt.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.