After the thrills, spills, red cards and possession stats of last Sunday’s match at Ibrox it’ll be interesting to see how the Manchester version compares today.
The noisy neighbours managed to reach top spot earlier this season but as is traditional with Manchester City they managed to throw that away and allowed United to regain their traditional place at the top of the table.
City’s form has been patchy recently, losing away to Aston Villa and drawing at Birmingham but a win at Old Trafford would put them two points behind United who have never faced a title challenge from across the city during Fergie’s 25 year reign at Old Trafford.
To get a feel for today’s match I visited The Busby Way United website for a supporters take on what’s at stake today.
If you fancy a bet on the match City at 7/2 look good value but it’s not often that you’ll get 4/5 on United at home.
According to The Busby Way it’s all about: “Oil money, Sheiks, noisy neighbours, late winners just some of the recurring themes in recent Manchester derbies.
Last season specifically saw some of the most entertaining for me with Owen’s late winner, Tevez ‘returning’ to haunt us before Rooney silenced C*ty once again in the Carling Cup and finally Paul Scholes silencing the Bitters with a last minute goal at Eastlands.
At the end of last season there were a plethora of reasons as to why C*ty came off second best, too much extra time (rubbish!), Mancini was still getting used to his team and and it was a team he had inherited rather than his own team but this season there are no excuses.
With both teams in the running for the title this appears to be a very important derby and dare I use the cliché ‘the most important derby ever’.
Team News: With Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans both out, Chris Smalling will step into the hole in the middle of the defence beside Nemanja Vidic for his first Manchester derby. The game could also see the belated return of Park Ji Sung from the Asian Cup after being given extra time to charge his batteries.
Man C*ty wait on the fitness of Mario Balotelli and possibly more importantly for them Nigel De Jong. Both are said to have a chance to make the game but at the moment it is still up in the air. Micah Richards is thought to have over come his ankle injury to make the game.
Form: Well after 29 games, I can no longer write Manchester United are undefeated. The toothless nature of our defeat to Wolves at Molineux was disappointing but that was on the road. At Old Trafford we are still undefeated and have only dropped points against West Brom.
Mancini’s men have been in patchy form recently, with a win, a draw and a loss in their last 3 league games. Away from home they haven’t been anything to write home either with a draw a loss and a draw in the league.
United Last 6: DWWWWL
C*ty Last 6: WWLDDW
This game is important no doubt. How will Chris Smalling deal with the harsh glare of the spotlight he is undoubtedly in?
How will we bounce back from our defeat against Wolves? Previously I was nervous about the tie but about half way through the week whilst lying in bed all anxiety I had just disappeared.
I expect it to be a close game especially if Mancini sets up to not lose rather than to win. I think we will win this or at worst draw.