Manchester City v Manchester United – Premier League Match Preview
Well, here we are.
History could be made at the Etihad on Saturday as Pep and his squad face Moaning Maureen’s Stretford Galacticos.
After a chastening European night in Merseyside, Pep and his players have to pick themselves up and go again. This is an entirely different competition and Pep will have some big decisions to make regarding team selection for Saturday’s fixture. Does he throw caution to the wind and go for broke in both games or hold back some of his squad for the second leg of the Champions League quarter Final on Tuesday? The situation really hasn’t changed given that the league is almost secure and pints can afford to be dropped but……..
Pep will also be acutely aware of the need to restore the feel good factor in preparation for the return leg against Liverpool especially as there is such a mountain to climb in that tie now. A lacklustre draw or even defeat (EEK) is not the optimal preparation for such an important game. A much better foundation would be provided by a morale boosting delivery of the Premier League title in style against the side City fans most like to beat.
How it will pain Maureen to face this game. With his team 16 points behind their rivals, having scored fewer goals & with far inferior goal difference they arrive craning their necks to keep sight of a City side so far ahead of them in the league they are almost out of sight. It will especially pain Maureen to face his arch-coaching rival given the plaudits that have been ringing out for the manner in which Pep has delivered his side to this moment in the season. Playing a style of football which has contrasted steadily with the bleak, sterile version offered up in Salford, Pep has finally breached the negative mindsets of many in the media. The set back on Wednesday night might take some of the gloss off their views in the immediate aftermath but should not detract from the bigger picture. Which would they rather watch each week? The sterile, utilitarian fare offered up by a one-eyed coach who spends much of his time wallowing in self-pity and self-justification or the confident, composed and enthralling version of the game which Pep has coached his players – old and new – to deliver?
A rag friend of mine the other day announce that he had cancelled his membership. He was tired he said of making the long journey to the Old Toilet only to watch “crap football” (his words). He wasn’t going to do it any more. He had better things to do.
Says it all really.
Referee: Martin (8 minutes) Atkinson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Stephen Child
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
City await news on the progress of Aguero. His prolonged absence with what was originally described as ‘a bit of a problem’ with his knee is worrying and even if he returns we all know that he is never at his best immediately after a lay off.
Stretford Galacticos have doubts against Blind and Phil Jones. Romero is unavailable.
Possible starting XI and subs:
Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph
De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva D
Sterling, G Jesus, Sané
Bravo, Zinchenko, Danilo, Laporte, Stones, Silva B, Gundogan
Things did not go to plan last Wednesday evening. The players still have a chance, albeit a slim one, to pull that tie around and there can be no better way of setting themselves up that by delivering an emphatic victory over their long time rivals.
They need to clear their minds, focus on the task at hand and get the job done
Come On City!!!