All eyes are on one of the hottest fixtures on the planet, the Manchester Derby is upon us. Heroes and villains will be made in equal measure, the triumphant teams fans granted weeks of bragging rights in the workplace and down the local. The Manchester Derby has everything any fan could wish for; pride, passion, goals, crunching challenges and fantastic football. This is a game to be savoured by footballing connoisseurs of all creed and ages.
As the red and blue sides of Manchester lock horns, just 2 points separate the sides. Alex Ferguson will be looking to prove he still has what it takes to topple City who currently occupy top spot. Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini will be wanting to increase the lead as his dominating City side look to crush all in their wake.
With everything to play for, who will be crowned the ‘Kings of Manchester’?
City boss Roberto Mancini reiterated his sides ambitions, stating: ‘We can beat United only if we play very good football.
‘Now it is one yard – United are over City, one yard.
In these two months I think we worked very well and we reduced the gap.
They are a team that every year win something – the Barclays Premier League, Champions League or FA Cup.
‘Now in the Premier League we are strong enough. Win it? I hope. The players are strong enough, they have the experience for this. It was important to start the season well and we are top after eight games.
Our target is to be better than last year. I think we can do better. It’s important to win a strong championship and the Premier League is the best in the world. This makes it difficult, but it would be a fantastic moment.’
Manchester United’s Portuguese winger Nani also chirped in with a few things to say, but his opinion doesn’t count so they have been omitted from this article.
Manchester United Team News:
Rafael and Tom Cleverley are sidelined for United with a shoulder and foot injury respectively.
Reo Ferdinand is expected to be drafted back into the side to line up with Nemanja Vidic who was sent off in United’s Champions League tie earlier in the week.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
The tabloid headline maker has found the sort of form that can be unstoppable for opposition defences. While he may not have been given much in the looks department, Rooney has it all in the footballing one.
Rooney will relish this sort of game, especially after last seasons spectacular overhead kick that provided Sir Alex Ferguson’s side with the winning goal.
It will be interesting to see if Balotelli plays, who gets sent off first.
Manchester City Team News:
Mancini has a difficult selection process to make with an abundance of options in midfield and attack.
Adam Johnson looks the most likely contender to be benched after he was hauled off against Villarreal midweek, James Milner possibly his replacement.
Up front, Mancini needs to decide between Balotelli and the stuttering Edin Dzeko who just can’t seem to find the net recently.
Player to watch: Sergio Aguero
Aguero has been a revelation since arriving in Manchester. He has it all, looks, character and fantastic footballing ability.
His last minute goal against Villarreal in the Champions Leage reitterated his importance to the team and in his current form, he is a deadly weapon in City’s vast arsenal.
If United look weak anywhere, it’s at the back. Aguero will surely be provided with chances, but can he take them?
Match Facts & Stats
In the last eight matches between City and United there have been five 90th+ minute goals scored.
United have dropped only 2pts from their last 25 home games.
It would be great to be confident enough to opt for a Manchester City victory, but this is at Old Trafford and this is against Manchester United. Late goals have silenced the City faithful and I still dont believe that we have ammended that weakness, being guilty of switching off far too often. Regardless of who scores first, I think United will nick this one. This is by no means a make or break game, nor does it indicate who will win the title (despite what the UK’s god awful pundits overstate). I see this one going 2-1 in favour of United – although on their day, City could blast them away. Really dont see that happening on Sunday though.
Carling Cup – Wed 26th @ 19:45 away to Wolves.