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Manchester United vs Manchester City: Preview

United>CityThis has to be the most eagerly anticipated derby in years, nay decades. Well certainly in my lifetime anyway.

City’s start to the season, culminating in the 4-2 defeat of Arsenal last weekend, will have surely seen United supporters with even the deepest of hatred towards our city neighbours at least acknowledge that they have, thus far, looked impressive.

Many quarters are even rather prematurely suggesting that Mark Hughes’ side are ready to mount an assault on the top four and even a serious title challenge. Well with all due respect, it’s one thing struggling past the likes of Blackburn, Wolves and Portsmouth but it’s quite another coming to Old Trafford and getting a positive result.

The record books and any chat of previous meetings shouldn’t really count for much on Sunday but here’s a brief overview for the statistically conscious among us. In total, United have won 61 of the 151 Manchester derbies that have taken place including a double victory in the league last season. If you needed even more reason for optimism, City have only won one of their 12 trips to Old Trafford since the inception of the Premier League.

Following the midweek triumph over Besiktas there are no fresh injury worries although Rio Ferdinand remains a massive doubt having missed the game in Istanbul. That will mean that Jonny Evans will continue to develop his partnership with Nemanja Vidic at the heart of the defence in front of the ever-improving Ben Foster.

At full-back Sir Alex will look to Patrice Evra and probably John O’Shea while Nani and Antonio Valencia should start on either flank having performed well, if not spectacularly, on Tuesday evening.

Having been rested for the Champions League opener, Darren Fletcher will come back into the side and with Paul Scholes suspended, Anderson or Ryan Giggs should get the nod alongside the Scot with Michael Carrick missing out.

Now a Ferguson line-up wouldn’t be complete without some sort of tactical surprise although this United fan is sincerely hoping that the manager opts for a 4-4-2 formation with Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney spearheading the attack.

City’s attacking problems have been well documented heading into Sunday’s encounter, with Craig Bellamy the only fully fit and available striker at their disposal. Carlos Tevez may well receive a tirade of abuse if he plays but Ferguson believes that the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor, who is serving a three-match suspension for his Arsenal antics, is far more significant.

“I am not bothered whether Tevez plays or not – Manchester City’s best player won’t be playing,” the United boss said.

“Adebayor is their star player, there is no question about that. He has scored in every game so far.”

Ferguson went on to claim that City behaved in an “arrogant and cocky” manner by unveiling their now rather infamous Tevez ‘Welcome to Manchester’ poster and the Scot insisted that he sees fixtures against Liverpool as the true derby matches.

“To me, Liverpool has always been the derby,” he added.

“It is because of the history. My aim was always to do well against them. It is hard for me to think any other way.”

Personally I would get hold of a replica of the poster and hang it in the dressing room before kick-off. If the player’s are looking for an added incentive to be fired up for the derby then that would surely provide it.

Anyway, back to previewing the game and there’s no doubt that Hughes’ side will fancy their chances at Old Trafford and probably more than they ever have done before. Given the millions they have spent on fresh talent in the summer and the fact they are currently unbeaten in the Premier League adds fabrication to that notion but, if you can excuse the cliché, it’s all about what happens on the pitch come Sunday.

The United squad certainly have nothing to fear themselves and should be full of confidence. Having put a Tottenham side, who were riding the crest of a wave in a similar vein to City, to the sword last weekend, they continued to ridicule the niggling suggestions that there isn’t life after Ronaldo.

Without wanting to tempt fate, it is off the back of that hugely encouraging performance at White Hart Lane coupled with a burning desire to put City in their place that will hopefully see United home to a comfortable and comprehensive victory.

Altogether now: This is how it feels to be City…

Prediction: 2-0 United

Also see: Manchester United v Manchester City preview.

333 Comments

333 Comments

  1. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:05

    @Footy4Eddy: im already am married to and have kids with that idea mate we need to play the diamond with fletch as cdm and ando at cam just a beautiful midfield pair and the reason i didnt think we needed to splash this year give those two a chance to become roy and beks

  2. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:12

    @Red Ranter: i believe its more of a chant than a cry ander son son son 😎

  3. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:15

    @AndyCR7: ooooooo thats a fist 😯 can you say ban

  4. Redrich

    20 September 2009 at 22:16

    @Dan: That is great, Dan!! 😆 😆

  5. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:17

    @AndyCR7: HAHAHAHAHAAaaaa thats classic… thats how you say “thanks for the text messages, you prat” in french 😆

  6. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:19

    @Craig Mc: i can buy that id like to see it but for my $$ gigs has another year like this in him 😯 barring injury touch wood

  7. Redrich

    20 September 2009 at 22:19

    @Footy4Eddy: I agree, Ando has been playing better of late. More stamina, more vitality, more influence on the games.

    He also seems to be enjoying himself too. Hope he can keep it up. 🙂

  8. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:22

    @Footy4Eddy: +1 agree 100% flecherinho and ando are going to explode all over the prem this year i think we will need hargo back aswell for cl if we are to reach the final again.

  9. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:24

    @Shami: shurley not mate no one would do that these days if so though i select him to have his knees removed by lead pipe. 😡

  10. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:27

    @Craig Mc: fergi is looking the same direction

  11. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:30

    @Karl: BEEP

  12. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:32

    @Karl: ronny hasnt talked shit and lied about saf and the club. he will probably be clapped on.

  13. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:35

    @Footy4Eddy: his passes at times were like becks just inch perfect and there for the picking when he gets a run of games the chances will turn to goals and his shooting is much improved wpotyear in 3 seasons me thinks

  14. gator

    20 September 2009 at 22:39

    @Craig Mc: thats cuz he is comming back in jan 😉

  15. Red Ranter

    20 September 2009 at 22:39

    @Dan: Yup, that’s going up in a separate post. 🙂

  16. Footy4Eddy

    20 September 2009 at 22:42

    Anderson has now started three games in a row, and against City he ran his ass off for 92 minutes… 😯 Stamina increase or steroids? 😆 Hope he now understands what training does!

  17. NicoQB

    20 September 2009 at 23:45

    http://therepublikofmancunia.com/video-rooney-fletcher-and-owens-goal-against-city/

    Just watching the United goals again, and I wonder what would have been the general opinion of “fans” had Foster conceded these goals. 🙄

    On the Rooney goal city defending is shocking.
    On Fletcher’s goals Foster would have been called incompetent coming for crosses.
    On Owen’s goals Foster would have probably been blamed all the same with poor positioning…
    🙄

  18. Redrich

    21 September 2009 at 00:19

    @NicoQB: Just too, fucking bad, that you strive, fight and push for mediocrity!! 👿 👿

  19. Footy4Eddy

    21 September 2009 at 00:32

    @Redrich: Just like people fought for Fletcher before?! 🙄 Like people wanted to sell Evra after just 6 months? Like people thought Owen was shit because we didnt get Aguero or Villa? Like Giggs was told to retire in 2008 because he would never be able to cut it anymore?

    If there is one things you learn as a United fan, its to trust Fergie whatsoever! If he thinks Foster is good enough, I think he is good enough. Dont you ever doubt him! 😎

  20. Grognard

    21 September 2009 at 00:36

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: I didn’t miss my convention because the game was on earlier than I thought. But I hate wake up at 5:15am to watch it. I’m beat but WOW, what a game.

  21. Grognard

    21 September 2009 at 00:42

    @Red Ranter: David Silva is just as comfortable and as capable playing in the center of midfield as an AMF as he is playing on the left side. He is exactly what we need and has all the skill, finesse and attacking flair that will be the final piece to the puzzle. Trust me RR. 🙂

  22. Grognard

    21 September 2009 at 00:44

    @NicoQB: You have got to be kidding me. 😯 He was utter crap in the Charity Shield and was all over the place vs Arsenal but got away with all his mistakes. He is fucking useless. 🙄

  23. Grognard

    21 September 2009 at 00:46

    @Craig Mc: Bellamy is a punk. Nothing that sociopath does surprises me anymore.

  24. Craig Mc

    21 September 2009 at 00:48

    @Grognard: You got that right Grogster 😆 .

  25. Craig Mc

    21 September 2009 at 00:55

    @Footy4Eddy: Eddi I am sorry mate, but I just have no faith in Foster anymore. I have my heart in my mouth every time the ball is passed back to him! He wants faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too much time to clear his box, and invites the opposition strikers to hurry him, and when he is harrassed mate he can’t CUT IT – and if far too slow! It wasn’t just the one giveaway to Tevez, Carla caught him at least 4-5 other times, and the near misses in being dispossessed in the area for a GK are just NOVICE mate. Every striker in the country knows what to do to Foster now, and believe me he will be besieged with oncoming harrassment as he tries EVER so slowly to clear his box with kicks out 🙄 .

  26. Redrich

    21 September 2009 at 01:48

    @Footy4Eddy: Eddy, you have to take each player on their merits. You can’t make a thematic example just because of Fletcher’s progress.
    Players are good or bad and the idea that our influence could affect that is not realistic.
    I would imagine Rooney will play better next time, but I’m not sure about the 26 year old Foster.
    I think that when you assess a players potential, one of the key ingredients is the way he handles the toughest of circumstances. I think Ando is learning this trait, but Foster is fluffing his opportunity.
    As a goalie you do not make fundamental mistakes that puts your teams success in jeopardy

    Foster continues to ignore all of this and will now face a difficult time in his career!!

  27. Redrich

    21 September 2009 at 01:55

    @Grognard: Well I think RR is wrong when he says “we just need an attacking MF”.
    I’ve always thought we need a striker as well. Berbatov offers a lot but he’s not really a striker is he??
    His conversion rate is pathetic, and still looks like a deer in the headlights when approaching a 50/50/ ball. 🙁

  28. Red Ranter

    21 September 2009 at 07:43

    @Redrich: Having a midfielder who can drive forward brings Berbatov more into the fray as a holding striker. There can be more one-twos and it can actually make our system far more dynamic and extremely hard to mark. We have Berbatov, spent shitloads on him, and I think the only way to make him work for our system is to ensure there’s a lot more dynamism around him with him as a fulcrum. Of course, he has been terribly unlucky, and as a result seems to be going through a trough, as far as confidence goes. It’s a vicious cycle and the sooner he snaps out of it the better for us. He can’t seem to buy a goal at present which is sad.

  29. Karl

    21 September 2009 at 08:19

    @Red Ranter: It’s not about moral high-ground. It is sad when people start making excuses for lying. In my books, lying is lying and shows disrespect. If I’m taking a moral high-ground, does that mean you would prefer someone to treat you like an idiot by telling you lies, because that is what you want to hear?

    How exactly did Ronaldo apologise when he still lied at the same time? In fact, I can’t really recall any apology at all. He just woooed the fans over with his goals as he said he would do. At least it shows the intelligence he posess, compared to that of the fans.

  30. Red Ranter

    21 September 2009 at 08:28

    @Karl: To be honest I’ve made my peace with lying. I take truth and lies in my stride as far as football managers and players go. I don’t get worked up over lying as such, but rather the way Tevez whinged playing the victim card. But I also recognize that speaking truth at times amounts to stupidity. A lot of times I can see right through Ferguson when he lies about certain things, but I let all of that slide because I recognise the position he’s in. He has to lie a lot of times. His primary job is to protect his players at all costs, and if that means he has to lie then yes, I will fully support that. I’m not stupid enough to believe the shite shoved down my throat, but I won’t haul the manager or players if they lie because it protects the squad chemistry.

    To you lying is lying, but to me lying is very subjective and can even be a virtue at times. If that makes me morally bankrupt then so be it. In football, in my book any action that puts the team above everything else goes (as long as no one is hurt).

    Also Ronaldo apologised about the way he went about things in summer 08/09. I am off to bed right now, but remind me later, and I’ll give you links to quotes where he held his hand up.

  31. Karl

    21 September 2009 at 08:46

    @Red Ranter: Not necessary for quotes. Even if there are, it won’t mean much because there is no sincerity in it.

    I know now where you stand on this, and can respect your view (even though I might not agree with it, it seems to be that of the masses).
    All I ask in return is for the same back because I as stupid as it may seem, that is my belief-system. That is why hypocrisy grieve me so much and why I always make a point of highlighting it. I’m not going to take the easy route out of the masses.

  32. Red Ranter

    21 September 2009 at 08:55

    @Karl: It’s not that of the masses; there is a fundamental difference in that I am not afraid to question if there is something obviously bollocksy about what Ferguson says. I was completely disenchanted with Ronaldo, if you recall. Yet I am sure fans would give him a good reception because of the way he conducted himself and showed a willingness to say the right things. Whether they appeared sincere or not, anything he’d say wouldn’t appear sincere anyway after what he did that summer. However, he’s said not one word of bitterness towards the club, manager players nor have I heard one word of adverse words from the players either. There is enough evidence to show his professionalism. And I believe he really meant some of the goodwill towards the manager. Ferguson has never, ever given such gushing praise towards any player — not even Cantona — as he showered on Ronaldo before he left. I think despite all that superficiality, I think there has been a lot of genuineness in a lot of what he said about us.

    And regarding your opinion, where have I not respected your view? I don’t dismiss people’s opinions like they didn’t matter, and you know that.

  33. Karl

    22 September 2009 at 14:49

    @Red Ranter: Never stated that you don’t show respect. Sorry if it came out that way.

    What you say makes a lot of sense. However, I still feel he also don’t deserve the cheering.

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