“We wouldn’t like City to win anything in much the same way as they wouldn’t want us to win anything else”, said Scholes on Monday. He is very desperate for Man United to stay above Man City and I am sure every Man United fan feels the same way.
Although Evra did point out (rather cheekily) that Man City are just like any other team and that our main aim is to win against all teams and win the league, this is a massive match, made even more massive by the way Man City has been transformed since their take-over by billionaire Sheikh Mansour. They are now in the next building phase whereby having significantly strengthened their squad, they now need to push for the holy grail that is qualifying for Champions League and/or domestic honours. Once they are in the CL, the players they will be able to attract will be of an even higher level that the ones they already have and their progress will gather pace.
In a way, that is why it is very important for United not to lose at Eastlands. We cannot afford to concede ground to our noisy neighbours who might be galvanised further if they get one over us in midweek. Even though it is still early in the season, the psychological advantage they might gain from a victory, now that they are already in the top four, is not to be taken lightly. We are ourselves gathering some momentum as Chelsea and Arsenal, our main challengers for the title seem to be faltering. As I said in my article prior to the Wolves game, this is an important week for us, where we need to take maximum points if we want to send a message to our rival that we mean business.
The health of the squad is not very encouraging at the moment (although I won’t be surprised if Fergie is bluffing!) and we have to be very happy with our win against Wolves with so many quality players out of the match squad. But, a defeat on Wednesday against a Man City side which we underestimate at our own peril and which will keep on improving whether we like it or not will be hard to take and despite the fact that it is still November, we just cannot afford to drop more points against teams near the top, especially not to our most bitter rivals who are breathing down our neck.