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 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 an a very important derby and dare I use the cliché ‘the most important derby ever’.
Team: With Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans both out, Chris Smalling will step into the hole in the middle of the defence beside Nemanja Vidic in his first Manchester derby. The game could also see the return of Park Ji Sung who returned from the Asian Cup weeks ago yet has been allowed 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. The form of Mancini’s men has been rather patchy, 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
Last meeting: Roberto Mancini signalled his intentions by setting up C*ty not to lose at home in November. The game, labelled as ‘the biggest derby’ in history didn’t live up to the expectations and Mancini was duly panned in the press for his negative tactics at home to us. The game also saw Rafael emerge as our very own Travis Bickle as he flipped on Carlos Tevez, as well as Carlos Tevez getting extremely intimate with Rio Ferdinand.
This game last season: In what was my game of the season, United and C*ty went back and forth on a sunny September day. Carlos Tevez ended up on the losing side after goals from Rooney, Barry, Bellamy and Fletcher set up a grandstand finish. In the 6th minute of extra time (that’ll teach them for over celebrating what they thought was a late equaliser, only we’re allowed do the late goal thing!) Michael Owen got onto the end of Ryan Giggs’ pass to slot past Shay Given. Also memorable from the game, Craig Bellamy did his reputation no good when he struck an already subdued fan that had got onto the pitch.
This game is important no doubt. How will 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.
This will be an interesting game and it may be one to look back on at the end of the season and call pivotal but why not make it that much more interesting? Have a flutter on it courtesy of us here at The Busby Way. Scores, goal scorer, cards what ever you want it’s all here. Just click on the banner for all the odds you need.
May the better Manc’ Win!