Manchester United ‘v’ Manchester City - Preview

Forget: Roma ‘v’ Lazio,
Forget: Celtic ‘v’ Rangers,
Forget: Fenerbahce ‘v’ Galatasaray,
Forget: AC Milan ‘v’ Inter Milan,
Forget: Boca Juniors ‘v’ River Plate,
Forget: Barcelona ‘v Real Madrid,
Forget: Ossett Albion ‘v’ Ossett United,

Remember Manchester United ‘v’ Manchester City.

The 151st derby match between these two sides has more than usual resting on it: apart from the bragging rights around the city (although since the average United fan is from Singapore, that won’t matter), there is the not so small matter of the Premier League title to be decided. With the home side just three points ahead of closest challengers Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand, City could put a serious dent in United’s title ambitions with victory here.

City come into this highly charged match on the back of four consecutive victories, including three in the Premier League, a feat they had not achieved since October 2007, so confidence is high for the Blues. This is a similar case for the side from Stretford, who have won their last six Premier League matches, and in midweek they overcame a youthful Arsenal side to clinch their place in the Champions League final for the second consecutive year. The Blues have proved victors in two out of the three previous matches between these sides, whilst in the past 150 encounters, City have scored exactly 200 goals.


The last derby at Old Trafford, the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster, was impeccably observed by both sets of fans

Team News

Blues boss Mark Hughes’s squad is bolstered by the imminent return to first-team action of both Pablo Zabaleta and key midfielder and ball-boy look-a-like Shaun Wright-Phillips. Although this is clearly magnificent news, Hughes will be faced with a tricky selection dilemma as he ponders the make-up of his side for this encounter. If SWP returns, as expected, then Hughes will be forced to decide between Elano, Stephen Ireland and Robinho to decide who to drop, although considering the recent form of the Brazilian duo, the smart money would be on Ireland. However, the Irish midfielder has been City’s stand out performer this season, so it would be a brave move to drop him. Although not entirely envious of the decision to be made, I’d quite happily be paid £6 million a year to sort these things out!

Sir Alex Ferguson will undoubtedly make a plethora of changes from the side which defeated Arsenal in midweek. The rotation policy will surely be employed, with Ryan Giggs, disgracefully awarded the Premier League player of the year title having only started twelve league matches, and Paul Scholes bound to be the greatest beneficiaries of this policy. Portuguese winger/diver Cristiano Ronaldo is in the midst of a purple patch at the moment, whilst Ji-Sung “It’s a Nice Day, Let’s Go To The … ” Park may be handed a starting berth on the left-wing.


Look-a-like (1): Shrek and Wayne Rooney

My Team (4-4-1-1)

                                                      Given

Zabaleta                       Dunne                        Onuoha                         Bridge

SWP                             de Jong                      Kompany                       Ireland

                                                     Elano

                                                    Bojinov

Subs: Hart, Richards, Garrido, Petrov, Robinho, Caicedo, Evans (or Sturridge if fit)

Key Battles

Edwin Van der Sar ‘v’ Shay Given

It’s been a while since the previous goalkeeping key battle, but with the final result likely to be decided by the actions of the respective ‘keepers, the contest between Van Der Sar and Given will be crucial. The Holland international broke a record earlier this season for minutes played without conceding a goal, but there are still doubts over his credentials. With the-not-quite-as-promising-as-Joe-Hart understudy, Ben Foster, looking to cement his place in the side, Van Der Sar will have to perform at the top of his game. Given, a January transfer signing from relegation threatened Newcastle, has added much needed stability and confidence to the Blues’ backline, and he will need to use all of his vast experience against United, when he will come up against a powerful strikeforce. In addition, his ability to deal with Ronaldo’s free-kicks will be crucial.

 
Look-a-like (2): Richard Cresswell and Edwin Van Der Sar

Ryan Giggs ‘v’ Nigel de Jong

The United winger turned central midfielder has been greatly acclaimed this season and was recently awarded the Premier League player of the year award. However, as previously stated, the Welshman has only started twelve league games this season, so is somewhat of an undeserving recipient. On his day, Giggs is still a force to be reckoned with, and his majestic passing has caused numerous problems for City over the years. But the Blues now have a midfield enforcer of their own in the form of recently acquired Dutch international, Nigel de Jong. The holding midfielder does as the name suggests, in a similar way to Renseal, and sits in front of the back four, intercepting opposition attacks and distributing calmly and effectively. He will certainly have a major task on his hands on Sunday, but I feel he is more than capable of playing a crucial role in the game.

Carlos Tévez or Dimitar Berbatov ‘v’ Richard Dunne

Sir Alex Ferguson’s rotation policy means that either or indeed both of Tévez and Berbatov will start this fixture and whichever striker plays will pose a threat to the City defence. The Bulgarian is often accused of being lacklustre and not working for the team, while Argentinean forward Tévez is the exact opposite of his teammate. Both players are capable of scoring sensational goals, so the rearguard of the Blues, ably led by Sir Richard of Dunne, will have to be on their mettle. The City captain has been under-par this season, but in the past, he has always been at the top of his game for derby day so Mark Hughes, formerly of United, will hope that the Irish international can rediscover his form.


Look-a-like (3): Ugly Betty and Carlos Tévez

Verdict: Man Utd 3 - 1 Man City

Realism over optimism. United will possess too much quality for the Blues despite Hughes’s men sure to put up a good effort. Goals to be scored by Stephen Ireland, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney.

31 Responses to “Manchester United ‘v’ Manchester City - Preview”

  1. I*T*P*L Says:

    Really very good Steven, though I’m not all that keen on the abstract start. I love the lookalikes, my views on them are as follows:

    Thompson - surprised you actually went with it but very good
    Shrek - uncanny, but now a little hackneyed
    Ugly Betty - interesting shout, I can see it, but it’s the weakest of a strong three.

    Good to see you got in the Park reference too, and I enjoyed the underlying frisson of cyncisim and anti-ManUre emotion in the article.

  2. I*T*P*L Says:

    I now see that Thompson has become Richard Cresswell, probably a shrewd move. Nothing like as good I’m afraid, if you’re going to remove it, I’d just do it altogether.

  3. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    After consultation with parents, the decision was made to remove PAMT’s picture. Cresswell is poor, I know.

    I’m not a huge fan of the opening either, but it’ll do.

    Love the frisson bit - you win

  4. Sam Says:

    Nice article! Like the humor, just not the final prediction! I say 2-1 to City, and leave the Scumm in Rags….

  5. Richards vs Caicedo showdown Says:

    Nice indeed Sven, keep up the good work. Sure you wouldn’t have Elano playing out wide in your team, swapping with Superman? I certainly would.

  6. hendy hendarto Says:

    hahaha…. I think Ugly Betty very nice beside Teves……… bravo Teves!

  7. bluemoon Says:

    Ji-Sung “It’s a Nice Day, Let’s Go To The … ” Park

    >>> Hilarious

    Wayne Rooney vs Shrek

    >>> Shrek is on the left, right??

    Van Der Sar vs PAMT

    >>> Wise move to remove PAMT.

    Tevez vs Ugly Betty

    >>> Wrong. The comparison would have been much better with a chimp.

    Score

    >>> Bit too pessimistic here, could be a good match. I think that we’ll sneak it. 2-1

    Good article. Make sure you watch out for the fouls on SWP and Robinho again

  8. Ched Evans IS MY HERO Zabaleta I LOVE YOU Says:

    “Forget: Ossett Albion ‘v’ Ossett United”

    >>> Nice!

    “Ji-Sung “It’s a Nice Day, Let’s Go To The … ” Park”

    >>> You know exactly what I am thinking…

    “Evans (or Sturridge if fit)”

    >>> I think you are purposely winding me up here!

    “With the-not-quite-as-promising-as-Joe-Hart understudy, Ben Foster”

    >>> Like this!

    ” Renseal”

    >>> What is this?

    “bluemoon”

    >>> Not sure what he is doing copying my style of comment!

    “Look-a-likes”

    >>> Not going to lie, I didn’t catch PAMT, but in my opinion, these are dreadful!

    My prediction =

    2 - 0 to MUFC unfortunately.

    - Rooney and Park

  9. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks Matt and Ricky,

    The Dr Thompson look-a-like was up for a very brief moment before I decided, on the advice of those senior to me, to remove it for fear of consequences. It was actually a very impressive comparison with him and Van Der Sar, but unfortunately, Cresswell is a poor shout.

    The Rooney and Shrek one is obviously a very well known look-a-like, so it felt to put it in.

    Personally, my favourite of the three is the last one, with Tévez and Ugly Betty. If you take away the glasses and braces, I think it’s very good.

    For Matt’s benefit, Renseal is, I think, some sort of weed-killer/gardening product, but it gets a mention because of the famous slogan on the advert. It’s along the lines of “does what it says on the tin”.

    No, I’m not winding you up Matt. If Sturridge is fit, then there is no doubt that he poses a greater goalscoring threat than Chedwyn, despite the Welshman’s additional physical presence.

    Matt, have you changed your prediction. I can’t remember what you put on the sheet. Please note that I have changed my scorers.

  10. Ched Evans IS MY HERO Zabaleta I LOVE YOU Says:

    “The Dr Thompson look-a-like was up for a very brief moment before I decided, on the advice of those senior to me, to remove it for fear of consequences.”

    >>> I did warn you!

    “For Matt’s benefit, Renseal is, I think, some sort of weed-killer/gardening product, but it gets a mention because of the famous slogan on the advert. It’s along the lines of “does what it says on the tin”.

    >>> I think you mean, ‘Ronseal’?

    “No, I’m not winding you up Matt. If Sturridge is fit, then there is no doubt that he poses a greater goalscoring threat than Chedwyn, despite the Welshman’s additional physical presence.”

    >>> I beg to differ

    “Matt, have you changed your prediction. I can’t remember what you put on the sheet. Please note that I have changed my scorers.”

    >>> No I am pretty sure I have stayed the same.

    I have had a bet on City winning, it is 9/1 and I have put £5 on it, that would be £50 I would get if we win! I have also gone for O’Shea to score first and United to win 2-0 at odds of 126/1!

  11. Bluemoon Says:

    I do like the style of comments that you make matt, that’s why i used them. It makes it much clearer to comment on multiple points with ease and clarity.

    Hope you don’t mind, i’ll stop doing it if you so wish

  12. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Matt, that’s a cracking value for the O’Shea bet. Would be a nice pre-exam present, but I hope it doesn’t happen!

    You’re right, I do mean Ronseal. My sincere apologies

  13. Ched Evans IS MY HERO Zabaleta I LOVE YOU Says:

    Ricky - No it’s fine, I was joking!

    Steven - If I win that amount of money I would go crazy! I only put a pound on but would still get £127 back! Worth a little go! It’s also cracking odds for a City win! Come on!

  14. City are a Massive Club Says:

    Good article. Shame about the look-a-likes. PAMT would be a great shout, but the omission is understandable. 3-1 would be fair enough, and watch out for the midfield rock that will be Darren Fletcher, out to avenge his Champions League Final suspension.

  15. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    I think I have been banned Steven,

    I had a go at ‘leewilson’ for such terrible articles and subsequently all my comments have been deleted from his posts and I can’t post?! I think he reported me!

    Ahahahaahahaa!

  16. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks Daniel, I hope it will be a good game, but do fear being on the end of a United thumping.

  17. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Matt, I noticed that earlier. Instead of saying “CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :)”, it said “disabled access”.

    How did you resolve the problem?

  18. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    Steven, I really don’t know what is going on!?!?!

  19. AF (OK I can dream!) Says:

    Man Utd fan, from Manchester and has a season ticket (dieing breed), that has stumbled across this blog. Very interesting article and enjoyed reading the comments.

    “The 151st derby match between these two sides has more than usual resting on it: apart from the bragging rights around the city (although since the average United fan is from Singapore, that won’t matter), there is the not so small matter of the Premier League title to be decided.”

    >>> Bragging rights are only set to become more fiercly contested as City start to splash the cash and look to break into the top four although I can rather see a top 5, but this is the biggest Derby I can remeber in my lifetime as if you beat us then you will be giving Liverpool as helping hand. I am sure that it is not lost on you that if we win we draw level on league wins. Couple this with Arsenal visiting us next week, who will have the Arshavin available (we saw what he did to Liverpool, my prediction for player of the year 2009/10) and that we comprehensviely beat them in the backyard to go to CL final - I think that they will have a point to prove too, 2 defeats and the title is then Liverpool’s to lose and they will know their fate before they kick a ball again.

    That said, I think that the momentum is with UTD at the moment, Ronaldo is really enjoying his game again, berba is starting to get the ball a lot more and rarely plays a stray pass. The defence seems to have got over its wobble?!

    Ched Evans IS MY HERO Zabaleta I LOVE YOU Says:

    I have had a bet on City winning, it is 9/1 and I have put £5 on it, that would be £50 I would get if we win! I have also gone for O’Shea to score first and United to win 2-0 at odds of 126/1!

    >>> I am not sure that O’shea will be starting as Gary Neville is fit again, I would not start with Gary as he is not match sharp and Hughes is sure to employ SWP to attck down that flank if he gets a sniff that Gary is struggling at all…. however if oshea does start I will be putting £20 on that as if it comes true that is CL final paid for :0)

    City are a Massive Club Says:

    “Good article. Shame about the look-a-likes. PAMT would be a great shout, but the omission is understandable. 3-1 would be fair enough, and watch out for the midfield rock that will be Darren Fletcher, out to avenge his Champions League Final suspension.”

    >>> Finally someone else that recognises Fletcher as being a solid dependable player.

    I have been chatting with my friends who are Reds and much like the conclusion of you blues on the outcome, there is a very mixed feeling on how the events will unfold tomorrow, they are all a little tetchy about this and the next 2 games. Lets hope it is a cracking game and for the sake of the Mancs -V- Scousers that Utd win….! I know you have you own agenda and that is making europe so you can attract some bigger stars - so I am not exoecting any favours…..

    Prediction (against the bet I will put on of 2-0 if O’shea starts) Utd 3 - 1 City (City to score first - we always like to do it the hardway!)

  20. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    AF (OK I can dream!) - thanks a lot for that comment.
    It’s nice to see a United fan from Manchester who goes to the games!

    I wholeheartedly agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I feel I have to pick you up on 1 point you made. You said that you felt this was the biggest derby you could remember in your lifetime. Obviously, I don’t know your age, but surely there have been more important games than this!?

    Nice to see that you agree with my predicted score. And if that O’Shea bet is correct, then it will make two people very, very happy!

    Thanks again for the comment, and enjoy the game (but not too much!)

  21. Plattsy Says:

    COME ON CITY!

    I can’t believe you’ve not got Robbie in your starting 11, Steven!

    Not a bad preview, lookalikes are pretty good, though its a shame you had to take down the Thommo picture, I can see it being good!

  22. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks Plattsy,

    I just don’t think it’s Robinho’s type of game. Hughes will clearly start with him, so let’s hope that he proves me wrong.

    Well done yesterday Plattsy. Sounds like a really exciting finish. And, you were only 10 off my predicted score!

  23. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    “AF (OK I can dream!)”

    >>> Good comment, I enjoyed reading it, Fletcher is a quality player, I’m just hoping Zabaleta can snuff him out. I might have a bet on him scoring first actually? Hmm…

    Steven, I can now comment, don’t know why, but I cant save any of my articles?

    Ah well, how did Plattsy do?

  24. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    p.s it was an absolute disgrace, wait til my ratings…im not a happy chappy…

  25. I*T*P*L Says:

    Shame, how disappointing for you. What d’you reckon, curtains, or can you still make Europe?

  26. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    I’m not sure, Spurs away is the crucial game next week. I’ve just posted my ratings (as I was at the game) but it says the article is awaiting review?!

  27. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    p.s Steven, scores on the doors?

  28. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Disappointing yes, but it just highlights the gap between the top 3 and the rest.

    Is it the end of Europe for us? NO

    If we win away at Spurs and at home to Bolton, and if Fulham lose one of their remaining 2 games, we’ll be fine

  29. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Matt, something weird is happening with all your things now. I’ve had to approve all of your comments as they have been moderated, which means that unless I approved them, they didn’t show up on the site. I think you need to have a word with admin about it, especially if you can’t post anything.

    Points:

    Me - 4
    Matt - 7
    Plattsy - 0
    Dan - 6

  30. CHED EVANS IS MY HERO! Zabaleta I Love You :) Says:

    Steven, I dont know what is going on?

    I posted my ratings but they now show under ‘pending review’???

    How do i contact him?

  31. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    I’ve had to approve that last comment as well?!?!?!?

    Go on the forum, I guess???

Leave a Reply

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.