After Manchester United’s last gasp equaliser against Chelsea last weekend it’s now time for the Manchester Derby on Sunday 2nd November. The game is at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium. Think there’s one thing that we can guarantee about this game is that there won’t be many empty seats inside the Etihad stadium for this one. This is more than just a football game, it’s a way of life in the city of Manchester. There is banter between both sets of fans in the city all year round and even more so in the build up to a Derby game. For the losing side the fans have endure working and living with fans from the other side.
My family is like a lot in the city in that a lot of families will have supporters on both sides of the fence. The majority of my family are City fans, so I could have easily have ended up on the opposite side of the fence if my Dad hadn’t brought me up right. My Granddad was a massive City supporter and he used to take my Dad to Maine Road and later took my older brother but neither enjoyed and both ended up supporting United, therefore I was only ever going to be a Manchester United supporter.
Now down the match itself, this is a must win game for both sides, United have had a sluggish start to the season under Louis Van Gaal, though I felt there were definite signs of improvement the previous match against Chelsea. Where I feel Manchester United out in a good all display against a very good Chelsea side. Manchester City haven’t won any of their previous three games. Blowing a 2-0 lead against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League then losing at West Ham last weekend. They then lost 2-0 against Newcastle in the League Cup in midweek.
Both teams will be looking for wins for different reasons. Manchester United will be looking to keep pace to those teams looking to the top four and Manchester City will be looking to win to keep pace with Chelsea at the top of the table. Who are playing QPR at home this weekend so I can’t see anything other than a win for them in that match and personally feel that Chelsea could win the league by between 10 and 15 points. Manchester United’s main aim at the moment is to get back into the Champions League and then can hopefully think about challenging the likes of Chelsea and City for the League Title again next season.
Manchester United’s recent record in this fixture isn’t the best. With their only victory in the last five league encounters coming in December 2012 when United won 3-2 at the Etihad. Manchester United raced into a two goal lead through two goals in the first half an hour of the game through Rooney, United deserved this lead only for city come back strong in the 2nd half and I wasn’t surprised when they finally drew level after 86 minutes. I then felt if anyone would win it would be city but United got the thanks to a stoppage deflected free-kick from Robin Van Persie. Manchester United really have to start setting the record straight in this fixture if only so us United fans don’t have to suffer at the hands of City fans.
Both sides have injury concerns going into this game, with United likely to be missing the likes of Phil Jones, Radamel Falcao and Jonny Evans. Wayne Rooney will return from suspension after missing the last three games. There were reports in the media that Rooney had picked up a knock in training and was a doubt for this game but Van Gaal denied this. Saying he must have been wearing the wrong shoes when he was seen limping at a sponsors event. Rooney has scored the most goals of any playing to play in the Manchester Derbies, bagging himself 11 goals against City in the Derbies over the years. City themselves look like they will be missing David Silva through a knee injury he picked up against Newcastle and have a doubt over Yaya Toure, I will be very surprised if he doesn’t feature in the game.
If I was picking the Manchester United team for this game, I would go for pretty the same team that started last week’s game against Chelsea but with Rooney coming in for Mata. I feel every player that played against Chelsea last week deserves to start this game but Rooney is going to come back into the side as he is captain. So the player who I feel may miss out on the starting line up in this case is Mata.