This weekend, Old Trafford welcomes the blue side of Manchester for what is sure to be another entertaining fixture. Sir Alex’s men will be hoping to bounce back from their defeat last week in the best possible manner- with a win against Roberto Mancini’s men. Despite the disappointing nature of the result against Wolves, all United fans will look ahead to this fixture, considering our home record, with a quiet optimism- despite City’s impressive form. Looking at the table, Tevez & Co need to pick up a point at least to keep their title hopes alive or they may regret playing so conservatively at the City of Manchester Stadium in the reverse fixture. History suggests the match should be very lively, with plenty of goals, and the neutral will be hoping that an early breakthrough will allow both sides to exhibit their wealth of attacking talent. Last season, we saw many memorable moments in the Manchester derby, lets hope we can create some more on Saturday…
The major injury news for United is that Ferdinand is unable to play, following the calf injury picked up at Molineux. Also, after the crazy midweek internationals United are without Javier Hernandez, who doesn’t return from America till Friday afternoon, leaving Michael Owen as are only forward option on the bench. Nonetheless, Ferguson will be glad to hear no other player is unavailable following international duty. Returning from his extended break, after the Asian Cup, Ji Sung Park is available once again but may not quite have the match sharpness to start. Fletcher, Evans & Smalling all pulled out of their respective squads for precautionary reasons but all are expected to be available for the derby.
Smalling, Ferguson’s £10m summer signing, will be stepping in for the injured Rio Ferdinand and will have to deal with the former red, Carlos Tevez. The English CB, included in the recent international squad’s, has impressed many fans at Old Trafford with his mix of aerial ability and ball control. Now ahead of Jonny Evans in the pecking order the 21 year old has developed well, in his short time with Sir Alex, and will have been taught all about Tevez by his centre half partner, Nemanja Vidic. Every United fan knows what to expect from the energetic Argentinian, who scored a hat-trick against WBA last week, and will be hoping that our central defensive partnership is strong enough to cope with the league’s second-highest top scorer.
He Didn’t Go to City for the Trophies…
One to Watch
The Serbian LB, signed from Lazio in the summer, is finally finding his feet in the Premier League and has become a fan’s favourite across the city. Famous for his fearsome shot, the attacking full-back is not afraid to have a crack from anywhere past the half way line; supremely confident in his ball striking ability (like Roberto Carlos). Recently, the Serb has picked up his first two goals for the Blue’s, against Leicester City & Birmingham City. However, the £16m signing (Evra cost a third of that) has already been exposed for his lack of pace, something which our in-form winger Nani will be looking to exploit. The way in which Kolarov deals with Nani’s attacking ability will be just as important as how his shooting goes on, and may ultimately decide which way the fixture falls.
Manchester United 2 1 Manchester City
The match is sure to be one of United’s toughest tests this season and will really query our title-winning credentials. Fergie knows how important the three points are, considering Arsenal’s relatively easy run-in, and will ensure that United are suitably prepared and galvanised for the fight. On home turf, United have been irresistible this season and I believe that our attack will carry us through, regardless of the efforts of a certain Argentinian. I was tempted to predict a draw for this fixture earlier this weeek but then I realised- we are Manchester United, this is what we do, we win!
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