The crucial game of the week in the English Premier League will be taking place in Manchester on Monday. The Manchester Derby is always a big ordeal, however, the players wearing Manchester City jerseys are not normally in a position to win the league if the win the derby match. That is what makes this particular fixture so intriguing.
After gaining a solid lead atop the Premier League table and Roberto Mancini giving up on the possibility of winning the league, the men in Manchester United jerseys have allowed their city rivals to get back in the title race. Going into the game Monday, United have a three-point lead on City with three games left in the season. However, the bad news for United is that City has a superior goal differential. Therefore, if City were able to win the game, they would tie United in points and take over top spot because of their superior goal differential.
As I mentioned above, not long ago, Mancini conceded defeat to Manchester United, saying that the title race was over. However, if you listen to Joe Hart, Mancini was only playing mind games and did not really think the season is over. In an article on Goal.com, Hart was quoted as saying, “I don’t think he [Mancini] means the season is over. I think he is just trying to play it down a little bit and let us get on with what we need to do.” Even if Mancini is trying to play down the game, his players surely know what is at stake. To win the league over your city rivals would be massive for City supporters and players.
Manchester United will also know what is at stake in this game, and Sir Alex Ferguson has some experience in title races. If they are able to win, this would be back-to-back Premier League titles for the Red Devils. Even though this game is at the Etihad Stadium, United will not have as much pressure on them as City. Unlike City, a draw would be a welcomed result for United. It would maintain their three-point lead with only two games remaining. Therefore, they will not feel the pressure to necessarily push forward and attack non-stop when all they need is a draw.
This should be a great match between two rivals. The Manchester Derby has always been a big occasion, but the Premier League crown has not been on the line before. Both teams records also indicate that it should be a close, fun match. At home this season, Manchester City are 16-1-0. Manchester United, playing away from Old Trafford, are 12-3-2. Both teams have solid records, which is why they are both still in the title race. No matter the result, it should be a close, intense match that will have both United and City fans on the edge of their seats.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
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