Ah, the classic Manchester Derby. In one of the most heated and hotly contested matches in all of the English Premier league, the two sides from Manchester square off at Old Trafford amidst one of the most open title races we’ve seen in some time. Both squads are in the top 3 of the league, with United coming off a loss to lowly Wolves (I still am flabbergasted to why this occurred) and City coming off a comfortable 3-0 win to West Brom. The two sides have played in some highly entertaining contests in the past couple of years, with the September 2009 contest being one of the greatest games I’ve watched in recent memory (4-3 United win, if you cannot recall). At any rate, Sir Alex and Mancini will hopefully go out and attack the game.
United fans will be in relief that their talismanic former leader, Wayne Rooney, bagged a nice brace a couple of games ago and appears to be gaining a bit of his predatory instincts again. If Berbatov continues his electrifying form, this game could get ugly quick. However, they’ll have to go up against a stingy center back pairing in Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany. Kompany has been one of the breakout stars for City this campaign, along with the flourishing and enterprising wing back, Aleksander Koloarov. City have allowed just 22 goals in the campaign thus far, tied for best in all of the league. They should have their hands full should the Mancini decide to employ actual football tactics against a big team (see Arsenal 0-0 match for details). The Citizens will have to go out and attack this game, like veteran Patrick Viera said, if they are to have any chance to succeed against Sir Alex and the gang. Only problem? They rely heavily on Tevez.
Tevez will need to have an outstanding game amidst a crowd of boo’s during the game at United. He has become one of the best players in the league since his move to United’s rival and has also become the primary goalscorer. He’ll surely start as the central striker, barring any freak accidents or illnesses. If he doesn’t score, I’m not sure who can on this team. Edin Dzeko’s emergence as a truly talented player may need to occur soon if he’s to gain some confidence and what better game than the derby? He’ll probably start on the bench though due to Mancini’s formation choice so he’ll have to make the most of his time, especially if City have to chase the game early on.
Overall, I think Berbatov and Nani will be the difference makers. Should be an entertaining match but I’m giving the nod to the men in the Manchester United long sleeve jerseys.
Manchester United win 3-1 over City.
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