For United, Only Prestige Is At Stake On Saturday
Well, at least we have nothing to lose from tomorrow's game, apart from bragging rights but those have been firmly secured by Owen's last minute winner and our progression through to the Carling Cup final. But I won't deny that the derby game at City matters a great deal to me, even though for us there's nothing but pride at stake.
Chelsea ended the title race at Old Trafford and put the final nail in the coffin of our 'title challenge' with a win over Bolton on Tuesday, with some assistance from the referee. So at least we have nothing to lose and can afford to attack them, to play with freedom and abandon. The chance of landing a blow on City's Champions League ambitions without risking anything on our part should be a major boost to our troops who have gone a bit flat after going against Bayern.
The 0-0 draw at Blackburn showed no uplifting effect of this 'nothing to lose' state of our season but then the opponent wasn't one of our most hated rivals. Getting another one over City should be enough motivation and we should be free of any burden. We can't win the league, we can't slip any further than third place which would still mean automatic entry into the Champions League group stages. So we can afford to be brave, to throw caution to the wind and to target City's weak defence.
Of course even a win will not compensate for losing the league title and going out in the Champions League quarter-finals. But it would at least soften the blow a little. It's not a cup final, by any means, merely a good chance to lift the gloom a little. And the City fans have been so bloody annoying recently, imagine how smug and unbearable they would be if they managed to get that fourth place. We don't want that...