Writer: Red Boy
Date:Friday February 11 2011
It is the most anticipated derby for years. Both sides have Premier League title aspirations but the blue half of the city are aware that a red victory could all but see those hopes quashed. Spirits will, naturally, run high as both sides seek those vital three points to rule the roost when it comes to bragging rights. Over here in the red corner, we`re fairly confident that we`ll be the ones with smiles on our faces come Saturday evening, but then again we`re used to tasting success are we not! How many years has it been Manchester City?
If City were in any doubts as to what is required to win the Premier League title then Darren Fletcher has given them the perfect reminder, whilst also reiterating our own qualifications, remarking ahead of the game,
"You have to earn the title. Nobody gives you the trophy. The team that wins the league will be the team that deserved it and showed the best form throughout the season."
Not the club that spends the most money then?
Sir Alex Ferguson goes into this fixture with a few injury concerns. Definitely ruled out, as they have been for weeks, are the duo of Antonio Valencia and Owen Hargreaves, whilst Rio Ferdinand was added to the injury list last weekend, with a calf strain, and will also miss this crucial fixture.
Darren Fletcher who withdrew from the Scotland squad with an eye injury is likely to be considered for selection whilst Chris Smalling will probably get the nod, ahead of Jonny Evans who has been struggling with an ankle injury, to replace Rio.
Also likely to feature for the first time since leaving to compete in the Asia Cup is Park Ji-ung
On a roll at Old Trafford when it comes to scoring, how we`d love a brace this Saturday lunch time!
Roberto Mancini brings his expensively assembled squad to Old Trafford with relatively few injury problems. Definitley missing from the squad for the match will be Adam Johnson (ankle injury) and Micah Richards (concussion) whilst there are also doubts about their temperamental forward, Mario Balotelli, who has and ankle knock whilst the defensive midfield enforcer, Nigel De Jong, has an ankle knock that may well keep him out of the picture.
Will there be further bitter recriminations over his move or will sleeping dogs be let lie? No doubting there`s talent in them there boots but let`s just stifle it for ninety minutes shall we! Otherwise the Argentine striker could well add to his tally of 4 goals in his last 6 appearances against us!
43 years is a heck of a long time but that`s exactly how long the blue half of Manchester have not won the title for!
Old Trafford is a poor hunting ground for City, they`ve managed only 1 victory in the last 26 league visits (stop laughing at the back!).
As for scoring against United, its blanks for City in 4 of the last 5 league games us!
The officials hoping for a derby that`ll be remembered for it`s football more than anything unsavoury are Andre Marriner (referee), Adam Watts and Scott Ledger (assistants) and Martin Atkinson (fourth official)
I`m hardly going to champion their cause am I? Do I fear United coming to Old Trafford and snatching a victory? Not a chance! They`ll come with every intention of snatching a vital win to keep their fading title hopes alive but it`ll not happen. We`ll be too canny for them, we`ll be too powerful and we`ll win this 2-0!
Our next fixture will see us take on non-league Crawley Town in an FA Cup 5th round tie!
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Date:Friday February 11 2011
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