Writer: Red Boy
Date:Saturday January 7 2012
The Etihad Stadium
It`s the plum tie of the round and the moment the two big-hitting Manchester clubs were drawn together you just knew the anticipation levels would rise as the tie got nearer. Having lost our last two encounters against our main rivals, Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen to ensure that we don`t suffer that same fate again and even though we`re going into the lions den, there`s nothing to fear in this local derby as two giants collide. Has there ever been a better Sunday afternoon treat to serve to the viewing public on national television?
Many may have thought that Sir Alex Ferguson would use the 6-1 drubbing, inflicted upon us back in October, as a means of firing up his side, but apparently not with Sir Alex being quote as having remarked in the pre-match build up,
"I will not be mentioning it."
"There is enough experience in this squad to cope with a really difficult tie."
"The advantage is with City, as they are at home."
"But it`s a cup tie, a local derby and anything can happen in these games."
"It doesn`t matter what situation we`re in, we`d be expecting to get a result in normal circumstances."
Bring it on!
Roberto Mancini has already bleated about being without the Toure brothers and he can add a certain Carlos Tevez to the definitely not available list.
Having been sent off against Liverpool earlier this week, we don`t expect Gareth Barry to play as his suspension should have kicked in.
As for the rest, watch out for David Silva, Kun Aguero and the defensive skills off Vincent Kompany.
A great friend of Wayne Rooney and one of the best keepers around, you get the impression that United may have to take advantage of any chances that fall there way to scrape through this tie as Hart is a genuinely world-class keeper.
Sir Alex still has a raft of injuries with the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverley, Michael Owen and Darren Fletcher sidelined but the situation is easing with Rio Ferdinand, Anderson and Chris Smalling being available again.
Whereas, in the past Sir Alex may have given youth a chance in the FA Cup, this fixture is something different and we reckon Sir Alex will play his strongest side available.
Disappointing last time after being shackled by Newcastle United`s defence, but Wayne will be fired up for this encounter and wouldn`t we just love to see one of those dynamic overhead kicks wrap matters up again.
If we look at all United v City games the stats currently show the standings as United having won 67 whilst City have won 44 with 50 being drawn.
Closing in though onto the last four matches played between the sides and it is a lot closer with both sides having won two each. City taking the honours 6-1 on October 23rd 2011 (Premier League) and April 16th 2011 (FA Cup Semi-Final) with United winning on August 7th 2011 (Community Shield) and Deb 12th 2011 (Premier League)
Chris Foy takes charge of this titanic tussle. United haven`t had much luck with Foy in charge recently having lost there last two games with him behind the whistle, also, with regards to FA Cup 3rd round ties, Foy was the man in charge when we lost to Leeds, at Old Trafford, a couple of years back.
We`re entering somewhat un-chartered territory for this fixture, it`s not often the threat is there of United losing three game son the bounce but that is precisely what will happen if we can`t at least get a replay from this one. Some pundit, in a leading tabloid, kindly pointed out that the last time Sir Alex offered an inference about a retirement date, our form went through the floor; let`s hope there`s no repeat this time! Ever the optimist, I`m going for a narrow United win with the winner, quite possibly, coming late on!
A return to Premier League action will see United take on Bolton Wanderers, at home, next.
Date:Saturday January 7 2012
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