Wherever you go in the world, “derbies/rivalries” are what brings everyone out of the woodwork. Like the avid supporter of a club/team, being the most knowledgeable or best side at the time does not always ring true to form. Every dog has it’s day and even the fair weather fans can ride and right that bandwagon for one game.
Whether it be Arsenal/Spurs, Liverpool/Everton, or Barca/R Madrid as examples that come straight to mind or even on my side of the big pond currently, Seattle/Portland (MLS) NY Yankees/Red Sox, Celtics /Lakers, Clemson/Carolina (local college football interstate rivalry) or Duke/UNC (local college basketball), form usually goes out the window.
However, let’s get back to the only one that matters, when it’s not the Scousers, and concentrate on today’s big confrontation. Stating the obvious, the Blue side of Manchester are on the slide while our Reds are on the up. This should result in a United home win but the variables nearly always come into play. Will United go at them in the recent old fashioned attacking style with Fellaini being the perfect foil for Rooney to feed and receive and Mata along with the young charger Herrera to pick up the scraps. I hope so but then you have a City side with a handy backline that can be quite physical with the leadership of our “lanky poodle boys” fellow countryman in Kompany, if fit. Apologies, slipped into Jimmy Liddel mode for a second there.
We must also consider the threat of the City attack and when you have a player like Aguero in the opposition, it will be no rest for the wicked. City are capable of beating anyone quite handily on their day as we all know too well in recent seasons, but so are United.
In the middle of the park we must consider the strength of a player who would be in everyone’s first eleven that is the mobile Yaya Toure. Even the under-rated work horse, James Milner, has to be monitored, till he puts on a Three Lions jersey that is and looks like the player most think is a cart horse. Still, our midfield has received such a bashing since Scholsey finally hung up his boots but Carrick has come to the fore to prove what a classy player he has always been, We won’t mention England again. The power of Valencia on the right and Ashley Young’s reincarnation to cut inside and out on the left worrying the opposing defence has proved our rehabilitation from last season’s misery to be soon forgotten.
Finally, let’s go to between the sticks and although Joe Hart has nearly rediscovered himself, it’s the class of DeGea that wins hands down and we all know us limeys, haven’t had a decent keeper since dare I say the pony-tail one sheared his mane. Watch out Manuel Neuer, is all I can say. You would have to be Stevie Wonder not to see that our “youngster” is by far the best keeper in our league if not beyond and fortunate reigns on Espana.
So there we go, I’m sure I have neglected to leave out other players who could influence this 169th derby and not even mentioned Audrey Roberts or Beavis (does he butt heads with Giggsy?) at the helm of City and United respectfully. Gawd forbid that the biggest England disappointment in recent years besides, and beside, StampyG enters the fray to ruin it for us. If current off the bench play is anything to go by, Lampard won’t be in the picture.
In the backs of our Red minds is the fact that the Blues have gone five games against us with victory on the wrong side of Manchester. However, with the fired up words coming from my new United hero earlier this week as in Marouanne Fellaini. I believe our time has come to turn the tide. I will part with the words of Malcolm Gladwell (author), “The contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.”