This weekend’s game between the two Manchester clubs promises much and we all certainly hope it delivers. A City win would hand them a five point advantage over their bitter rivals, while a United win would propel them to top of the table in the process displacing their ‘’Noisy Neighbours’’.
So who’s going to win?
Certainly with home advantage and the potency of Messer’s Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez, United will be quite confident they have enough firepower to trouble the City rear-guard. However, if you look at City’s attacking options they are equally daunting in Dzeko, Balotelli and Aguero. Therefore with both striking options looking so attractive and prolific, it can be argued that there is no obvious advantage between the two teams in this department. The midfield, however, is a different story.
City’s midfield of Toure, Nasri and De Jong is by far and away one of the most robust and durable in the Premier League. Add the Spanish genius and guile of Silva and you are faced with an astonishingly powerful and talented middle. On the United side, things just aren’t as bright. Fletcher and Anderson, while being good and dependable players in their own right, are not in the same league of the City trio previously mentioned. Let’s not even waste our time talking about Carrick who has brought mediocrity to new levels this season! It is only out wide where United have an array of players adept at winning games almost singlehandedly. Nani is now regarded by many as one of the finest wingers in the game, while Young, Valencia and Park are no slouches either. Milner and Johnson for City are very good players, but are just not in the same class as a Nani or Young. So who holds the advantage in this department? After much debate I have to conclude somewhat reluctantly that City should boss this area. The only question is will they make their dominance count?
Now to the backline and we’ll start with the United defense. De Gea after a shaky beginning has evolved into a formidable player who looks to have all the attributes to be one of the game’s great goalkeepers. Joe Hart has been a revelation for club and country since he displaced Given from the City line-up last season. United’s backline though has a more durable look to it now since the return of the Serbian enforcer Vidic and this is bound to give his colleagues a tremendous amount of confidence. Whoever partners him, I suspect Ferdinand with Jones shifting to right back, will be more assured because of his presence. Kompany has been in fantastic form thus far. However, it is his partner Lescott who may be susceptible to United’s quick movement and guile around the goalmouth and hence may be the chink in City’s armour. The advantage in this area rests with United, but only after Sunday will we see if it counts.
So who’s going to win? If recent history has shown us anything it has shown us that these games particularly at Old Trafford tend to go the way of the home side. Only in 2008 have City managed to upset the sequence of United’s home dominance. However City is now a formidable and well managed outfit and who can say they won’t perform at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday.
A possible good omen for United is the reformation of the Stone Roses. This game is crucial and as the title of their song goes ‘’This is the one’’, it is the one for United and therefore they should come away with the three points on Sunday in what should be a terrific game of football.