In the build-up to Tuesday’s Manchester derby, which will be televised live on US television at 3pm ET on NBCSN, here are 5 misconceptions about the match between Manchester United and Manchester City:
1. Manchester United are more motivated than Manchester City
The Red Devils have plenty of motivation after being humiliated in this season’s earlier meeting at Eastlands. However, it seems every time in recent years these two sides have played, the Blues have brought something extra, perhaps due to years of being the second side in one of England’s largest cities.
David Moyes has yet to prove he can get his club truly motivated for a big domestic clash. This is his final chance this season to prove he can do so. Manchester City will be up for the challenge. The question to ponder is if United will be.
2. Manchester City are favored
Manchester United have been revived in the last week with the amazing come from behind victory over Olympiakos in Europe as well as a solid performance at Upton Park against a West Ham side that has recently been in form. Manchester City’s recent performances have largely been sluggish by comparison to the high standard the club established over the Christmas period. This match is a toss of the coin.
3. Manchester United are weaker without RVP
On the contrary, the Red Devils are in this author’s opinion a stronger outfit with Wayne Rooney playing up top, Danny Welbeck getting a run out and Juan Mata playing in his natural creative role behind the striker(s). Rooney is still, with the exception of Luis Suarez, the most lethal attacking player in the English game when he is featured in the correct role. He has also made a habit of killing Manchester City in derby matches, be it on the counter-attack or with a bicycle kick. Mata getting more touches means more creativity in the Red Devils attack, and the possible inclusion of Shinji Kagawa gives Moyes side an added dimension.
4. Manchester City are title favorites
Matches in hand are simply that, not an indication that the team will win those matches in hand. Right now, Liverpool are playing the best football in England while Chelsea have the easiest run in. That leaves Manchester City to negotiate three extra fixtures and a difficult run in.
This having been said, if the Blues claim all six points on offer this week (at Manchester United and at Arsenal), they will have claimed the favorites mantle for themselves.
5. Manchester City need Sergio Aguero
The Blues attack has done just fine this season without the oft-injured Aguero. In fact, City’s best run of the season came with Aguero out of the lineup over the festive period. In the last two matches with the Argentine striker injured, Manuel Pellegrini has added a fifth midfielder to his setup and in both games that midfielder (Javi Garcia vs Hull, James Milner vs Fulham) has made a big difference.
Editor’s note: Find out how to get Kartik Krishnaiyer’s new book entitled ‘Blue With Envy: My American Journey With Manchester City’ today.