Man Utd v Man City: Preview, Key Battles & Predicted Score
After weeks of waiting for it, the Manchester derby is almost upon us. In the red corner we have England’s most successful club Manchester United and in the blue corner we have the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ Manchester City who want to become the most successful English club.
Both sides have started the season unbeaten and already at this stage look a cut above the rest in the Premier League. Both look great going forward and have a solid dynamic core to their sides which most teams across Europe would give up billions to possess.
United this season have dropped four points (two draws, against Stoke City and Liverpool) whilst City have made their best start to a season since 1897, back when Queen Victoria was on the throne. To Roberto Mancini’s credit they have overcame the petulantly stupid behaviour of Carlos Tevez and as expected look a force this season.
So with all that in mind, this really is the biggest Manchester derby to date. City who are two points clear could go five points clear of United if they win this weekend, that’s something of course that Sir Alex Ferguson and everyone connected to the reigning Premier League champions will not want to happen, as even at this early stage of a season you wouldn’t want to be 5 points behind City giving them even more momentum to run on.
This is indeed the biggest game of the season for both teams. United of course took 4 points of City last season including that memorable 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the corresponding fixture last season which was won by Wayne Rooney’s remarkable over-head kick that Joe Hart in goal could only look on and admire as it sailed into the top right-hand corner of the net.
So what can we expect the key battles on the pitch to be?
Nemanja Vidic v Sergio Aguero
Both players will be coming into this game in completely different from. United’s captain Nemanja Vidic has only just made his return to the side after being injured and was sent off in Romania in the club’s 2-0 victory over Otelul Galati. Free-scoring Sergio Aguero comes into the game on the back of scoring City’s winner against Villarreal in the Champions League.
City’s record signing has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and has scored eight goals from seven league games. He’s quick, good on the ball, a lethal finisher inside and outside the area and is a player who will trouble defences left, right and centre this season. In short Vidic has to keep the Argentine sensation quiet and to do that will have to be at his best.
Darren Fletcher v Yaya Toure
Despite missing United’s midweek win over Galati, it would be a surprise if Sir Alex leaves out the tireless Scot this weekend. Darren Fletcher after overcoming a rough start to his career at Old Trafford has grown into a ‘big-game’ player and is slowly recovering the form that has won him many plaudits in the heart of midfield before he suffered from his illness bout last season.
Fletcher is a fighter but so is Yaya Toure. The big midfielder tasted victory over United before famously at centre-half in Barcelona’s 2009 Champions League final triumph back in Rome and scored City’s winner in the FA Cup semi-final last April. He has the power to boss the game and Fletcher will need to work like terrier to frustrate the big Ivorian.
Wayne Rooney v Vincent Kompany
There’s no doubt that Vincent Kompany is in the form of his life at the moment. After being spoken of as a huge talent in his early days at Anderlecht he has more than backed up those claims and developed into a world-class defender. The current captain of City and Belgium has started this year well too.
Wayne Rooney though has got the better of Kompany in the past and showed with his overhead winner last season that the big Belgian cannot afford to give him a second’s bit of space as he can produce a moment of magic anywhere within striking distance that can hurt teams. This mouth-watering battle between the two could well decide the game.
In terms of a prediction for the game, I believe that this is going to be a tough match. It could go either way and a moment of magic or a mistake will probably decide the game.
With United having the home advantage, I think that will be a decisive factor and can see United winning the game 2-1. It will be a tight nervy affair in which there will be a terrific atmosphere inside Old Trafford. Both teams may have to be patient in front of goal and if there is to a loser, that team and it’s fans are going to go home feeling very unhappy and frustrated.