With the Manchester derby looming, here are some things to expect on Sunday.
Sunday’s derby will be the 166th competitive fixture between these fierce rivals. Manchester United have won 69, City 46 and the other 50 games have been drawn.
Traditionally, this fixture has always served meaty goal-fests, with City beating their neighbours 6-1 twice and United registering the biggest margin of defeat way back in 1941, handing City a 7-1 drubbing.
In recent times, this trend has been maintained. United’s last gasp 4-3 win in the 2009/2010 season at Old Trafford quickly comes to mind. However, the most memorable recent derby result in terms of sheer shock value has to be City’s 6-1 demolition job at Old Trafford on October 23rd, 2011.
There have subsequently been repetitive 3-2 results as well as a 2-1 in the last fixture of last season. Numbers don’t lie.
Sir Alex may be gone but the absence of his iconic presence should not be cause to worry for the average neutral.
There is just too much at stake in these games for them to be strewn of drama just because a major protagonist of the past 26 years is no longer in charge of the team in the red corner.
There have been sending offs, controversy, late goals ( Michael Owen’s 96th minute winner and Robin van Persie’s last gasp free-kick immediately come to mind).
Expect the trend to continue.
3. Wayne Rooney to score
I mean, he always does. The United hit man has struck 10 times against the Citizens and only needs one more goal to be the all-time leading scorer in this fixture for both sides.
Rooney struck twice at the Etihad last season and if his recent red-hot form is anything to go by, put your money on the double-centurion to once again bring the pain to City.
4. Tackles, tackles and more tackles
Historically, this has always been a fiercely contested fixture but City’s recent rise to prominence after their take-over has added more fuel to the fire.
United, who previously taunted their neighbours for being nothing more than additions to the log now see them as genuine title contenders and challengers to the Manchester throne.
Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry are gone but the almost certain presence of United’s new boy, Marouane Fellaini, who averaged more tackles than any other player who will be on the pitch with him last season, is sure to ensure the turf gets a fair bit of sweaty, tumbling body
5. Too close to call
Both sides changed manager, both sides have brought reinforcements (although United only have one new face), both have seven points and both made winning starts in their respective European assignments on Tuesday.
It does not get more cut-throat than that. It’s just too close to call but one thing is for sure….we are in for a football fiesta on Sunday. Buckle up!
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