Football

Gael Clichy can't wait for the Manchester derby

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Former Arsenal player Gael Clichy is acutely aware of the intensity and importance of the forthcoming heavyweight showdown with local rivals Manchester United.

Having signed for Manchester City in 2011 from Arsenal in a fee of around £7 million, Clichy has been involved in numerous fervent encounters with United down the years. 

Biggest derby

No stranger to 'derby days' since his time with Arsenal, who share a fierce rivalry with their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, the Frenchman believes the Manchester derby is the biggest in the country.

"There are a lot of derbies in England. I was used to Arsenal against Tottenham and people were telling me [City v United] was a big one," Clichy told his club's official website.

"There are a lot of derbies in England. I was used to Arsenal against Tottenham and people were telling me [City v United] was a big one"

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"In my experience I can tell you that the one in Manchester is bigger."

Special occasion

United, who are still acclimatising to life under new manager Louis van Gaal, produced a spirited display against Chelsea last weekend. And with the amount of quality that the club have been able to bring in this summer, it all adds up to what Clichy expects to be a 'special' game. 

"This year is going to be special because they have a new manager and it's a team that needs to get points to prove to people that they are still there," he said.

Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao among others, were the star names that United were able to sign this summer. And playing against great footballers is what every player dreams of, says Clichy.

"Playing against great players is what we want as a football player. It's going to be a really good game and hopefully we can get the three points," he added.

Favourite encounter

Before the takeover of City by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi United group in 2008, United ruthlessly dominated this fixture. But since that historic day, City's fortunes have changed, as the new club owners acquired the services of some of the best players in the world.

United were humiliated in front of their own fans at Old Trafford by City who inflicted a 6-1 defeat at their rivals in 2011. When asked which game against United was his favourite, clichy replied:

"Without a doubt [the best was the] 6-1 away at Old Trafford," he said.

"I think I've played 13 years now in England and until that game I had never won at Old Trafford."

"So it was a big win for me but also for the fans because I was aware of the support we have and the rivalry between the teams," he added.

"Going to Old Trafford and winning by a five-goal difference was a massive, massive result. It was [only] three points but that was a massive bonus for the fans."

City, with 17 points, are third on the Premier League table, six points behind table toppers Chelsea and four points above United who are languishing in 8th.

The hugely anticipated Manchester derby is scheduled to commence on Sunday 2 November at the Etihad Stadium in what will be the 168th meeting between the two sides. 

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Topics:
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Football

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