Manchester: Red or Blue (Whose City?)

Robin Van Persie After making it 3- 2 at The Etihad
Robin Van Persie After making it 3- 2 at The Etihad

……..Date: 08 April, 2013; Venue: Old Trafford; Time: 8 PM (GMT +1). ‘The Battle for Supremacy,’ Whose City?
After last season’s 6- 1 drubbing in front of the home fans, Manchester City went on to do the double; beating United 1- 0 at The Etihad Stadium on their way to winning The Barclays Premier League. It was the First time United had conceded six goals at Old Trafford since 1930, when Huddersfield won 6- 0 and Newcastle 7- 4 within four days of each other. Goals from Mario Balloteli, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, David Silva, and a consolatory goal from Darren Fletcher was not enough to stop the rampaging city.
Meanwhile Sir Alex Ferguson is backing Robin Van Persie to end his goal drought any time soon. “The goals will come. All strikers have little dry spells- you always hope it ends quickly. It’s just part of being a striker.” the Scot told reporters on Thursday. The 29- year- old Dutchman grabbed a late winner from a free kick last December, in a 3- 2 derby victory at The Etihad Stadium. He last scored for the Red Devils in a home game against Everton in February.
United squandered an eight point lead last season to have the Helicopter bringing the trophy to Old Trafford return it back to Etihad Stadium for presentation. An experience many United fans wouldn’t forget in a hurry. Recently, United assumed a fifteen point lead after City lost 2- 0 to Everton, and in the Pre- match conference against Newcastle, Roberto Mancini had already conceded defeat to the title.
The last time United had not won the Championship after being first after 26 games was in 97/ 98 season, when they finished second and saw Arsenal lift their first league title since 1991. With 30 games played, and with 8 games left, United are already cruising to their 20TH league title; that’s 2 more than Liverpool.
The derby at Old Trafford on Monday is crucial for so many reasons. It will be the clubs first genuine response to the 1- 6 drubbing of last season, which comes one week after United lost another opportunity to play City in the FA Cup to Chelsea. If United win on Monday, they will go 18 points clear at the summit of the Barclays Premier League as they seek to break Chelsea FC’s 95 points record. The highest point ever scored by a Premier League Champion. A draw may limit the chances of beating that record, with home games against Arsenal and Chelsea amongst the forthcoming fixtures.
The bragging right of Manchester has been tightly contested over the years. Manchester City was the eventual winner last season, and they did that in a grand style. While Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero are set for full match fitness, City are probably without injury worries. Nani, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverly are doubtful for this fixture, while Wayne Rooney and Raphael Da Silva are back in training. One player many United fans would want to see on Monday night would be Mario Balotelli, after his role in the 1- 6 drubbing. As faith will have it, the popular ‘Why Always Me’ fans favourite will be playing in the city of Fiorentine for AC Milan.



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