Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday December 8 2012
The Etihad Stadium
The 164th Manchester Derby is upon us. The rags enter the city walls to face The Champions on what promises to be a pivotal day in the race for the title...
Sir Alex Ferguson:
'If we win it will be one of our best ever results. They are a really good, powerful team with massive players.'
'They can lose...they have three points more. We have three points less and we can't lose. But it is a derby, everything can happen, like last year. I think they are better than us in this moment but a derby is a derby. It is not the season because we have seven months after, but it is important.'
Sir Alex Ferguson:
'Twenty-one (penalties) in the last year, isn't it? If we were to get that number of penalty kicks there would be an inquiry in the House of Commons. There would be a protest.'
'I remember very well last year. Young, when he went swimming...I think it was four or five times in the last ten games and he didn't say anything...Fergie is clever like this.'
"I want our fans to make a hostile atmosphere for games like this because it can carry us over the line when we need it the most...Nobody should ever underestimate what it gives us as a team in a sporting way...When our fans are up for it, it makes a huge difference to us. First of all it puts a lot of pressure on the opposition and secondly it gives us a feeling of release in the knowledge we will be backed in everything we try to do and that is priceless.
"It gives us an extra yard when we are tiring or the extra power when you go in for a challenge."
LATE FITNESS TEST:
City's top scorer has worked tirelessly all season to date and is sure to crank up his efforts for another crack at the old enemy. Has been genuinely unlucky with the run of the ball of late but you get the feeling that he is going to really get hold of a through ball or two any minute now. City have never lost a Premier League game in which Tévez has scored. Fact. That's 31 wins and 4 draws. Few would bet against him having a big say this weekend.
LATE FITNESS TEST:
van Persie's flagship signing was of the type desperately craved at Old Trafford in recent years set against a backdrop of appalling debt. A throwback to the long gone days when united operated in the transfer market with impunity? His signing had to be made at all costs. The Flying Dutchman may well turn 30 at the end of this season but few rags will complain if he can stay injury free and continue to bail out his defenders. Master of the half chance, his presence poses a no margin for error situation to Vincent Kompany and his back line.
City are aiming to win 3 consecutive top flight games in a row against the rags for the first time since a 4 match run 42 years ago.
The rags have won 17 out of 30 Premier League Manchester derbies. City have won 7.
City are unbeaten in 21 league fixtures.
Stretford have conceded an opening goal 15 times in 23 games this season.
Taggart and Mancio have faced each other 10 times as managers. Ferguson has won 5 clashes and Mancini, 4.
Head To Head
League: 39 City Wins, 49 Draws, 58 united Wins
League Cup: 3 City Wins, 1 Draw, 1 united Win
Other Cup: 2 united Wins
FA Cup: 3 City Wins, 5 united Wins
Total: 45 City Wins, 50 Draws, 67 united Wins
This Could Be The Last Time:
Mo 30Apr 2012 Man City 1 - 0 Man Utd PL
Su 08Jan 2012 Man City 2 - 3 Man Utd FAC
Su 23Oct 2011 Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City PL
Su 07Aug 2011 Man Utd 3 - 2 Man City CS
Betting: City 5/4 Draw 5/2 Rags 21/10 Racing Post Soccerbase
TV Coverage: Sky Sports 1 HD
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
Manchester City vs Manchester United Promo (9/12/12)
M Atkinson from West Yorkshire -Last Season: Sa 10Sep 2011 Man City 3 - 0 Wigan, Sa 05Nov 2011 QPR 2 - 3 Man City, Su 27Nov 2011 Liverpool 1 - 1 Man City, Mo 16Jan 2012 Wigan 0 - 1 Man City, Su 08Apr 2012 Arsenal 1 - 0 Man City -This Season: Sa 27Oct 2012 Man City 1 - 0 Swansea - -2011/12: 40 Games, 146 Yellows, 11 Reds -2012/2013: 18 Games, 71 Yellows, 1 Red. N.B. In stark contrast to his prolific meetings with City, across the past 24 months Atkinson has refereed Manchester united games on only 3 occasions, all away fixtures. He last officiated at the swamp in November 2010 when the rags played Wigan.
Johnny On The Spot: Too close to call? I'm not so sure. If City's strikers, who have registered more shots on target than the rags in the league this season start converting their chances in this game then I suggest The Blues should secure a professional job done backed by the league's meanest defence...By contrast, last season's runners up have become a 'we'll score more than you' side and if their team can manage to generate the type of chaos we saw at Reading and beyond in this campaign then anything could happen and probably will. Though a draw would suit them, I can't see them being capable of parking the bus the way they did here last April. The big question is will Sir Alex Ferguson stick or twist? A third straight league defeat to City would serve to underline the Manchester power shift and batter any renewed belief built upon Robin van Persie's shoulders...To win this, the rags have to take charge of central midfield and render City's back four unprotected. Nigel De Jong's departure has been a bigger blow than Roberto Mancini would publically acknowledge. Time and again in Europe we saw The Blues concede the middle ground, fall back and be punished...rag nemesis YaYa Touré, having had a suspended week off is due a big match performance and this might well be it alongside a resurgent Gareth Barry...City have taken tremendous stick this week and in many areas justifiably so, but have also been goaded once more by another Taggart team talk. Referee Martin Atkinson has also been warned over City penalties by the Stretford Bin Man which gives all the more reason for The Blues to get this game won through their own open, yet well drilled play. The squad appreciate they have let the fans down in Europe and know they have something to prove at Fortress Etihad. That factor and home advantage should seal a City win. City 2 united 0
all times East Manchester
Su 09Dec 13h30 The rags, The Etihad, PL
Sa 15Dec 12h45 Newcastle, St James' Park, PL
Sa 22Dec 15h00 Reading, The Etihad, PL
We 26Dec 15h00 Sunderland, Stadium of Light, PL
Sa 29Dec 15h00 Norwich, Carrow Road, PL
Tu 01Jan 15h00 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Sa/Su 05/06 Jan TBC Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL
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Date:Saturday December 8 2012
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