Manchester, DividedBy: Rob | April 16th, 2010
Say what you like about the Manchester City methodology in climbing up the table and putting themselves among the big boys again, but one thing that has come of it, is that is had made the Manchester Derby an interesting proposition again.
For quite awhile, United have been able to look upon City as a struggling side who happen to come from the same city to some extent, and concentrate on the rivalry with the more successful Liverpool.
Fergie might have dismissed City as “noisy neighbours” earlier in the season, but their first league encounter was one of the best games of the season, and the two-legged Carling Cup Semi-Final was probably the best game in that tournament, even before you get to the now infamous Tevez-Neville “Socksucker” debacle.
So I’m rather excited about the weekend’s game.
It probably isn’t going to be defining in the title race (certainly not as much as City would have hoped), as after Man United’s draw with Blackburn at the weekend seems to have handed the title to Chelsea.
But City still need to win in the race for fourth, and the last thing United will want is for their Noisy Neighbours to have a chance to make some more noise of the summer with a Champions League spot.
United really could do without City making that fourth Champions League spot. City found out over the summer that offering players all the money in the world is one thing – but the cream of the cop aren’t interested without Champions League football.
If City were to be in the Top Four theoretically, City would be a match for United in terms of buying players – and financially in the much stronger position.
United obviously will also want to prove this isn’t the End of the Era that some are writing about. City will want to prove that on a given day they can beat Man United, something they’ve come close to doing all season (I’m counting the Carling Cup over both legs there).
Its funny though, usually in this stage of the season it would be City who are trying to hinder United, and yet this season it is sort of the other way around.
Rooney is expected to return though, and that gives United a massive lift in the run in. The title obviously isn’t over just yet. I think it should be a fantastic game, and hopefully a few fireworks.