English Premiership

City, United set for epic derby

2012-04-23 21:02
Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini (File)

Manchester - The stakes have never been so high for a Manchester derby.

Sure, Manchester United were once relegated after losing 1-0 at home to City but results elsewhere on that day in May 1974 meant the Red Devils would have gone down even without a back-heeled goal from former United striker Denis Law.

This time around, the northwest neighbours' business is being conducted at the right end of the table.

United were in control of their own destiny until Sunday's 4-4 draw against Everton tipped the balance toward City, who can now win a first championship since 1968 if they win their three remaining games.

"We've given City the initiative; there's no question about that," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "It makes the game at the Etihad Stadium a really important game now. It makes it the title decider, really."

There is still a week and almost an entire round of Premier League action remaining before the northwest neighboors go head-to-head at City's Etihad Stadium but the game is already dominating the sports pages in the British press.

Even with two more matches for each team after next week, the encounter is more important than any of the 44 Manchester derbies Ferguson has previously been involved in.

"Definitely," Ferguson said.

United looked to have a record 20th title in the bag after overhauling City but they dropped five of the last nine available points and momentum now seems to be with City, who already mauled United 6-1 at Old Trafford this season for the worst defeat of Ferguson's 26 years in charge.

Everton's four goals mean United have conceded more goals at home than in any league season since 1978-79, leaving Ferguson to emphasise spirit rather than stats.

"We make it hard for ourselves but we have to go there knowing we're capable of getting a result," Ferguson said. "We need to get a result now at the Etihad, there's no question about that. There's no reason why we can't do that."

The one thing in United's favoor is the experience of the title winners in their ranks.

"It's a huge game," Nani said. "It will be a difficult game, but if you want to win the league you cannot think about the atmosphere or the opponents, we must just think about the way we play and try to win the game."

"We have to keep believing in our qualities because we still have a great opportunity to win the title."

Ferguson has been trying to suggest the pressure is on City because of their players' relative inexperience and City manager Roberto Mancini has seemed ready to embrace that diminished status despite his team's greater financial muscle and depth of squad.

Mancini pointed out that there are still two more games for each side to clinch or throw away the title.

Defending champions United host Swansea and finish at Sunderland, while City are at fourth-place Newcastle before hosting Queens Park Rangers on the last day of the season.

"We have another chance but they have a bigger chance than us at this moment," Mancini said. "After the derby, the games United have left are not as difficult as the ones we have to play."

Read more on:    alex ferguson  |  roberto mancini
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
30 September 2016
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 21:00
01 October 2016
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 13:30
West Ham United v Middlesbrough, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion, Stadium of Light 16:00
Hull City v Chelsea, The KC Stadium 16:00
Watford v Bournemouth, Vicarage Road 16:00
02 October 2016
Manchester United v Stoke City, Old Trafford 13:00
Leicester City v Southampton, King Power Stadium 15:15
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, White Hart Lane 15:15
Burnley v Arsenal, Turf Moor 17:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.