News24

City, United set for epic derby

2012-04-23 21:02

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."

AP

Comments
  • James - 2012-04-24 08:05

    Manchester United for life baby :D

      Bob - 2012-04-24 10:03

      I'm afraid your babies will be no match for the men from City, come on City, I can't stand the thought of Utd securing title number 20, it would be unthinkable not to mention the crap i have to listen to from my Manc mates, I don't worry about the local wannabee supporters.

      Bob - 2012-04-24 10:03

      I'm afraid your babies will be no match for the men from City, come on City, I can't stand the thought of Utd securing title number 20, it would be unthinkable not to mention the crap i have to listen to from my Manc mates, I don't worry about the local wannabee supporters.

  • Mike - 2012-04-24 10:34

    Bob...that dis was the worst thing I have ever heard...if City play as weak as your insults are then I see a 8 - 0 whiplash coming for city... We are the mighty reds, the mighty reds, the mighty reds,the mighty reds, we are the mighty reds UNITED!!!!! UNITED!!!! UNITED!!!!....oh and btw how does it feel to have all that money and all that talent and still be second best...ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNEEEEEYYYYYYY

      Bob - 2012-04-24 12:58

      Calm down Mike, I'm not a City supporter I just hate Utd, as for mighty reds ? there is only one mighty reds and thats my team from Liverpool, the greatest football club in the WORLD, we might not be the best side at the moment but we will always be the greatest football club YNWA

      Bob - 2012-04-24 12:58

      Calm down Mike, I'm not a City supporter I just hate Utd, as for mighty reds ? there is only one mighty reds and thats my team from Liverpool, the greatest football club in the WORLD, we might not be the best side at the moment but we will always be the greatest football club YNWA

      Vernon - 2012-04-24 14:19

      fool your side is called the red devils

      Sharmilen Naidoo - 2012-04-24 19:11

      Mike, do we really care what the other twats think or say? When their teams challenge Utd then they should spew out manure until then they can watch as we claim number 20. THERE IS NOTHING,ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT!! And we don't care if they are Pommies or not. Football is a universal game and we support who we want. i UNITED!!!UNITED!!!UNITED!!!!

  • jacques.malan - 2012-04-26 12:21

    Imagine the look on their faces when we (ManU) are crowned champions on ManC's ground !

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