So, it comes down to this. Every game is a cup final but this one feels like so much more. This game is the one I dread from the moment the fixture list is announced – Manchester United at Old Trafford. I know Liverpool fans have tested our patience this year but every time the derby comes back around it reminds me why I can’t stand them.
On paper this should be a formality. I write this coming after Manchester United have just been demolished at Goodison Park 4-0 (Trust me lads, we know how that feels). After the unbelievable high of Paris and the romance of former player Olé Gunnar Solskjaer getting the job permanently, they have come back down to earth with a bang. Since he’s got the job United have lost six games out of the last eight games in all competitions, going out of the FA Cup, Champions League and falling behind in the race for the top 4. And even with the two victories against West Ham and Watford, the Norwegian admitted they were ‘lucky’ and the opposition ‘played better’.
But I’m sure every single Manchester City fan knows that when it’s the Manchester derby, form goes out of the window. Our 1-0 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur secured our 10th victory on the bounce, and despite Champions League heartbreak, we’re on flying form.
In the previous meeting between the sides, a Jose Mourinho side in total collapse were beaten 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium. David Silva got us off to a flying start after a brilliant cutback from Bernardo. Then Sergio Agüero and his near post love-in connected again as his rifled past De Gea just after the break. With City needing to kill the game off when Ederson brought down Lukaku in the penalty area before Martial slotted it away from the spot, City truly responded in classy style. After a period of play consisting of 44 passes, Ilkay Gündogan ghosted into the box before taking down a pinpoint Bernardo Silva cross and sealing a crucial three points for City.
City will be demoralised, however, by the injury picked up by Kevin De Bruyne against Spurs at the weekend which Guardiola confirmed that he’ll be out for ‘several weeks’ and that it is ‘muscular’. It’s been a horror season for De Bruyne with trouble in both knees and several muscle injuries which have seen him miss most of the season. Benjamin Mendy was also not spotted in training so if he is fit will likely be unknown until Guardiola’s press conference.
United have been leaking lots of goals recently and City’s frontline who cannot stop scoring will need to take advantage of that. Sergio Agüero loves a derby day goal and will want to continue his great record against them.
We go to Old Trafford knowing that a win puts us back to top spot with level games played. So simply put, a win is the only thing we can afford to go there and get. Anything less and its back into Liverpool’s hands.
I’m confident that if we win on Wednesday the character and leaders in this team will win the last three games. The biggest game of the season is about to unfold, AND ITS LIVE!
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