Everything To Lose In The Manchester Derby

Manchester United vs Manchester City
English Premier League
Old Trafford
Saturday, 12th February 2011
12:45 GMT

Ever since Manchester City began their quest for Premier League domination, Manchester United have pointedly ignored their neighbours. On Saturday, Fergie will make sure his charges take City as seriously as Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal – with 13 games to go in the season and a slender 5 point lead, United know they have no margins for error in the 143rd Manchester derby.

In the build up to their first meeting of this season back in November, with United struggling with injuries, it seemed as if the time was right for City to overtake United. They failed miserably, shackled as much by their manager’s defensive tactics as by United’s uncanny ability to control games in the Premier League despite playing below their standards.

Manchester United suffered their first defeat in the Premier League last week to bottom-of-the-table Wolves, but that did not prove too costly with Arsenal’s calamitous second-half collapse saw them gain only one point, and Chelsea losing at home to Liverpool. While rivals will be hoping that the defeat is the first of several for United, in some ways it could have a positive impact on the players if it can jolt them out of second gear and get them to play better for the next 4 months.

Manchester City will know that this is as good a chance as they will get to make a realistic claim for the title this season. They’ve played a game more than United and are 5 points behind, but United also have two games to play against Chelsea, not to mention a trip to the Emirates to play Arsenal (4 points behind United). A win here for City, and suddenly United have no cushion, no room for mistakes, and tough series of away games to come.

A win may still not get City the title, but it could easily put United’s title aspirations in the bender (and strengthen City’s claim to a Champions League spot). You can rest assured that whether City get 1 point or 3, they will have a lot to celebrate if they can stop United, as will Arsenal and Chelsea.

Last Five Premier League Meetings:

11/11/10, Man City 0-0 Man Utd, City of Manchester
17/04/10, Man City 0-1 Man Utd, City of Manchester
20/09/09, Man Utd 4-3 Man City, Old Trafford
10/05/09, Man Utd 2-0 Man City, Old Trafford
30/11/08, Man City 0-1 Man Utd, City of Manchester

This United team refuses to die – after 5 years of being pronounced dead at the start of the season, they have risen to claim the title thrice, lose it narrowly once, and top the table with a 4-point lead this season. You can hate them, you can find faults with them, but form and history favors United.

Related Article:
EPL: The Intriguing Battle Of Manchester

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