The Manchester Derby is the highlight of the Premier League fixtures today, it has the recipe to be an absolute classic, but like many big matches they often fail to deliver. Last weekend the Premier League served up a treat, with goals flying in everywhere and never seen before comebacks. But Chelsea v Liverpool was by far the most boring game of the weekend, which tells you that these high pressure games seldom deliver.
I hope this derby game will be different, only 6 points separate United and City (Utd have a game in hand). Should City go to Old Trafford and take all 3 points the title race will be well and truly open. United are fresh off their first defeat of the season, at basement club Wolves, so will be looking for a reaction, but will also be vulnerable after their loss at Wolves. City on the other hand just smashed WBA 3-0 and have Manchesters favourite son Carlos Tevez in sensational form.
Mancini has recognized its a massive opportunity for his City side “I like to play this game. I like to play at Old Trafford because it is better to win there than at home”. City need to go out and attack United, its no good for them to sit back and play 3 defensive midfielders, the problem for Mancini and City is the injury to Adam Johnson. So often has Johnson been the provider, and the player who will unlock defences.
Looking back at City’s previous games against the top sides, and you will see a defensive mentality, a “lets not get beat” mind-set. A 0-0 at the Emirates, a 0-0 at home to United (probably the most insipid match of the season), 0-0 at Spurs, and 1-0 win at home to Chelsea. All good results, but with the players City have at their disposal they should be attacking teams and going for the win, this lack of ambition has cost City points this season, im sure of that.
Today, is a day which could start the shift in power in Manchester, Mancini has to let the shackles off this City team and let them play attacking football. A convincing win for City would be massive for the blue half of Manchester, but another 0-0 and defensive performance will pose more questions than answers.