On the back of their first defeat in 29 games, Manchester United will be looking to bounce back this weekend in order to maintain their 4 point lead at the top of the Premier League as they look to win their 12th title in the last 18 years.
They will be faced with one of their toughest fixtures of the season however, with the visit of City rivals and the new super buying powers of Manchester City.
A fixture that has always been eagerly awaited from the start of the season, by both the blue and red halves of Manchester, now takes on greater significance with the effect it has on the Premier League title, race following Abu Dhabi’s Businessman Sheik Monsour’s multi million pound investment in Man City.
With City sitting just five points behind leaders United, who also have a game in hand, Roberto Mancini’s men will be looking to again take points from their fiercest rivals as they did in the dour 0-0 draw at Eastlands back in November. Fans will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on the live score goalwire to see what happens this time, although it promises to be another drab affair.
Since last season’s dramatic 4-3 encounter at old Trafford which saw Michael Owen hitting a controversial 96th minute winner, Mancini has enforced a more Italian like approach to big games. The Italian was criticised for his team’s lack of ambition in games against United and more recently Arsenal at the Emirates, where they seemed to be content in playing out goalless draws on both occasions.
Although this approach doesn’t produce the most exciting of games, it is none the less still effective as the league table shows. That said, City’s latest football scores suggest they could be vulnerable.
With the return of former Man Utd favourite Carlos Tevez spearheading City’s attack, along with the new £27 million January signing Edin Dzeko, City certainly have the ability to spark fireworks in what will be an electric atmosphere at Old Trafford.
From a neutral point of view, we can only hope Mancini will give his team permission to set those fireworks off, as a City victory on Utd’s patch would certainly ‘blow’ the title race well and truly open.