Preview: Derby Day

A Dangerous Man - Alex Livesey

With both teams playing for pride rather than the title, who will win?

This match is guaranteed to be a weird one. No doubt about it. Here are the top reasons this match will be odd.

1. Manchester United haven't scored a goal in 249 minutes. They lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup, and won via an own goal against Sunderland. The last goal that they scored was a Wayne Rooney goal against Reading. Before that, United threw away a 2 goal lead playing at Old Trafford, and lost 2-1 at home vs Real Madrid. Suffice it to say, United are winning, but are not in great form. Wrapping up the title so early seems to have caused them to lose some focus, and they are not playing with a killer edge.

2. Robin van Persie hasn't scored a goal since February 10th. That's 9 games without a goal. Even though he's had a great season, RVP's been pretty off for the last few months. You know he's itching to score against City today. If he's on, it's going to be a long day.

3. Wayne Rooney keeps reminding people that he's probably not going anywhere. For some reason, every few weeks, it starts up again about where Rooney is going to go. Even though the stories about PSG and Real Madrid keep popping up, he just keeps scoring important goals. 12 league goals in 17 league starts. Pretty good stuff. Rooney wants to keep stealing the show, meaning that he'll be a threat again today.

4. Samir Nasri might get punched in the face. He'll probably duck, cause he doesn't like the threat of getting hit in the face. (YOU'RE IN THE WALL NASRI !!!! YOU'RE GOING TO GET HIT!!!). This time it might be by Bobby, if Sami has another off day. I think that at this point, if Mancini stays, Nasri goes. He might leave even if Mancini goes. Nasri had a good match last week, and needs to keep playing at a high level to salvage his reputation. I think he plays today, although I wouldn't be surprised to see him fail, and Milner get another shot at the wing at halftime.

5. Will we score? Our attacking play this season has been limp at best. Even when we score 4 in a match, as we did against Newcastle last week, only one of them came from a striker, Carlos Tevez. The others came from David Silva, Vincent Kompany, and an own-goal caused by Yaya Toure. The last time a striker other than Tevez scored a league goal was back on Feb 9th.

6. Tevez. Dude loves to score against United. He's been our best striker over the past few months, looking dangerous when he gets the ball. Tevez has shown that he is still incredibly dangerous. It will be interesting to see whether or not he gets an extension on his contract, but he can influence how lucrative that is through his play over the next few weeks. Today's match could add to his legacy at Manchester City.

7. Bobby. The man is under an incredible amount of pressure. Amazing thing is, none of it is really caused by the supporters. I haven't heard anything but support and love from City fans. The man cleaned up the mess that Mark Hughes left behind him, and won the FA Cup. Oh yeah, and he also won the first title in 4 decades.

The whole "drama" behind not making progress in the Champion's League is silly. You know who had immediate success in Europe? Brian Clough. That's about it. Fergie took 10 years to win the Champion's League. To expect immediate impact in Europe is silly. It takes consistent progress in the league and involvement in Europe to get a good seeding (so you avoid Real Madrid, Dortmund, and Ajax in your group).

Bobby definitely has his faults. His idea of man management is a little rougher than most. No one would accuse him of coddling players. At the same time, he predicted what would happen if we didn't sign some very good players in the summer. Why are people getting mad at him for doing exactly what he said would happen?

Would I rather have had us win the title this season? Of course! Watching United fans celebrate un-passionately is horrible. It would be akin to your cousin marrying the love of your life, and then never making her happy. United fans don't even get joy out of winning the Premier League any more. They just don't like to look bad when they don't win it.

We've made tremendous progress the last few seasons. Let's not get too knee-jerky with how we expect the team to perform. After all, that's what makes United fans so F*&%-ing irritating.

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