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United preview

For the most part, Sunday's derby is something that has been largely overshadowed in the media because of the 50th anniversary of Munich, and it is a game which not many are expecting us to take too much from.

In addition to the loss of Elano through suspension following another rash tackle against Arsenal last week, Corluka will be a big loss at the back against a United side who do look to get down the flanks. It is a blow that Michael Johnson is still out as it leaves a problem on the attacking front, and either Stephen Ireland or Geovanni are likely to step in, and I expect a 4-5-1 formation with Benjani starting with Vassell out on the right.

Two key players for me in this for us are Hamman and Petrov. From an attacking perspective Petrov needs to have a huge day in the absence of Elano and much of our play will go through him, and in likelihood start with Hamman who will be responsible for breaking up United's play and kick-starting our attack.

Whilst Rooney is out for United, they still are side with huge talent and are on a superb run at home and will be looking to regain top spot in the title race. It is clear they will come out hard at us, and it is imperative we avoid the mistakes which cost us against Arsenal last weekend. It is also vital that we do not 'park the bus' as Sven referred to, and there will be space for us to exploit (despite their impressive defensive record) but it is vital we take any chances that come our way as despite our record at Old Trafford, there have been occasions where we have chances and not quite taken them.

It is going to be extremely difficult to come away with anything from this game, and perhaps sentiment and blue-tinted glasses are prompting this a touch, but maybe the weight of the occasion could get to the United team (as I believe happened against Bolton on the last big anniversary), and I'm going to tip us to come away with a 1-1 draw.

As for the minutes silence, it isn't something I'm going to go into too much depth over given the amount that has already been put out there so far (and is something I have touched on before) in the lead up both to the game and anniversary itself, and in some way the media have whipped the whole issue up into a frenzy where City fans have virtually been put on trial.

I can't help thinking that without the overwhelming media focus on the minute's silence, it would have not be such an issue where the worlds eyes are ready to condemn and the club are in a state of flux over what may or may not happen.

For me, the issue of Munich is one that passes by me really, given the event itself was something that occurred long before I was born, and not only that, but the aftermath of the event is not something that I experienced or have any emotional ties to. Obviously I am not a United fan or have any United connections, so there is not that history that I have grown up with either - but, equally I'm not oblivious to the tragedy that occurred and I can appreciate for many people it is something that is still prevalent and meaningful to this day.

The issue of the minutes silence though is something that I see as being very simple. The fact that there is even a discussion on whether to have a minutes applause instead is sad in itself, as applause is not something that should be considered, but equally, I do think it is sad that there is an expectation almost that City fans cannot be trusted and that the silence will be not be observed.

I'm sure given the coverage this particular issue has had means that there will be members of the media sharpening their knives in anticipation of condemning all City fans en masse, and as I mentioned I do think the club are scared stiff of anything happening, introducing a number of measures to try and prevent it (including I think playing on the memory of Frank Swift which I disagree with), and there was another 'plea' from Sven yesterday over this.

For what it's worth, I do expect the silence to be observed and all I would say regarding the minutes silence is to remember what it is for - not to celebrate all that is Manchester United, or show support for City, but simply to observe the memory of a number of people who died in a tragic accident.

Everything else around that is a different issue entirely and there has been far too much conjecture and hyperbole over the issue of the minutes silence already.

Simply observe it and then let's get on with the game.