Man Utd v MAN CITY – Preview of THE DERBY! Teamnews and Prediction

10 Feb

The time has arrived. The moment of truth. The biggest game of the season. The most important derby in recent times. Call it what you will, but nobody could argue that this fixture doesn’t mean a great deal to the players, staff and fans of both sides. In terms of league importance, this match is right up there. First against third: if United win, it would set them on course for the Premier League title. A win for the blue side and the race would be wide open.

A derby taking place anywhere in the world is full of passion and emotion: nerves, tension, anticipation, dread, fear, excitement and hope are all bubbling up inside, desperate to escape. And for whatever reason, whether it’s due to all the heartbreak last season or just a sense that our time is coming, all those emotions seem heightened this time around. Thrice last year we were the subject of last minute devastation, the Paul Scholes header at Eastlands possibly the most gut-wrenching of the lot, but this time around, we played out a soporific, controverse-free 0-0.

Whether this game matches the exhilaration of the Carling Cup ties or the listlessness of the most recent draw, much will depend on the tactics deployed by Roberto Mancini. In a sense, City have nothing to lose. We are currently unlikely to win the Premier League title, whereas it is United’s to lose, and coming off the back of their first defeat of the season, their erstwhile confidence may have dissipated.

With regards to team selection, I feel we will see the same formation as we played during the home win against West Brom, namely a 4-4-1-1 with David Silva floating gracefully behind Carlos Tévez. Midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong will return to the side in place of either James Milner or Yaya Touré, and whilst the England man would give us more width and workrate, Mancini is likely to plump for the Ivorian, whose recent performance have been nothing short of dire. In defence, much hinges on the fitness of Micah Richards. If the fullback is deemed ready to play, then he will slot in at right-back with Jérome Boateng dropping to the bench, where he may be joined by the returning Mario Balotelli.

Here is the side Mancini may select (I know it’s an odd formation, but I’ve tried to mirror where the players will line-up):


Richards                 K. Touré                   Kompany                   Zabaleta

                            de Jong                         Barry
                                     Y. Touré                                                        Kolarov



Subs: Given, Boateng, Lescott, Milner, Vieira, Balotelli, Džeko (a bench with top-quality options to bring on)

Key Battles:

Nani v Pablo Zabaleta

I expect Zabaleta to continue at left-back with Kolarov just in front, giving us extra solidity down the left. Nani, along with Dimitar Berbatov and Nemanja Vidic, has been United’s player of the season so far, but thanks to Zabaleta’s brilliant performance at CoMS, the Portuguese winger wasn’t given a sniff. We need Pablo to produce another display like that. In addition, Nani likes to cut in from the left onto his right foot, and that should play into Zabaleta’s strengths.

Chris Smalling v Carlos Tévez

With Rio Ferdinand sidelined through injury, Tévez will have a fantastic opportunity to test the ability of Smalling, who just two years ago was playing for Maidstone. Vidic has been superb this season, but Tévez’s experience should tell him to target the England youngster. If he does and is on form, we may have a chance.

Fact (sponsored by Rafael Bénitez): Man United haven’t conceded a first half goal at Old Trafford since April 2010.

Referee: Andre Marriner – Howard Webb officiated us in the Premier League only three games ago, so Marriner, regarded as second best, is given the unenviable job of refereeing this game. I rate him quite highly and he was generally very impressive in the Liverpool v Chelsea game. I’ve used the “let’s hope he’s not at sea” pun before, so let’s hope he doesn’t go fishing for controversy in this game! (I’ll grab my coat)

Prediction: Man United  1 – 1 MAN CITY I honestly don’t know what to predict. I’ve not feeling overly confident but still remain hopeful that we will return with at least a point. I don’t think it will be a classic and if City score first, it will get rather tense. I’m going for a fairly dour 1-1, with goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez and Dimitar Berbatov.


23 Responses to “Man Utd v MAN CITY – Preview of THE DERBY! Teamnews and Prediction”

  1. CanTheyScore 10/02/2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Nice piece. Interesting to see Zabaleta at LB, I’d fancy Nani against him. Interesting to see you think Marriner is the second best ref in the Prem, not too sure I agree, suppose he generally avoids controversy. Gutted that I’m reffing a Semi Final in M/Cr DURING the derby…Didn’t actually think they would coincide when I confirmed the fixture a month ago! & for all the lovely city fans… 😉

    • View From A Blue 10/02/2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Your video is blocked by the FA. Zabaleta was brilliant against Nani in the return game, and we need a similar performance again. I think Marriner is regarded as the 2nd best ref. Him and Atkinson are probably joint after Webb.

      • CanTheyScore 10/02/2011 at 6:22 pm #

        Not on my YouTube channel it aint is it? Looking at your predicted line up I just dont understand how you manage with such a narrow team, its seriously impressive, considering Richards & Kompany are primarily CB’s.

        • CanTheyScore 10/02/2011 at 6:24 pm #

          Yeah it is…Hmmm… Damn Damn Premier League…I’ll get it up… Give me a minute (or hour) haha

  2. Plattsy 10/02/2011 at 6:19 pm #

    I really hope it’s better than the last derby – somehow I don’t think it will be. I foresee another 0-0.
    Nice article, by the way!

  3. Matt 10/02/2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I can’t see City scoring first especially if they use the same tactics as in the 0-0. United may be a bit weak at the back with Smalling who I think may struggle to cope with Tevez but I’m predicting 1-0 to United with Rooney with the winner in front of the Stretford End!

  4. Danny Salford Red 10/02/2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Good article with no Snidey stuff. Hate to say it but i agree with your prediction as well.

  5. Bristol Browny 10/02/2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Good article – not to sure about the fishing pun – I would avoid that in future. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see City play 4-5-1 and try and hit United on the counter. Back 4 like you say, 3 in front of De Jong, Touré Yaya and Barry with Milner and Silva on the wings and Tévez up top on his own. Mancini has used this tactic before against the ‘bigger sides’, and I think he will plump for this.
    Also, interesting you think Chris Smalling is a certain to start. I can see Fergie playing John O’Shea with Vidic. I know he has just come back from injury but Fergie obviously thinks highly of him, and his run out last week may have been a pre-cursor for this game. I think he is more solid than Smalling, who in my opinion isn’t ready for a game like this yet.
    I don’t think it will be a game laden with goals. I can see it being scrappy, but I think there will be a result either way – I cant see it being a draw. Don’t ask me who though!!

  6. Matt 10/02/2011 at 7:11 pm #

    I disagree with what you said about Nani being one of United’s best players this season. Yes he has scored a couple of good goals but I think in general most United fans are embarassed to be associated with such a pathetic, lazy, diving, arrogant, cheating, moaning player. I think Nani has the potential to be a great player but his attitude and decision making are terrible and he seems to score about 1 out of 20 shots and people only remember the goal that he scored.

    • jonathan stimmler 10/02/2011 at 7:24 pm #

      matt you would say that … he may not play according to you exacting styles of team work and shooting efficiency but he has undoubtedly contributed as much as any other player to united’s cause this season
      perhaps one of the reasons that he cuts in and shoots is because there is often no one to pass to, had united players in general been more decisive and not searched arsenal style for the perfect goal then perhaps united would have come away with some points on saturday

      • Matt 10/02/2011 at 7:32 pm #

        I don’t think United played ‘Arsenal style’ on Saturday I just thought Wolves played better than United as simple as that. Let’s stick to the theme of this article and hope for a great Mancunian derby on Saturday, I can’t wait!

  7. ALEKSANDER KOLAROV IS MY HERO!!! 10/02/2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Why wont Evans play CB for United?

    Your formation is all over the show Steven 😉

    Love the article though and despite knowing the fishing pun was coming I still laughed!

    • CanTheyScore 11/02/2011 at 12:48 am #

      Evans wont play because of his recent lack of form and apparent lack of fitness (getting cramp in last two games). He was so good after he came back from the loan spell @ Sunderland, Sir Bobby said he was future captain, past six months he has just looked a shadow of his former self 😦

  8. Bristol Browny 11/02/2011 at 10:50 am #

    Evans is out anyway. Nani is poor, average at best. I would rather see Giggs start instead of him, Flethcer right mid, Scholes and Carrick in the middle. Scholes has to play in my book – the only United player this year who has been true class. Alright Berbatov has been good but he is so hit and miss; Scholes offers so much quality – I would argue no other premier league centre mid is as good as an on form Paul Scholes.

  9. Citysince77 11/02/2011 at 8:57 pm #

    I believe City are going to shock a few people tomorrow.
    Silva’s settled and fit again, Kompany is the best central defender in the country, and Carlos Tevez is one of the best strikers in the world. United, on the other hand, have a team that to me looks like it is going stale. This season’s last minute equalisers and winners have got them out of Jail in a different way than in years gone by. Do not get me wrong, they will be hard to beat tomorrow and City’s defence will have to be at the top of their game. But I really see us getting a goal midway through the 1st half, just after weathering the inevitable early storm. We’ll notch another one towards the end as they chase the game and fergie will know that his noisy neighbours have just got themselves a Bang & Olufsen. 2-0 to the Blues!!!!!!!!!

    • Srebrenko H alijagic 11/02/2011 at 10:27 pm #

      Edin Dzeko will shine toomorow!!!

  10. Rafael 11/02/2011 at 11:00 pm #

    okay? I’m from Brazil and fanatical supporter of Manchester City, tomorrow I’ll be watching the league derby on TV and cheering a lot! congratulations to you blog, always read

    I would like to know another site that post news of Manchester City, as soon at the official site and think it’s great too!

    Thank you and long live the citzens!

    Rafael. MG – Brazil

    • Bobby 12/02/2011 at 7:58 am #

      Are you sure you’re not that dreadful fullback that plays for the rags? 😉 Try, its a good forum site to talk to other City fans and people usually post on the most recent topics.

  11. cityfan 12/02/2011 at 7:43 am #

    hey guys. i live abroad and this is my first away game. i am allowed to wear city’s colours? meaning if i am allowed to wear scarfs and hats. please reply asap

    • Citysince77 12/02/2011 at 9:50 am #

      Of course! Just stick with the City fans as you leave the ground. Especially if we win.

  12. avenell 14/02/2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi. I wondered if you can help me.
    I have been asked to print up some stag night t-shirts in light blue for a man city 1961 team theme.
    Would you know which numbers these players would be wearing?
    Trautman no1 I assume
    Doring poss Dobing or Dobbing

    I would be very grateful if you could assist

  13. coste 15/02/2011 at 1:32 pm #

    12/02/2012 and the score 2-1 .. just remember :)))

    • Ricky 15/02/2011 at 2:18 pm #


      Oh, and you’re a year out … unless you know something and i’ll have a bet on that now.

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