This Sunday brings us yet another Manchester Derby with United travelling across town to the home of their local rivals. What this derby brings us, as always is an ever incrementing show of fiery passion and feud. But this derby is probably one of the most important fixtures between the two clubs in recent years.
Both clubs have had a managerial change over the summer. With Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson gone, this brings us to a new look to this derby.
Manuel Pellegrini has been brought in by City after Roberto Mancini failed to live up the City Board’s expectations. The 60 year old Chilean finds himself with the task of doing what Mancini couldn’t do, take City far in the domestic and well as European competitions. Pellegrini was handed quite a star studded squad to begin with, but chose to bring in more of the kind, with Jovetic and Negredo brought in to bolster their attack and Fernandinho and Navas providing more midfield options. Demichelis was brought in to provide further defensive cover.
Massive pressure rests on the shoulders of David Moyes, being the successor of Alex Ferguson. With the spotlight constantly glaring down on him and the media looking for an outlet to criticize the Scot, this Sunday proves to be an ideal opportunity to prove them wrong, at least for the time being. United have been rather dull in the transfer window, unlike City. After a series of bids for multiple players shunned away, Moyes managed to save some blushes by addressing United’s vastly evident midfield problem by bringing in Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian was the only player added to the squad apart from Uruguayan right back, Varela.
Pellegrini and Moyes have stood eye to eye before, a good eight years back in 2005, when Pellegrini was with Villarreal and Moyes at Everton. ‘The engineer’ got the better of the Scot in both the home and away fixtures.
Both City and United managed to beat each other away from home last season. On paper, City look the better team by quite a margin but if history has taught us anything, it would be unwise to rule out United. With both teams coming in to this game on the back of fairly comfortable Champions League wins, it’s a matter of who can keep that momentum going. United will take small comforts in the fact that City had to travel to Czech Republic and back. The City squad will have their tails wagging a little more now that Kompany is back from injury. A serious doubt arises about whether Rio Ferdinand will be able to play his 3rd full match in less than week.
Both teams are yet to fire all cylinders this campaign and Sunday looks like no better day to start. A loss for either team would result in that team losing 2 of their opening 5 fixtures. This is the first time since in 66 years that the Manchester Derby has both managers making their derby debut on the same day.
Razim Refai is a co-founder and editor of Outside of the Boot.
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