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Published on March 25th, 2014 | by Daniel Riordan

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“Be prepared for the unexpected” – Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)

It’s that time again and derby fever has filled the streets of Manchester for what is surely going to be a dramatic game as the season nears it’s end. The Manchester Derby in recent years has started to become the pivotal rivalry match in the country, however this game is different than any other. City for the first time probably ever go into this game as favourites and it’s one of the main factors why we have to be wary of tonight’s opponents.

United have had a big change in their season. David Moyes is taking over a guy who has brought them their most unique period in their history and to carry on that legacy doesn’t happen over night. Although we love to goad and take the mic out of Moyes, he’s not a rubbish manager. He’s a very smart and tactical manager but has down points. The way Moyes plays (and this was the case at Everton more notably) is to get a goal and shut up shop. Everton fans are over the moon that they’ve got Martinez in who once he gets a goal, he carries on to get more. Moyes has applied this same technique in a much bigger club which doesn’t work to his system. Under Ferguson they fought through til the last second of injury time and I think the game against Fulham was a good example of them not doing this.

Their defence has been a big talking point and they haven’t replaced the old of Vidic and Ferdinand with top established players and maybe having to spend big is a word they’re going to have to go back on. Felliani, Mata and Rooney are the first examples of United not going down the route of spending big each year but they’re having to get with the times of modern football to get back to the top.

City played brilliant at the weekend against Fulham and I expected a high scoring game because of the goal difference which is increasing from Liverpool. The first half wasn’t the best because Fulham were stubborn to let City breakthrough but they were shattered in the second. I can probably see that first half being harder altogether than the game tonight because City will invite the attack from United. Fulham had nothing to lose and a point at best would of been like a win for them. But United go into this game like City last year – to get some pride or honour from it.

Even though United have had a poor season, we can’t rule them out for anything. Even if their players have said the Liverpool derby was more important in current years, you just can’t rule it out. When I went to my first derby in 2004, we won 4-1 and we were well down the table and United went on to win the league that year. Anything can happen and we cannot get ahead of ourselves no matter how good we’re playing or how poor United are.

City went many many years without a win at Old Trafford and it’s a bit of a shock to beat them consecutively in two after so many without a win. In fact last year City were the first team since Bolton to win consecutively at Old Trafford – I think it was 2001 and 2002 they did it (maybe needs to be looked up on). But nonetheless it was  another record broken and hopefully we may break another tonight.

On a personal note I’m not overly confident. I think it would be typical of both teams for which ever way the result sways. For United to play so poor and win is typical and it would just be amazing for us. But you have to beat the best to become the best and it’s what they have done for many years, with us in particular. I think if a strong side is played and Pellegrini uses his tactics right like he did earlier in the season, we can easily put the same amount past them. You only have to look at the Liverpool game last week to see how fragile they are.

– Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)

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