Tonight will see a mammoth Manchester derby that should all but decide where this season's title will be headed come May. United's humiliating 6-1 loss to City back in October and former United hate boy Patrick Vieira's attempts to unsettle the Red Devils have all added up to a powder-keg that is due to explode in just under 9 hours time.
With the diabolical four all draw with Everton at Old Trafford last week allowing the Blues to close the gap at the top of the table to just 3 points, most people will have you believe that City are, apparently, now favourites for the title. But the fact remains; City have to win this game or the title is all but gone. On the other hand if United merely snatch a point at Eastlands they have one hand on their 20th league title.
With defeat all but ending City's hopes of a first league title since 1968, not including their massive Championship win in 2002, the Blues will come out swinging. Talk of bad boy Mario Balotelli being re-called from exile, one of a number of flip-flops Roberto Mancini has made since City's once formidable lead over United became a deficit, shows just how much is riding on this game for Manchester's second club.
Most of City's current squad have never been in this position before let alone win a league title and there are question marks over just how well these players will handle the occasion tonight. Could their flamboyance be their downfall against an experienced United side?
Of course there is a great amount of pressure on United tonight, no question, but anyone expecting a similar display to the horror show of last weekend might be in for a big surprise. Ferguson will no doubt have the lads well organised after they were found out several times by an athletic Everton attack last Sunday, something they will need to be if they are to repel the threat of City's deadly frontline.
But don't bet on the boys in Red sitting back and absorbing City pressure, it's not the United way. With Nani out injured, Ashley Young is set to return to the starting line-up with a lot to prove after the diving scandal that has enveloped him in recent weeks. The usual suspects in Rooney, Valencia, Welbeck and Hernandez will be ever present dangers, and don't be surprised to see one Paul Scholes have a major say on derby day. In form goalkeeper David de Gea has said as much in the press today; our boys are playing to win.
I for one will be braving a cold autumn morning in Australia to watch the game, quietly confident that Manchester United will take a big step towards lifting another Premier League trophy.
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