MAN CITY v MAN UTD – It’s the derby…Pellegrini and Moyes – thoroughbred or donkey?

So it’s here – derby day – but which of Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes will emerge as the thoroughbred and which the donkey, when Manchester has its first novice handicap for 66 years?

Ok, novice isn’t quite appropriate given the vast experience accrued by Messrs Moyes and Pellegrini in top flight football, be it in England, Spain, Argentina, Chile and, would you believe Ecuador?

Derby day - Can Pellegrini point City towards winning ways?

Derby day – Can Pellegrini point City towards winning ways?

But if we were playing bingo it would be a case of clickety click and a full house at the Etihad because it’s nearly six score and ten years since both side of Manchester’s footballing divide had ‘Manc’ derby ‘virgins’ in the managerial stakes.

It was 1947 when Matt Busby’s reds and Jock Thomson’s blues drew 0-0 – both being new to their respective posts. History would go on to show who the winner was in longevity terms (I’ll give you a clue it was a jock but he wasn’t called Jock!)

Of course Moyes has been exposed to titanic struggles between the warring blue and red factions of Liverpool for well over a decade now, whereas Pellegrini has had El Classico – admittedly not a geographical derby – but arguably the most glamorous tie in world club football when Real Madrid go into combat with Barcelona.

He has presided over the notorious River Plate clashes in Argentina’s Primeria Division where almost anything goes, including water cannons and tear gas if the local rivalry gets a little out of hand.

The Etihad will more than likely play host to some smart arse Manure follower showing off his new flares – no…they’re not coming back in fashion anytime soon – it’s just the red interlopers always seem to smuggle them into the South Stand – a damning testimony on inadequate turnstile checks or sympathetic stewards of the United persuasion.

Flying Frenchman  - Samir Nasri could hold off the challenge posed by David Silva's potential first team return.

Flying Frenchman – Samir Nasri could hold off the challenge posed by David Silva’s potential first team return.

The Dark Side have been fortunate to scramble two 3-2 victories out of their most recent trio of visits when they sneak across from Trafford into the Manchester heartlands.

The FA Cup win owed much to a disgusting refereeing display and the oversized mouth of a merkin-wearing Shrek impersonator, who effectively had City Commander In Chief, Vincent Kompany sent off for messing with his Nani.

Kaptain Kompany - commanding Vinny helped ease City to victory.pic courtsey of @MCFC

Kompany man – Vincent’s influence on the City team cannot be over emphasized

Last year’s corresponding fixture saw a Frenchman found wanting in the heat of battle as Samir Nasri decided to hide behind a much bigger Bosnian, and let a dodgy effort from a Dutchman steal all three points after a spirited City comeback from 2-0 down.

Of course the two Red triumphs were punctuated by City winning, neigh, destroying  United when Baconface of old rolled up oozing timidity, as Forza Mancini steamrollered an insipid Manure collection into the dirt.

It’s almost as if playing at home in this fixture has become a disadvantage in recent years as City now regularly roll up and bag maximum points from The Swamp – what is it in the past two years…oh yes an aggregate of 8-2 since 2011.

In fairness, City have more to worry about from 3G, rather than Shrek – who thinks he’s Harry Potter – with his fancy forehead scar inflicted in a spat with Beaker – sorry, Phil Jones. Reports suggest the Muppet-like figure of fun and ridicule will be staying out of the fray.

Sorry I digress – back to 3G – Gollum the Glaswegian Gargoyle – Mr Moyes to you! He has a record even better than United’s historical 42% win rate in  derby encounters, having beaten City while with Everton, a horrible 12 times out of 22 with a further four draws and just six losses.

Licence to thrill - can Yaya tear United's midfield apart...of course he can

Licence to thrill – can Yaya tear United’s midfield apart…of course he can

He did so with a brand of physical and effective football that would surely go down like a lead balloon with the Old Trafford purists, if that’s not a contradiction in terms?

Now Sir Funeral Face has taken his rubicund features out of the frame, it’ll be interesting to see if 3G can bite the Sky Blues where it could hurt them.

But while we’re on statistics, ‘Our Manuel’ has a 100% win record against Gollum, having knocked the Toffees out of the Champions League preliminary encounter in 2005, when Villarreal beat Everton 2-1, both home and away’ for a 4-2 aggregate win.

Pellegrini has been doing his best to keep the traditional ‘mind games’ nonsense going by getting inside the heads of his own team, claiming this is a ‘must win’ match.

I don’t believe he believes that for a moment with another 33 Premier League contests to be fought after Sunday, but it is a way of instilling self belief in a team adapting to a new style of play and accommodating four new recruits.

With both teams experiencing the highly unusual and not overly pleasant sight of looking up Liverpool’s rear, one of them can springboard to the top of the PL – or as near as damn it – with a win.

Ola - welcome back to the fold - David Silva could be fit for the big match

Ola – welcome back to the fold – David Silva could be fit for the big match

Both are buoyed by comprehensive midweek successes in the Champions League and with both teams just hitting their stride patterns, it promises to be a crackerjack of a coming together.

David Silva could be ready to return to scatter his magic dust in the midfield – if Pellegrini feels he can dislodge Samir Nasri after the Frenchman’s more than adequate performance in Plzen.

Can you imagine redemption on the Richter Scale if Nasri was the game-winning hero after his rank cowardice of last December – Tres Bon, magnifique – it sure would get my vote!

Pocket Battleship - firing on all cylinders - Aguero's pace could cripple defenders

Pocket Battleship – firing on all cylinders – Aguero’s pace could cripple defenders


The return and influence of Vincent Kompany cannot be overstated, The Belgian Boulder is the rock of City’s defence and also the catalyst to releasing Yaya to go hunt for red meat up field.

Aguero looked as sharp as City’s new third kit on Tuesday night, whereas Joe Hart is back to his best, rivalling his skipper in the hard mineral stakes following some rock like displays.

If City’s spine shows real backbone and the side comes out prepared to play fast tempo football they can and will blow United away. Every City fan – and I do mean, EVERY City fan – knows that we are at our best when we play quick, first touch football.

Missing - When will Micah finally be fit for first team duties?

Missing – When will Micah finally be fit for first team duties?

And it’s hardly a secret that the best way to keep United at bay is to nullify what is an effective attack by making it defend. City could have a clean bill of health, although doubts remain about Richards and Clichy.

United claim Jones is a no-show – too bad, we all love the Muppets – and doubts linger (apparently) about Welbeck.

City have scored in their last 52 PL home games, so if that little run still has legs and Vincent and friends can keep a clean sheet, then it should make for a Sunday Roast as the Sky Blues serve notice that they want their trophy next May…silver service of course!





By David Walker



  1. September 21, 2013  11:13 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Hard one to call, but I'll go 1-0 City. I think Silva maybe on the bench, as prehaps we will go with an unchanged team from Tuesday. Everyone will have to put in 100% effort - no shirkers!

    • September 22, 2013  8:42 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      As Al Davis, legendary owner of the NFL Oakland Raiders, used to say...'Just win baby...' Cheers once again Graham.

  2. September 21, 2013  11:31 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Top preview David with a sprinkle of interesting stats to wet the appetite even more. I bet RVP is gutted our captain is back to blunt their strike force & I fancy our chances of torturing their fragile back line. If we can duplicate the second half from our CL win, they won't live with us. Can we shut them out? If we do, as you rightly say David, victory will be ours & that roast dinner will taste even better. Beef for me please! #TopScriber

    • September 22, 2013  8:44 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Yep the Belgian Boulder should be able to ground the Flying Dutchman!

      Beef, Chicken, Pork, Lamb - let's have the lot - but there might not be enough stuffing left after Manure have it rammed up their Parson's NoseI

  3. September 22, 2013  12:33 am by Simon Dear Reply

    Great pre match read and some stats even Einstein would struggle to come up with . MPs dilemma .. Dzeko or Negredo to partner the immovable pocket battleship Aguero .. Maybe he will be swayed by the snipits I've heard of the new fans chant I've head . ( Aguero Nergredo ) on the other hand Dzeko does score against the rags but tends to turn up to rival Shrek in the swamp rather than the Etihad .. So for me the Beast will win the day and pummel Rio onto submission whilst The Kun sends them dizzy with his twists and turns. Silva must play if fit so Sami warms the bench for me . Come on City lets get the first all important strike in of the season and turn the pressure up on Golum.

    • September 22, 2013  8:50 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Thanks SD - I have to do a bit of research and insert some facts otherwise it just reads as a draft script for a Channel 5 sitcom!

  4. September 22, 2013  12:46 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    I love the Belgian Boulder reference.

    The only change that MP might make is Negredo for Dzeko, chances will be at a premium and I wouldn't like to see them being wasted!

    I shall be getting up early for work and watching the game in my lucky pub, so here's hoping for a 3-0 victory.

    Fingers, legs, arms and eyes crossed! :-)

    • September 22, 2013  8:53 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Three pints and everything crossed sounds like a recipe for disaster! Well, you're always saying RBNR rocks so I thought I'd put a great big boulder in there for you! We're signing Barney Rubble in Jan window!

  5. September 22, 2013  8:11 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    My Wife used to love Derby Day mornings. I'd be quiet, reserved and uncommunicative. Balanced against this was my return from the game when ornaments used to go flying (Think Michael Palin in Ripping Yarns).
    More recently however my post match mood is greatly improved and I'm hoping the clock stays on the mantelpiece this evening with my prediction being a tight 2-1 to our boys.

    • September 22, 2013  8:54 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Be that as it may, here's hoping City don't do any derby day mourning! Cheers AB.

  6. September 22, 2013  9:20 am by Susan Chaudhry Reply

    I can't see many changes from the team that demolished Plzen now that Fernandho and Toure have sorted out who is doing what.....I am going for 2-1 here. Rooney has one good game of course and to the press he is the Messiah but With Komoany back I believe we can more then nullify their attack. Can't wait to get there....Come on City...

    • September 22, 2013  9:26 am by David Walker Reply

      Think we can keep the bedclothes unsoiled - clean sheet for Joe. 2-0!

  7. September 22, 2013  9:25 am by Ben McKean Reply

    Entertaining read. Your posts really get me in the mood! Thanks for your efforts.

    Milner has to start for me. Need some grit in these games. Undecided on Dzeko or Negredo. Could see Jesus causing Evra big problems.

    C'mon City!

    • September 22, 2013  10:02 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Ben - much appreciated CTWD.

  8. September 22, 2013  9:39 am by Doug Reply

    Good piece as always Dave especially the bit about Rooney & his nani loved that. Its going to be a close game but im going for City 2 -0 . Would love to see Negrado up front with Aquero I like Dezko just think Negrado will cause more problems. Plus we have Captain Fantastic back.

  9. September 22, 2013  9:52 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    I reckon this game could be decided on the flanks. I don't really fancy the look of Kolarov up against the back in form Valencia, and this is where most of the supply to the rapist and shredded wheat-head will come from.

    Alternatively, I can't see the aging legs of Evra and Vidic coping too well with the pace of Navas.

    Will be an interesting one, and here's hoping the defence is reasonably settled in their new high-line tactics, as we all know the rags have turned into something of a long ball team these days.

    I'd love to think the best team will win, but this is a derby, so united might once again come away with something, despite being inferior to us in almost every department.

    Hearts says 2-0 City, Head says 1-1. CTID

  10. September 22, 2013  10:00 am by David Walker Reply

    Let's hope heart wins over head - 2-0 City - but I share your apprehension if Clichy is out and Kolarov is one-on-one against Valencia. It might be a case for Milner to play as defensive cover but that would compromise our attacking game. I'd prefer to just outscore the buggers.

  11. September 22, 2013  10:07 am by mark james Reply

    i hate playin this lot at our place but come on u blue boys play like you no u can n we will WALLOP this shower from
    trafford !!!! 3 nil city aguero first 60/1 tip of the day !!!!!

    • September 22, 2013  10:11 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

      60-1 Aguero first goalscorer?!!!

      What bookie is that with, I've got a tenner burning a hole in my pocket.

  12. September 22, 2013  10:35 am by Ben Reply

    Absolutely fantastic work David, keep it up. Looking forward to the derby even more now. Come on City!

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