City figuring out 50th Manchester derby win

Manchester City’s most recent Premier League outings have resulted in landslide victories of 6-1 and 5-1 – score lines that resonate well beyond wins over Newcastle United and Bournemouth.

Super Mario - Balotelli gets the 1-6 massacre under way four years ago.

Super Mario – Balotelli gets the 1-6 massacre under way four years ago.

Of course, the figures also add up to City’s biggest ever league wins over their hated foe from Trafford Borough – 1-6 on January 23rd, 1926, more recently the famous ‘Sick Swan’ on October 23rd, 2011 – both on enemy territory, plus the equally memorable 5-1 pasting handed out to Fergie’s lot at Maine Road on September 23rd, 1989.

When it comes the ‘dating game’ it appears the 23rd is a time of the month conducive to City bloodying United.

Silva and City Gold - David celebrates City's fifth in the 'Sick Swan' goalfest.

Silva and City Gold – David celebrates City’s fifth in the ‘Sick Swan’ goalfest.

One can only hope being two days awry this time around won’t make a difference, and the Sky Blues can open up a five point advantage over the Reds…just as they did four years ago.

Only Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Aleksander Kolarov are available from the 14 players who made United bleed like skewered pigs, in that most joyous of humiliations.

Come back Captain Kompany - will Vinnie earn his recall in the derby? Courtesy@MCFC

Come back Captain Kompany – will Vinnie earn his recall in the derby? Courtesy@MCFC

Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are all sidelined by injury, whereas Pablo Zabaleta was an unused sub on the day, with Micah Richards earning Man-of-The-Match honours.

Louis Van Gaal will be mightily relieved the two best players in the history of Manchester City are missing, but even in the absence of Aguero and Silva, LVG seems to be getting his excuses ready should United lose.

3-0 - Sergio collects the ball from the United net.

3-0 – Sergio collects the ball from the United net.

The arrogant Dutchman could be playing ‘mind games’ but his negative pre-match utterances don’t exactly ooze confidence and belief.

A trip back from Moscow, a day less to prepare, City’s two point and nine goal advantage plus the Blues sitting two places above Manure, LVG has no end of mitigation if Manuel Pellegrini make it seven wins out of the last nine league derbies.

4 out of 5 - Manuel says the Manchester derby is a six-point affair as he aims for his fourth victory over United.. Courtesy@MCFC

4 out of 5 – Manuel says the Manchester derby is a six-point affair as he aims for his fourth victory over United.. Courtesy@MCFC

Bizarre to think that City have won six of the last eight league encounters, but prior to that they’d won just six of the previous 42 – how times have changed.

Having coasted past a depleted Bournemouth and squeezed out a last ditch win over a very impressive Sevilla, City now face their sternest test since international duties robbed them of their finest goal maker and taker.

But in Kevin de Bruyne they have a potential match winner who offers an outstanding combination of goal creation and execution.

Creator & Executioner - City's maker and taker of goals KdB.

Creator & Executioner – City’s maker and taker of goals KdB.

If the brilliant 24-year old Belgian can add to his five goals and four assists in City’s colours, LVG’s worst fears could easily be confirmed.

Since the start of last season – a campaign that saw KdB a German Cup winner with Wolfsburg – ‘Prince Harry of the Etihad’ has chalked up 23 assists in 41 Bundesliga and Premier League appearances – the best return by any player in Europe’s top flight leagues.

Blast from the past - Ian Bishop celebrates his goal in City's 5-1 demolition of Fergie's lot back in September 1989.Courtesy@MCFC

Blast from the past – Ian Bishop celebrates his goal in City’s 5-1 demolition of Fergie’s lot back in September 1989.Courtesy@MCFC

KdB will be one of potentially half-a-dozen City derby debutants.

Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony will most likely make the starting XI, with Nicolas Otamendi possibly partnering Kompany for the first time, assuming the skipper is finally restored to his rightful position in City’s Ministry of Defence.

Such a move might be considered harsh on Eliaquim Mangala, who is looking a much improved player this season. Equally, Pellegrini could plump for Mangala to try and counter the pace and physical presence of another derby day novice, Anthony Martial.

Odd man out? Could Mangala make way for Kompany's return at Old Trafford? Courtesy@MCFC

Odd man out? Could Mangala make way for Kompany’s return at Old Trafford? Courtesy@MCFC

Kelechi Iheanacho will be available after his midweek exclusion from the Champions League squad and young Patrick Roberts could join him on the bench.

Expect Fernando, Sagna, Demichelis and Caballero to make up the rest of the subs quota, with Zabaleta, Fernandinho and Navas all nailing starting berths.

Playing catch up - Zaba's late start to the season after injury has seen him looking a little off the pace. Courtesy@MCFC

Playing catch up – Zaba’s late start to the season after injury has seen him looking a little off the pace. Courtesy@MCFC

Zaba was given a torrid time on Wednesday night against Sevilla’s outstanding Ukranian winger-cum-striker, Yevhen Konoplyanka.

City’s Argentine ‘legend’ has looked a little out of sorts since returning from his early season injury lay-off. City need him back to his best, if not, Sagna could yet get the nod.

As the Premier League’s top scorers with 24 goals in nine games, City’s recent problems have been at the back, conceding 13 times in the last eight outings.

The picture says it all...

The picture says it all…

The stats scream out for Kompany’s return, not only for his high quality performances, but also his leadership and motivational qualities.

Never mind the media tittle-tattle speculating that a rift has developed between manager and captain. Pellegrini denies any ill feeling after Kompany played for Belgium against City’s wishes, having missed five games with a calf injury.

City won’t be washing any dirty linen in public, Kompany & Co are more focused on a return to the clean sheets achieved in the first five PL games.

Derby debut? Kelechi Iheanacho is one of potentially six City players who could get a first taste of the Manchester derby.

Derby debut? Kelechi Iheanacho is one of potentially six City players who could get a first taste of the Manchester derby.

If City don’t concede at The Swamp, the strong likelihood is they’ll emerge with maximum points.

The main uncertainty is which Manchester United will turn up? Recent Jekyll & Hyde showings have seen contrasting 3-0 outcomes at Arsenal and Everton, illustrating the Reds’ inconsistencies.

It’s an intriguing derby match-up.

Even without their talismanic duo, City still have what it takes to achieve their 50th league derby win, do a number on ‘The Dark Side’ and give rise to a Blue Moon.

  

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

 

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Win this David Silva signed photo from the 1-6 Old Trafford massacre.

Win this David Silva signed photo from the 1-6 Old Trafford massacre.

Win this Mario Balotelli signed photo as he began the famous 'Sick Swan' for City against United.

Win this Mario Balotelli signed photo as he began the famous ‘Sick Swan’ for City against United.

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