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.



By David Walker



Win signed photos of City heroes from the famous 6-1 drubbing of United four years ago. One lucky winner will be drawn at random and receive the David Silva & Mario Balotelli autographed images.

All you have to do is tell us who are the new sponsors of Read But Never Red and what is their website address?

You can enter the competition in three different ways by leaving your answer:

1. In the comments section on RBNR

2. Via our Twitter account @ReadButNeverRed #6-1 plus the name of the sponsor and their website address

3. Posting your answer under the comments section of this blog on the Read But Never Red Facebook page!/readbutneverred

The competition closes at midnight on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 . The winner will be notified via social media and announced on the RBNR website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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. @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu



  1. October 24, 2015  8:44 am by pete lynch Reply

    Excellent pre derby read David. I think Sagna would be unlucky to be dropped even for zaba who not yet fully fit in my opinion. Hope the real sterling turns up!

    • October 24, 2015  11:27 am by David Walker Reply

      Depends what the 'real' Sterling looks like - the good or the bad. City said they bought him based on his talent and his potential to improve. He needs to show both on a weekly, match-to-match basis - it's no good being anonymous for long periods. Sagna has been solid, whereas Zaba has been flaky, so it wouldn't surprise me if MP gave the Frenchman the nod. Thanks Pete.

  2. October 24, 2015  9:27 am by Dave Womack Reply

    Right word

    • October 24, 2015  11:22 am by David Walker Reply

      Ever heard of the phrase 'close but no cigar'? Maybe take another look ;-) Thanks Dave.

  3. October 24, 2015  9:42 am by Chris Hanley Reply

    I never felt more like singing the blues, City win, united lose, oh City, you got me singinging the blues...Readbutnever red is sponsored by right word comms

    • October 24, 2015  11:20 am by David Walker Reply

      Nice work Chris and a matchday ditty as a bonus ;-)

  4. October 24, 2015  9:46 am by Mark Reply

    Sagna stays in, and Kompany Kolorov and Fernando should replace Otemendi Zaba and Either Bony or Sterling. We must win the midfield battle, and Fernando's defensive work is a lot higher than Yaya's who I would play slightly

    advanced. Either way, let's hope it's a blue Sunday in Manchester
    Right word comms

    • October 24, 2015  11:20 am by David Walker Reply

      Interesting tactical analysis and thanks for the entering the competition. CTWD.

  5. October 24, 2015  10:11 am by Jamie pollard Reply



    My answers to questions from a great blog and great read

    • October 24, 2015  11:19 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Jamie - it's getting it just right that wins you prizes! Cheers for the generous feedback.

  6. October 24, 2015  10:39 am by Glenn Kavanagh Reply

    The game for what it's worth will be won on the flanks, I'm not concerned about navas (who was excellent during the week) how many good balls did he put in the box for nobody to be running in?? He will work back and help the fullback, its the Sterling side I'm concerned boney he can be lazy and flat footed, he needs to graft with the team... For me boney has being deeply unimpressive' he seriously needs to "wake up" and start performing like a "big game player" is he intimidated by the players around him?? I'd go with mangala & v.k at the back - Nicholas O is looking awful, I know it takes time etc etc but he looks like a red/ peno every time I watch him, cool heads are as usual a must...I was over for the hammers game, a wonderful trill for me, I got treated royally by all concerned - great crack & lovely people in Mary d's, thanks (belatedly) Harold for the pint!!!! & to Dianne at mcfc for looking after the tour for me, a lovely & most helpful lady....I got some awesome photos, with one on zabas seat in the changing rooms, very cool that; great read as usual daveeed, check out the dependable ronay in the guardian today' bring on the 50.

    • October 24, 2015  11:37 am by David Walker Reply

      50 NOT OUT & heading for a century - sounds like a plan. You're right on Bony, Sterling & Otamendi - two are seasoned Premier League campaigners, albeit Bony is shaking off the after effects of Malaria and Sterling is still young. Otamendi is a top defender, but like most players who come from overseas, they have to acclimatise to the pace of the Premier League.

      Every man in sky blue has to apply themselves to the task in hand, 100% effort - no excuse for anything less - and let's see where that takes us. Hopefully still on top of the PL come Sunday tea time.

  7. October 24, 2015  11:11 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    Good preview David
    I do lose respect for Managers who make excuses before the event - It's all down to the players on the day who perform best.
    Expect Kompany to start and also Sagna instead of Zabba. Wilfried has to put in a big performance as does Sterling - He looked, to me, a bit out of his depth against Sevilla, a totally different player to the one who terrorised the Cherries .
    Arsenal took the game to Manu and however good Bastien & Carrick may be, they were exposed by pace - Let's do it the same way.

    • October 24, 2015  11:12 am by David Walker Reply

      Pretty much with you on all fronts RC.

  8. October 24, 2015  12:04 pm by Ian Holloway Reply

    Competition answers:
    RBNR is sponsored my Right Word Comms and the Web address is

    Tomorrow's date is divisible by 5 which is 2+3; close enough?

    • October 24, 2015  12:47 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good answer and nice work on 'doing the math' - why don't Americans say it in the plural? Cheers Ian.

  9. October 24, 2015  7:38 pm by Dave Womack Reply

    Readbutnever red is sponsored by right word comms

  10. October 24, 2015  9:41 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Great pre derby read Dave. Hopefully David & Vinny will feature tomorrow, unfair on other guys but needs must. Just hope we stick it to them good & proper.Readbutneverred is sponsored by Right Words Comm.

    • October 24, 2015  11:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Doug, Sadly I cannot see DS making any appearances before Sevilla away, but hopefully we'll have secured 6 PL points and safe passage in the Capital One Cup by then. Nice answer on the signed images front.

  11. October 24, 2015  10:20 pm by Carl Reply

    Readbutneverred is sponsored by

    Dave, great read as always.
    In my opinion what the Reds across town can't handle is pace in behind. Sterling and Navas will be key on Sunday and I predict a decent win. Trust our MP

    • October 24, 2015  11:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nice feedback - thank you. If we can keep it tight in defence, work tirelessly, close down space and work work work, I'd like to think City will be able to open up Utd and take the spoils. You're in the hat for the signed Sick Swan pix!

  12. October 26, 2015  2:27 pm by Liam Rayner Reply

    Your new sponsor is Right Word Comms (Website: )

    Just read this post derby. Wasn't exactly a great game to watch from an attacking perspective. I thought we would have the quality in the team to beat united. Though I am not complaining with the 1 point. We didn't lose and we're still at the top! Was nice to see Otamendi ripping it up in defence.

    Love your work David. From Australia :)

    • October 26, 2015  10:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good observations from Down Under, both on the match and the competition. Thank you for your feedback.

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