This Sunday sees one of the biggest Manchester ‘friendly ‘games in years down at Wembley as Untied and City duel off in the Community Shield, the traditional curtain-raiser for the English football season.
Anybody that is expecting a friendly game will get a rude awakening, because you try telling both sets of players and supporters that this is a ‘charity’ game, and that it does not matter who marches off the Wembley turf victorious.
Local bragging rights of course are up for grabs and deep down both the players and the supporters of each club want a victory to stamp their authority ahead of the new season. The fact that this Community Shield match is a Manchester derby makes it all the more exciting to watch.
Man City have always classed this fixture as their big game of the season, they live for derby day. The majority of United supporters on the other hand would state that the game they look for when the fixtures come out at the start of each season would be Liverpool home and away. This is where I see things changing in the not so distance future.
We as supporters base the fact we do not consider the Manchester derby fixtures top of our agenda because for years City have never been of any threat to us. If somebody would have told me 10 years ago that City would finish third in the Premier League, qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history and win the FA Cup all in the same season, I would have called for the men in white coats to take them away to be brutally honest!
I predict that it is only a matter of seasons away before we start to look for the Man City fixture before the Liverpool one when the fixtures are realised as our neighbours really are making progress and in the process are ready to leapfrog the Merseysiders as our main rivals. City are now able to attract any player in the world as long as the player is willing to move.
Looking at it, I think City coming back from the basement of English football to now be backed by the billion pound fortune of Sheikh Mansour, has reignited the hostile competitive rivalry between the two sides. Would you not agree that it has added more importance to the fixture?
I think it’s great that we have two teams from Manchester who will be competing between each other for silverware, Manchester is buzzing with anticipation. City are now starting to believe in themselves that they are not that far away from matching United on the field play, which is understandable given the quality of players that their squad possesses.
Regardless of what happens this Sunday, I feel that City are the only real threat to United lifting league title number 20 this season, something that I know many reds will disagree with me on. I understand that Chelsea are still a force, but City’s squad is now far younger, talented and superior when compared to the ageing stars at Stamford Bridge.
In my opinion I am confident that United will lift the premier league title in May next year, but City will not be far behind us. One thing that could go against them is the fact they will be playing Champions League football for the first time, in the midst of a gruelling premier league calendar.
Tottenham had a fantastic Champions league campaign last season but then fell short in qualifying for this year’s tournament because of it. Should City for instance be a victim of a footballing lesson at the Camp Nou, San Siro or the Santiago Bernabeu you would have to wonder just how badly it would affect their confidence? We will just have to wait in anticipation and see how they react to the challenge.
I also think that Roberto Mancini will be City’s downfall this season. On three occasions last year he settled for a draw in a game before the players had even come out onto the pitch, his negative tactics will be a problem. And trying to manage the pampered, overpaid millionaires in that outspoken City dressing room will mean that Mancini will have his work cut out this season!
One thing is for sure, any United fan that tries telling me that City are not serious contenders for this year’s Premier League crown, please take off your rose tinted glasses and prepare yourself for what I believe will be one of the best premier league seasons to date.
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