Mind Games in Manchester – City v United Preview
Roberto Mancini asserted his confidence in his Manchester City side as they prepare for this season’s first local derby.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game, Mancini insisted upon United’s knowledge that City has the “strong team”, and that “the situation has changed,” referring to the Reds’ usual dominance of English football, if not the derby in particular.
“We understand that we can better them always now,” he remarked, in response to comments made by United defender Patrice Evra, who played down City’s growing strength earlier today.
“If we beat City,” claimed the fiery French international, “it is a good result for Manchester United. It will be normal, but it will not be so special.” As with any build-up to a Manchester derby, seemingly innocent comments are taken out of context and blown up as damning indictments; however, this encounter seems to be one of the most hyped in some time, as City strives to close the gap both in points and in history on their red rivals.
Easier said than done, however; as City arrive at Eastlands tomorrow with only the weekend’s win against West Brom shielding them from three straight defeats, at home and in Europe. They’re up against a side which has won their last six straight games and are undefeated in the Premier League since February. That’s not to say that United expect to cruise it; their poor performance against Wolves on Saturday was the result of a severe injury and illness crisis. With Wayne Rooney absent and now Ryan Giggs expected to miss the match, perhaps it will be a tighter affair than either side could expect.
The Blues are 17/10 with totesport to take the honours at the derby, while Manchester United is 19/10 with Sky Bet. A goalless draw is 10-1 at Victor Chandler; a reasonable effort for a match high in drama and low in overall firepower due to injuries and suspensions on both sides coming into the game.