Friday, May 8, 2009

City derby

A Derby needs little introduction and within one of professional Football's most notable cities, Manchester, the heated rivalry between the Citizens and Man Utd conjures up grand tales. Whilst the always notable "bragging rights" cannot be understated, particularly given when you're venturing out to the boroughs, this match has will have significant impact upon the table and City's hopes for a Europa League berth.

For Man Utd, they of-course have spent the week polishing off Arsenal with ease in the semi-finals of the Champions League and readying to meet Barcelona, who pirated their way from Stamford Bridge with an ill-gotten draw. That aside, Sir Alex and his cast are far beyond simply called the top shelf of the sport and the utmost reserve. Oddly enough it seems their success is the root of their few problems as the demands from cup final to cup final tax even their hearty stockpile of talent. It is a remarkable comment that they narrowly missed the chances for quintuple despite fielding a team of up and comers against Everton.

All those niceties aside, the match has a decidedly different side as Liverpool is hopeful of a major favour from City, as an upset would provide them a slight opening towards the Premier League crown. For the Citizens that is not such a significant issue as they are dealing with the need to close the gap on seventh place Fulham for the final Europa League spot. While there is little added inspiration needed for match against the Trafford side, a spot in European football is extremely important for the City as they venture into the complex signing market this summer.

Trips to Old Trafford have typically come up empty for City, excluding a bit of magic weaved during Sven-Göran Eriksson's reign. In returning to the scene of last years upset Mark Hughes must not only deal with a side perfectly synchronized but anxious to edge closer to their title celebration. Confidence billows within the Eastlands crew and the Welsh manager is not mixing words as he sounding the war drums that a victory is possible. For the match, he is likely without mercurial Shaun Wright-Phillips and will definitely miss Craig Bellamy, Daniel Sturridge but could see surprise appearances of Dietmar Hamann and Pablo Zabaleta.