Now this Monday will mark the biggest Manchester derby ever in most peoples opinion. This derby will mean the world to fans of each team. For me I have been ready for this game since the final whistle against Everton, the game that let City back in the race for the title. The race that Roberto Mancini still thinks City have no chance in winning, but we all know his mind games are second rate to those of the master, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Many say City and their players have advantage in the race for the title, but they seem to forget United are still 3 points ahead and only a defeat will see City reclaim the top position in the league table, albeit on goal difference.
I see United as the favourites here this time around; I always have, to be honest. I said back in August after the thrilling 3-2 win at Wembley in the FA Community Shield, that City would not win the title this season and they would also be out of the UEFA Champions League before Christmas. I saw United 2 goals down at half time and suddenly in the second half after Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley, the united young blood, were introduced, the match was starting to look like a better for United. City were all over them in the first half, but now I could actually see this win possible.
When Chris Smalling scored following a free kick by Ashley Young, the United fans roared, the Empty seats in the City end instantly went quiet! 6 minutes later Nani equalised with a goal of sheer quality. Tom Cleverley combined with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, before Nani chipped Joe Hart, who was in an advancing position. Now the winner that day was magnificent. It certainly showed United how to get the better of City. A corner in the dying minutes for City was cleared by Wayne Rooney, straight to an advancing Nani. Vincent Kompany failed to clear the bouncing ball and Nani just ran towards goal. Joe Hart tried to intercept the ball which then saw Nani slot it home in front of the ever faithful United end. That was it for me; we could get the better of City this season, were my final thoughts of the game.
That was until 23rd October 2011, the day of the derby at Old Trafford. I was in Florida at the time and had to get up at 8am to watch the game. I was absolutely horrified at the result but onwards and upwards I thought. City will manage to get the better of us for a few months, but we would be back.
I was eager for the derby game in the FA Cup but was nervous just in case we got thrashed again. I was so glad we ended their run in the cup this season, but the last 15 minutes was very touch and go as despite ending the first half 3-0 up, we lost 2 goals in 20 minutes and City kept attacking, we got the result we needed which eased the 1-6 defeat less than 3 months earlier.
City started to struggle in the coming months after that game and we regained the top spot in the league and have managed to stay there since!
We have the United spirit, we win titles all the time and have managed to keep the pressure on until the last game if need be. I only remember us winning the league on 2 occasions where there were 4-5 games left, we usually win it on the penultimate game or the last game of the season, this time it will be no different. We had a chance to bury City a few weeks ago and again at the weekend, sadly it never happened but since when have United made it easy for themselves???
We like to achieve our history the hard way, that way it means so much more to us! We are on the brink of 20 league titles and we will not let the mercenaries of Manchester City get in the way. They have a great side but only a few have actually won a league title with previous clubs and that little experience may not help them.
I believe it will be a hard game on Monday evening; we will play for the draw but attack and take what we get. A good start will be vital for us, as will a defence that will not make any costly mistakes. If we lose its not the end of the world as we will still have 2 games left and City have an away trip to Newcastle, which may prove to be costly to them. If all goes our way and we win or draw at the Etihad, we will be at least 3 points clear, one more win and the title will be ours again………….COME ON UNITED!!!
By Paul Bienkowski