From the North London to Manchester, it is derby all the way. The stage is set for the first Manchester derby of the season as Manchester United play host to Manchester City at the Old Trafford. The derby is set to be an exciting one on all fronts. City might be favorites owing to the fact that they have had more consistent results in the Premier League in recent weeks, back to back comfortable wins albeit against struggling sides; Burnley and Fulham.
For Manchester United, they have also had some good results in the last two fixtures, eking out wins against Southampton and West Ham which have put them in good stead going into the game against their neighbors. The pain of the heartbreak suffered in Europe where they dropped down from the Champions League into the Europa League could be taken down on Manchester City. The Red Devils could take the game as the perfect opportunity to assuage the feelings of their disappointed fans, what other better way to say sorry than with a victory against your noisy neighbors?
Manchester United go into this game as the team with recent ascendancy in the derby after winning both legs last season though finishing well below their rivals. They can be buoyed by that recent powershift to believe they can actually continue the recent dominance.
This tide, Pep Guardiola will be keen to stymie. The race for the Premier League title is already hotting up with Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool as frontrunners. City are distant behind though with a game in hand but will want to close the gap as much as possible which means a derby win is a must if that must happen.
For Manchester City, they are buoyed by the return of their star striker, Sergio Aguero from a knee injury. The Argentine returned to action in the midweek in the Champions League clash against Marseille and scored. In his absence, City have struggled in front of goal, dropping important points along the way but with his return, City might be set to return to their free scoring self.
It is more than just a match with 3 points at stake, it is one to show us if Manchester United have what it takes to bounce back from the European disappointment or one to show us if Manchester City can reclaim their derby glory and keep pace with the table toppers. Is it going to be derby delight, disappointment or disaster, time will tell.