Date: 18th August 2007 at 4:17pm
Written by:

On Sky

The first derby of the season sees United travel to arch rivals City, as United look for their first win of the season, before two home matches against Spurs and ex-red Roy Keane’s Sunderland.

Vital Quotes:

Alot of the pre-match talk has been about the fiery relationship between Sir Alex Ferguson and former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, however both managers have been quick to play it down following Sunday’s clash.

Sven-Goran Eriksson:

‘It is not true to say we don’t get on very well,I don’t have any problems with Sir Alex. It is the jobs that don’t interact.

Of course, we had differing opinions when I was doing my previous job – especially about friendly games.

He defended the interests of Manchester United, and I tried to defend the interests of England. It is nothing personal – it comes with the job.’

Sir Alex Ferguson:

‘I am not aware of the wine but if he gives me a present I will accept it, but I will not be sharing it with him. I will take it home instead.’

On a more serious note, Cristiano Ronaldo, who misses the match due to a suspension he picked up in midweek at Fratton Park, has plead his innococence, questioning the referee’s decision to send him off.

Cristiano Ronaldo:

‘The replays show there was nothing, but I don’t need to look at the pictures, because I know exactly what I did – and that’s nothing to justify a red card.’

Manchester City Team News:

Sven has failed to sign another goalkeeper, following the injury to Swedish international, Andreas Isaksson, so Kasper Schmeichel, son of ex-red legend Peter Schmeichel is set to start his third consecutive game, with the 20-year old yet to concede.

Brazilian Elano, who has shaken off a slight injury is also expected to start it an unchanged team from Wednesday’s 1-0 win against Derby County.

Man City (from):Schmeichel, Hart, Corluka, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ball, Fernandes, Geovanni, Hamann, Johnson, Ireland, Petrov, Elano, Bianchi, Bojinov, Corradi.

My Expected Starting XI: Schmeichel, Corluka, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Ireland, Johnson, Hamann, Petrov, Bianchi, Elano.

Player to watch: Elano

The Brazilian midfielder has impressed in both matches so far, setting up a goal in the opening day win at Upton Park after a quick turn of pace and a pinpoint cross, and continued his form into the midweek game after his perfectly weighted one-two with Michael Johnson helped set up the goal which won them the game.

I think his pace and skillful running will have to be carfully monitored by United on Sunday, which is why i suspect Evra will occupy his more usual left-back position, with his pace hopefully enough to deal with the Brazilian.

Manchester United Team News:

United are without star pairing Wayne Rooney, who is currently out for a further 2 months after a hairline fracture in his left foot, picked up in the opening day draw to Reading and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will serve the first of a three-match ban after picking up a silly red card against Portsmouth on Wednesday.

They are joined by skipper Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the sidelines, as well as new signings Owen Hargreaves and Anderson who are still not deemed to be match fit. In addition, Louis Saha, who has recently returned to full-training is expected to not make it in time for Sunday’s match.

After impressing in midweek, Carlos Tevez is expected to start as United’s only fit recognised striker, with nani also expected to feature.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Brown, Simpson, Bardsley, Pique, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O’Shea, Fletcher, Eagles, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Tevez, Nani.

My Expected Starting XI: Van Der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Eagles, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Giggs, Tevez.

Player to watch: Carlos Tevez

As United’s only fit, fully recognised striker, expectation is high for Carlos Tevez, but if we learned just one thing from Tevez last year, it is that he can handle pressure, and after impressing in midweek against Portsmouth, i expect him to be key on Sunday, and a goal against arch rivals City would be the perfect way to silence any critics he may have.

Match Facts & Stats

– It will be the 148th Manchester Derby, the 21st in the Barclay’s Premier League.

– Even if United win, they will be a point behind City, after they enjoyed their best start to a season, with two wins out of two.

– On the other side of the coin, United have made thier worst start to a season since 1998, with just 2 points out of a possible 6 so far. (But we all know how that season ended, don’t we)

– Johnson’s goal on Wednesday, City scored their first home goal sine New Years Day.

– Paul Scholes’ midweek strike was also historic, making him United’s top premier league scorer, one above ex-red Ruud Van Nistelrooy and three ahead of Ryan Giggs.

– In the previous 20 Mancester Derbies in the Premier League, United have won 12, whilst City have won 3 times, with 5 draws in total.

– However, exluding the matches at Old Trafford, the gap is much closer with United winning 6 and City winning 3, and just one draw to date.

– In last season’s corresponding fixture, United won 1-0, with a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, before Van Der Sar saved a last-gasp penalty from Darius Vassel, a result thaqt would seal United as Champions.

Ref Watch:

Mark Clattenburg:

Has refereed one game so far this season, showing 0 yellow cards and 0 red cards.

Match Prediction:

Man City 1-3 Man Utd:

I don’t expect City to play defensivly, and what i have seen of Sven’s new-look team, they look like a team set up to attack, so i expect an open match, nothing like the Reading match. I do think City will score, however i expect a backlash from United following two dissapointing results, and im tiping Tevez to open his United account, and help us to victory, which will set us up nicley before two home matches.

Next Fixtures:

August 26th vs Tottenham (H)

September 1st vs Sunderland (H)