This season’s Manchester derby has been called all kinds of names already. From the “Monster Derby” to the “Mother of all clashes,” the first Mancunian derby of the 2016/2017 English Premier League season has been the talk of the town.
And why not? Any game that involves Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola locking horns is one that gets a lot of people talking. Throw a Zlatan-like spanner into the mix and you have a “Manchester Derby Fever.”
To be honest, it already feels like another El Clasico game with a red card lurking somewhere in the corner for one of Jose’s men (remember those days).
Jose and Pep have stolen the headlines (forcing Ibrahimovic to come up with an advertorial just to get some of the spotlight on himself). Everybody is talking about what who will do to outsmart the other, and win.
And so, for this post, I have searched through the internet to find out what people are saying in anticipation of the almighty Manchester derby. Here’s some of what I found out
“For me, the big games are the ones that trigger you. They’re the games everyone speaks about. I have played in many derby games, I’ve played in El Clasico, the Inter-Milan derby, Ajax and Feyenoord, which was the big one there, and PSG-Marseille. I have played in all of them, the only one I missed was this one. This is coming on Saturday and I am very well prepared, confident and focused, and there is a lot of hard work behind that. We are prepared and we are ready. We just wait for the game now.” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“They must have studied every move and it’s going to be a beautiful show on the touchline, the pitch, everywhere. City will base their game on possession even though Guardiola has not been there for too long. Mourinho will be more practical. It’s going to be beautiful to watch, and I’ll watch it too.” – Luca Toni via Express
“We talked about it before, if City play with a false nine and that player is dropping, Pogba will have that false nine behind him, so how do you cope with that ball always going behind you? The two centre-backs won’t be able to come, because the two wingers might be inside the centre-back and the full-back. So if they put the ball in behind, you’re going to have to drop.” – Thierry Henry via SkySports
“Sergio Aguero is obviously a massive miss for City and his suspension tips the balance in United’s favour. Kelechi Iheanacho is rumoured to be replacing him and I’m sure he is capable of performing on the big stage but nobody can replace Aguero really.” – Harry Redknapp
“If any player is to score in Saturday’s
Manchester derby, it’ll be him,” said the former City midfielder. He’s a big game player and Jose Mourinho is the reason that he is at Old Trafford. As a player, Ibra oozes confidence, and Mourinho will big him up so much that he will enter the pitch on derby day feeling 15 feet tall.” – Didi Hamann
“The height and power of United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make Saturday a big test for City’s entire defence, not just their keeper. As I said in my analysis on The Premier League Show, United under Mourinho get the ball into the box far earlier and far more often than they were doing last season. This season they have already made 53 crosses from open play, compared to 29 in the final three games of last season. The reason they are doing that is their aerial threat, not just through Ibrahimovic but also the physical prowess of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini when balls are delivered into the box. They will play the same way against City – looking to get the ball out wide and then crossing it into the danger areas for someone to put their head on it.” – Alan Shearer via BBC
“Let’s try not to derive too much meaning from this encounter. It’s just too early, not only in the season as a while, but also the new managers’ Mancunian history, to take any sign as symbolic of either’s spell in their new surroundings. Both stories of José and Pep in the north west of England are unwritten, not even in progress, so it’s impossible to take out any judgment from this game as definitive.” – Tancredi Palmeri via WhoScored
Well, I think I saved the best quote for last! Regardless of the hype that has gone on before this game (round of applause for the English media please), both managers, Mourinho and Guardiola, have only started a very long journey.
No, I’m not trying to take anything away from this derby. A derby will always remain one: bragging rights are always at stake! Plus, this time around, the chance to have the pendulum swing heavily towards your direction, in terms of winning the league.
But this derby is only the fourth game of a young season. As much as a lot is being expected, the season has only just started, this time, with a bang.
All that being said, what do you think? Who will win this derby? Mourinho’s army? Guardiola’s Philosophers? Or, will both teams settle for a point each, while leaving the remaining point for the ref? Leave your comments below and let me know what you think?
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn