Let's not kid ourselves, the past couple of weeks have been nothing short of hell for Manchester United. We've seen pretty much of what we fought for throughout the season disappear like a fart in the wind and only some sort of football miracle could see us end the season with more than the Carling Cup. Having said that, stranger things have happened in football than Chelsea squandering a four point lead with as many games to the finish line.
We're on the road for the second consecutive weekend, but this time, it's just a short trip across to our 'noisy' neighbours who, I should say, we've managed to keep a bit silent over the three derbies we've had this season.
Saturday lunchtime provides the fourth Manchester derby of the season and what either sets of fans could give for their team to emerge victors. For the first time in quite a while, City fans will not be pleased if they manage just a point against us. That is essentially because for the first time in Sir Alex's time at United, they are chasing something as 'big' as a Champions League place next year. That in essence makes this the most telling or important derby for over two and a half decades since both teams will be fighting for something concrete.
United's form recently cannot inspire one to be any confident going into this game, infact this could be the final nail. However, as a fan, you feel that players need not be inspired in such sort of games. You hope that your team will turn up and give more than a hundred percent. I really hope United do because if that miracle I mentioned earlier is ever going to come to pass, we need to win tomorrow. Chelsea have a difficult game at White Harte Lane tomorrow and we might just reap big from an upset there. We'll be daring to dream till the final whistle at Wastelands tomorrow and, if things go our way, till the final whistle at White Harte Lane.
The team news is more encouraging for United this time. Wayne Rooney is everybody's concern at the moment but crucially for me, the return of Owen Hargreaves is a big bonus for us. I mean last week, it was sickening to see Sir Alex starting Scholes and Giggs at the same time in midfield against a side as physical as Blackburn Rovers. I've always said that we can only accommodate one veteran at a time given the workload that another player has to cover up for him in terms of speed and energy. Playing two or three now makes us vulnerable if the opposition knows the cracks.
Hargreaves, though he probably won't start tomorrow will give us that steel we've solely lacked in the middle since that magical season he had with us in 2008. I'm sure Darren Fletcher feels the same way-the lad cannot do everything on his own.
Ultimately though its bragging rights, its Tevez, its Mancini, possibly a league title, its a Manchester derby and that's just about enough for one to get into perspective what's at stake tomorrow!