It's way much bigger than a small dispute between neighbours. Well, it used to be, but come Sunday lunchtime, a lot more than that will be at stake. The biggest prize of all will be t spot in the league.
City and United have been neck and neck so far this season, and have swapped places at the league summit more than once already. Sunday is an opportunity for both sides to settle the question of supremacy for another while yet.
United head into Sunday's crunch game with an astonishing home record that stretches back to April 2010. In that time, we've come up against all sorts of opposition in all competitions but we haven't lost at home---and bar West Brom's lucky point at OT last season, teams have left our patch empty handed. It has therefore become expectant that whilst at home, we fans expect the win. It shouldn;t therefore phase us that City are visiting on Sunday.
The irony is that in the last few seasons when City have been with all these resources, their record against us has been abysmal to to put it mildly. We've won nearly every encounter against them. It can also be argued that but for Berbatop's early gaffes in that FA Cup tie last year, we could have beaten them with or without Wayne Rooney. However, at the start and in the middle of the last decade, we couldn't buy a win against City. For some reason, the likes of Darius Vassel, and Shaun Goater used to find their way around our defence much easier than the likes of Barry and Co are doing. I remember that those players played with passion in that fixture for they understood the occasion. For all his footballing abilities however, I'm not o sure Sergio Aguerro knows much about this derby.
Anyhow, what we can be certain of is that City will provide us with the toughest test we've come up against this season so far. We've had a very difficult start to the season, but we've done a good job sending out messages in the games against Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea. It's time we send out that final statement of intent that should force the rest of the league to raise the white flag. Victory over City, even despite being at OT would be ominous for the rest of the league.
The manager has played down talk of a big deal if City win and go five points clear. Whilst it would be gutting to give them a five point head start, I'd like to think that it's still early days to make much of such a lead. Our strategy at United has always been to be in touch right up to Christmas and then we can take it from there.
Tom Cleverley is back in training with the first team but you wonder if the manager will throw him in the deep end after so long out. The fans though want to seem him in because we've been terrible in the middle since he limped off. I will be happy if he even makes the bench. City have such an array of midfield talent that we cannot afford to look pedestrian in the middle again.
It is very likely that the second half team in that Community Shield will play on the manager's mind overnight, but I think if we have both Rio and Vida in then the kids should play, I mean after all, aren't they the reason we're where we are in the league?
SO COME ON UNITED!