Having passed the first test last weekend, Manchester United will go into their next domestic test with a right load of confidence. In a somewhat bizzare twist of events, the Bitters have sufferred the kind of form we were supposed to be recovering from ahead of this fixture. Suddenly, there is an expectation that come Sunday, the pressure will be more on the hosts than the team in 8th place in the league.
In perspective, it all bodes down to the fun of the irony: Manchester United have officially had their worst start to a season this year, and yet it doesn't quite feel like it. Talk to most Reds and the impression that you will get is that Louis van Gaal is leading the team in the right direction. Stark contrast to when the record was initially set by David Moyes last year.
In truth, United are different proposition to last year. Every top team shall leave Old Trafford this season in the knowledge that they have been given a game or for some, a lesson in attacking football. The results against Everton and Chelsea are a foreboarding to that. It leaves to reason therefore that our performance and attitude towards the smaller come easier games has cost us points that would have placed us more favourably after 9 games.
So maybe one should feel a little easy given the opposition this weekend. Well, not quite. For all their current troubles, City possess the kind of arsenal that on its day can run you to ruins. We've been on the end of a few of those in the recent past but Sunday should not be one of those days. Not with Marouanne Fellaini putting in displays that finally make him an equal to Yaya Toure in more ways than just size. Everything points to a narrow win for either side on the day.
The captain is back for us from suspension. You do hope though that during his time off he has finally learned how to make a professional foul. I have my reservations about Wayne Rooney but if there's one fixture where he'd be the first name on the team sheet, its this one. The Manchester derby. For an Everton lad, and hence Scouser, its amazing how this fixture lights up his eyes. Watching him over the past decade in these games, its been a wonder how he saved his best form and indeed goals for them. Little wonder then that he is now the leading goal scorer in Manchester derbies. I'll take my seat on Sunday hopping Wayne can yet again take my breath away in this fixture.
Come kick off Sunday, we could be anywhere between 8th place and 11th on the log. Although the points gap between us and 4th place is not that big, we cannot afford to allow ourselves to slip away. I mean only recently, we were in the safe haven that is 4th. Coming away from the Emptyhad empty handed is therefore to our sore detriment. The win is very much in our means though, and you do hope that the players can finally get a result to reward some of the good performances we've had this season.