Monday 8th April can correctly be designated as `Judgement Day`! That might sound a bit grand or even a little exaggerated and sounds like the title for a WWE wrestling show, but the importance of this match in the Premier League cannot be overstated. Last year, the matches involving Manchester United and Manchester City reached live audiences of over 300 million. The recorded highlights may have been seen by over a billion viewers, predominantly those in Asia and Africa. So, as the day approaches, we look at the traditional game of cat and mouse played by the managers.
Sir Alex left out Wayne Rooney for the last game against Chelsea in the FA Cup. That was a game which United lost. Right back Rafael was also missing and the explanation for both absences was injuries. However, I have some very good sources at Old Trafford and I have it on good authority that whilst Rafael did indeed have a slight groin strain, Wayne Rooney seemed fit and well. It is obvious; therefore, that Sir Alex has kept Rooney in deep freeze ready for the derby game on Monday.
People say that United already have Van Persie fit for the match, but Rooney has become an indispensable part of the main first team and is responsible for their incredible and record-breaking run of 25 wins in 30 matches. He also has a habit of scoring against Manchester City. I also know that Rafael has started training and will be ready for Monday.
Given Manchester United`s current home form, this looks to be a daunting task for a City side who have simply failed to live up to their billing. Bearing in mind the £1bn spent already by the Arab owners, this season will be regarded as a failure. Next season will be the first where clubs are judged by the FFP committee and City and Chelsea will be sweating to wait for the verdict. City had to curtail their transfer spending last summer and bought bit-part players. Their squad has some players into their 30s, so they will need to sell to buy this summer, or face another season watching their rivals winning the trophies.
I expect United to win a tight fought match on Monday and a 1-0 would not be any surprise.