‘Manchester is the greatest city in the world.’
Anthony H Wilson, who died last Friday, certainly divided opinion. Some will tell you he was a legend for the city and others will tell you they didn’t like him. Whatever your opinion on the man, I do not think you can deny that he loved the city of Manchester and the North West region in general. When it came to football he was a fan of the Red variety of Manchester club so perhaps it is quite fitting therefore, that the Manchester derby comes upon us at this point.
Manchester United have dropped points in their first two games and Chelsea have opened up a 4 point gap between us and them already. City are above us as I write, we are in the bottom half and we have lost two of the main reasons we were crowned champions last year, in Rooney and Ronaldo. Should we panic? Not yet. United fans everywhere are always being made to suffer, we always do things the hard way and while I do understand that we shouldn’t pay the table too much mind this early on in the season, I do think that we must kick on in the next match and get this season started. Manchester City provide the best opposition for us to do that. They will go into this game with their confidence on a high and would love to be responsible for turning our start to the season from a stumble into a fall.
It’s a different package than the Derby game at the Eastlands last season. A few short months ago it was Ronaldo getting trodden on and keeping his cool, harming his rivals where it hurts by sticking the ball in the net and helping to secure a win that all but won us the league title. Ronaldo is always going to be in for selected attention from the opposition players, on that day he kept his cool and stayed on. Against Portsmouth he did not and we lose him for the next few games. I think it is a good job we did bring in so many players this summer because we look like we need everyone.
One of the comments I have heard leveled at Sir Alex Ferguson’s purchase of Carlos Tevez is that he and Wayne Rooney are the same kind of player and will not be able to start together in the same team. It strikes me as funny, therefore, that with Rooney injured, Tevez may have to pay like him. All of a sudden having a player so similar to Rooney doesn’t look such a bad move in the circumstances does it? And the worries about whether they can play in the same team go out of the window for the moment because they won’t be able to for a few months.
In some weird kind of way you could argue that it’s all clicking into place. Now the big decisions like the Rooney and Tevez debate have an answer, things work out like that some times. Roy Keane was suspended for the European Cup Final in 1999 and that was a big debate, in the end he would have missed it anyway because he was injured in the FA Cup Final, leaving Peter Schmiechel to Captain the team in his last appearance. Sometimes things happen for a reason.
The team will get better. I believe Nani has shown signs of the class he displayed in pre-season and has already started to forget his rather average first game. Juan Sebastian Veron was right about one thing he said recently. He argued that when you come to Old Trafford and particularly when the price for your services is so high, you have to hit the ground running. He didn’t, a few things went wrong for him early on and he says he never recovered the hearts and minds of United’s fans. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, immediately dazzled us in his first display. I am hoping that Nani goes the way of the latter and not out of the back door while no one watches.
Manchester is the best city in the world, hopefully at the council house on Sunday evening we are celebrating the result as much as the last time we were there. Last time it was a signal that the fight was nearly over and we had almost won it. This time, if the result and the performance goes our way it will be a signal that the fight has begun.
When all about you doubt your team, you must believe it can get better. That is when you know you possess true faith! GTS