Tomorrow’s meeting between United and City at the Etihad is the 170th Manchester derby. Despite the absence of Vincent Kompany, City are odds on to win – an outcome that could leave United below Southampton and Liverpool in the table in 8th place, whilst Liverpool will still have a game in hand.
This is not a scenario United fans will enjoy contemplating, but that’s where we are; unable to make it as far as the quarter finals of the Europa League – a tournament we always considered ourselves above – and staring the possibility of missing out on the Champions League next season directly in the face. Then there’s an FA Cup replay against West Ham to negotiate, with little evidence to suggest we’ll make it through.
With all of that in mind, an away win for United tomorrow would be absolutely massive – but knowing what things have been like under Van Gaal, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if we beat City, Everton and Spurs in the next three games, only to lose Villa, Palace and Norwich in the following weeks.
As for City, they’ve not exactly been convincing; their title challenge has been surprisingly weak. But they’re unbeaten in the last 5 derbies, and pragmatism suggests that trend will continue on Sunday.
For some more indication of how things might go tomorrow, and a look at the rather rhetorical question “Is it Fellaini’s fault?” the guys at FreeSuperTips.co.uk have produced an infographic showing some key stats ahead of the 170th Manchester derby. Check it out below: