Thank goodness Manchester United get to return to the happy and helpful surroundings of the Etihad Stadium for Sunday’s 187th Manchester derby.
United were beaten 2-0 at Old Trafford earlier this season, but while the scoreline doesn’t seem embarrassing on paper, the manner of the defeat certainly was.
City gave up trying to score in the second half, preferring to pass it around and keep possession in scenes resembling a training match.
United will therefore be itching to bounce back with a positive result in Ralf Rangnick’s first derby and, given the importance of securing points for the Champions League charge, there is even more emphasis on going out for the win.
That being said, there are also other things to expect during the game, so let’s look at three things that will ‘definitely’ happen during United’s latest foray into enemy territory.
United fans will break out into song
Though the game is at the Etihad, United are famed for their away day support. They are very vocal throughout games and can usually be heard on the TV over the opposition crowd.
If anything happens during the match, be it a strong tackle, a good save or – heaven save us – United actually manage to score, then expect for a hearty verse of one of the team’s famous chants.
Renditions of ‘Rhythm is a dancer, Anthony Elanga’, ‘Give it, Give it, Give it to Edi Cavani’ and ‘Bruno Bruno Bruno’ are available upon request.
Someone will get a red card
The previous red card in a Manchester derby was in 2017, when Marouane Fellaini moved his head towards Sergio Aguero during a scuffle that was one of the most notable features of a dour 0-0 draw.
We’re long overdue someone taking an early bath in this hotly contested game.
Given the scrappiness of the likes of Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes against Leeds, there’s a worry that one of our lads will see red – especially give City seem to be getting all the VAR breaks right now.
McTominay especially was lucky against Leeds as he got very good mileage out of using perfect slide tackling conditions as an excuse. He can look uncomfortable in the defensive midfield role under Rangnick and he is likely to be targeted by City in most of their attacks.
On the other hand, we all remember his incredible goal in 2020. Time to be a hero again, Scott. A late red card as United hold out for three points would only add to his legend from him.
It will be an incredibly boring game
It’s always the same. The build-up to the biggest derby in English football is always turned up to 11. The recent narrative of the fallen giant vs the new top dog being plastered over your TV screens to build up the anticipation and hype for the game.
Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester United! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive United coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to United fans – United On My Mind.
Writers and presenters who share your passion for the red side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.
And then it is always a disappointment, especially in the last five to six years, except of course when United win.
City will dominate possession as usual and United will likely try to hit them on the counter and if neither of those things results in a goal, as both teams can really afford to lose, then it is likely to be very cagey indeed.
Perhaps one moment of magic from either side will be all it takes. Does anyone know a veteran marksman who might be due a goal?
What is your scoreline prediction for the Manchester derby? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comments section below.