Manchester City host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night in what seems to be the last Manchester derby of the 2016/2017 Premier League campaign. This is one of the important derbies in recent years as both sides of Manchester are aiming for the Champions League Spot on the points table. The stakes are high as the Manchester derby takes place tonight !
One spot and One point separate both the Manchester Clubs after 32 games played in the Premier League campaign, and both sides will be desperate to win as they look to seal a top-four finish in the points table.
Both Manchester City and Manchester United were expected to fight for the Premier League this season, given the squads they have, the managers they have, the amount of money they spent in last summer transfer window and the expectations put on both of them. But both Manchester clubs have failed to fulfil their expectations as they have massively underperformed.
Both are out of the title race in the Premier league and won’t win the FA cup also, so the only thing to play for when the two Manchester giants lock horns is the top-four finish in the league table. It has been as disappointing season for both the managers, although Mourinho stands a chance to win his third trophy as he has already won community shield and EFL in his debut season at the Old Trafford while Pep Guardiola will be without any prizes in his debut season at the Etihad Stadium.
The two sides have already met two times this season, Pep Guardiola’s side won the reverse fixture of the derby at Old Trafford in the Premier League meeting, while Jose Mourinho’s side won at home against their city rivals in the EFL league tie.
The Red Devils are enjoying their longest unbeaten league run since 2010 despite of host of injuries, it’s now 23 Premier league matches since they tasted defeat, with their last defeat coming back in October against Chelsea. No team in the league has lost fewer matches (3) than the Red Devils this season. Too many draws (12) has cost Manchester United out of the Premier League title race in this campaign and now they have to consolidate for a spot in the top four.
Pep Guardiola is a manager who is used to winning trophies, but the 46- year old will end this season without silverware for the first time in his nine year long career as manager. His side could have lifted FA cup this season but they suffered a 2-1 defeat against the Gunners in the FA cup semi-final.
At least mathematically, Man City can still win the Premier League title this season, but there is a huge 14 points difference between them and the league leaders Chelsea and entering into the final weeks of the campaign it looks almost impossible for the Etihad outfit to lift the title this year and with the kind of form Chelsea are in it is too much to hope for. Instead, Manchester City’s main focus for the remainder of the season is firmly securing a top-four finish.
This will be the 174th meeting between the two Manchester neighbours in all competitions. Manchester United lead their fierce rivals Manchester City in head-to-head battle as the Red Devils have 72 victories to their name and The Citizens have 50 victories to their name, while both the clubs have shared the spoils in the remaining 51 games.
The last time this two sides met on Thursday night in the Premier league was back in November 1994. Wayne Rooney has scored 11 goals in Manchester derbies in all competitions – more than any other player in the history of the fixture. Manchester City have lost only one of their 15 home league games this season. Pep Guardiola could become the fourth manager to win both home and away Manchester derbies in a debut season after John Bentley, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Manuel Pellegrini.
The stakes are high in the third Manchester derby of the season, with Champions league qualification points on the line it will be interesting to see whether the Blue or the Red colour of Manchester prevails in the derby.