The Manchester Derby is about to, if it has not already, overtake United v Liverpool as the biggest game in English football. The fact that Liverpool have not been able to win a title in over 26 years and the vast sums of money invested into City have not only allowed them to attract players who didn’t even know the club existed, but also one of the most successful managers in the game. My own feelings on his ability aside, that is a fact.
Four of the last six and seven of the last ten Premier League titles having been won in Manchester. The two clubs now possess squads and managers the envy of the world. The world record signing resides here. The top player in last season’s Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 are all here. There’s £50m central defenders. Two of, if not THE top managers in the world. Add all that to the fact there’s no other city in the world that has as many people watching top level football per head than in Manchester and you can see how this game is building into something truly special.
A lot is being made of the renewal of the rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. A rivalry that could be out of a Hollywood action movie. They started off as friends under the same master, they then became sworn enemies. Taking different paths, becoming ever stronger until one day they find themselves doing battle over the city of Manchester. Add your own dramatic voice over and you’ll get what I’m stabbing at.
It’s hard to judge the abilities of these men objectively. It’s also just plain hard to judge their abilities. So much of the success and failures of these men as managers relies upon the success and failures, luck and abilities and others. Much has been made over Pep’s inability to dominate Europe in the manner he did with Barcelona, without the genius that Leo Messi, for example. Whatever happens, this season will answer a lot of questions. Both Manchester clubs ended on the same number of points last season and have gone into the new season seemingly on the back of successful transfer windows. There are no more excuses. It’s time to find out who is truly the better man.
I can't wait for Saturday. It's got that feeling of a cup final. The sort where you're so nervous for every second of the game, you never really enjoy it and it feels like it drags until that first goal. Bring on the chaos.