United vs City – The Fans Have Their Say!
April 23, 2019
Manchester is a city divided by its two football clubs. Derby day is more than just a football match for the two sets of supporters – there are bragging rights on the line and the match result will often determine your mood for the remaining week.
It is one of the biggest clashes in the Premier League and the build-up to the fixture is often fuelled with hatred, tension and competitiveness. However, this Wednesday, the Manchester Derby is not being viewed in this light. Most particularly in relation to the ‘competitiveness’ point, it is a game between two clubs who feel so far apart.
Manchester City need to win their remaining three games of the season to win the league, whilst Manchester United need to produce a similar run of form to achieve Champions League qualification. As the season now draws to a near, what does our resident United fan Josh and our resident City fan Cyrus make of their season and interestingly, each others?
Rate Your Season Out of 10
View from the Blue – 8
City have reached a new a level over the past two years, both on the pitch and off it. By all metrics, this season should already be considered a success for the blue side of Manchester, but the club’s stature now means the standard is higher as well. It seems strange to call a potential domestic treble disappointing, but this is the price of the Sky Blues lofty ambitions. The Champions League has never seemed closer, but an astounding match against Tottenham Hotspurs saw City denied the prize they have waited so long for.
It’s a blemish on what has been a very good season for Pep Guardiola and his men, one that has already wielded two pieces of silverware. They are already booked in for the FA Cup final and the title is still theirs to lose, albeit only just. If they seal those trophies, it will be a nigh on perfect year for City. If not, we’ll still have been treated to some incredible football, but the lack of titles will be seen as a failure.
View from the Red – 5
After finishing second in the table last season, it is inevitably disappointing to be in a battle for fourth place. Instead of pushing on and building on ‘Jose Mourinho’s best ever achievement’, the board failed to invest and simply put, this squad is not good enough to win the Premier League.
Mourinho’s dismissal was inevitable and the latter stages of his tenure was a torrid time for the club. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come in and steered the ship steadily, with his results warranting Ed Woodward to back him this summer. Our season was finished in Christmas, but Champions League qualification would push my score to a six.
Man United Player of the Season
View from the Blue – Luke Shaw
Where City have looked to have a wealth of in-form players this season, United are the opposite. I’m struggling to pick one player who’s looked genuinely good as well as worked for the team. From an outsider’s perspective, I can’t give it to Paul Pogba because, despite the glimpses of class he’s shown, he only seems to turn up when he wants to.
With that said, the one player I think really has kicked on this season is Luke Shaw. After suffering a near career ending injury, it looked like he would never fulfil the promise of his youth. However, he’s battled back and forced himself into United’s team. Even in their worst moments under Mourinho this season, Shaw has given everything and looked like the only one in the side with a point to prove. He’s been assured and offered a constant quality his teammates have lacked and has probably been their best player this season.
View from the Red – Victor Lindelof
Admittedly, this is not an easy choice. There hasn’t been a standout player amongst this United squad on a consistent basis.
There are only two names that can be thrown in the mix – Paul Pogba and Victor Lindelof. Pogba boasts stats that simply make any other central midfielder in Europe envious, and yet, he still fails to perform at a world-class level throughout the entire season. Lindelof has been impressive at the back and given his progression as a player, is a worthy winner of this award.
Man City Player of the Season
View from the Blue – Raheem Sterling
In terms of ability and form, it’s difficult to pick one name from the myriad of superstars in this City side. Bernardo Silva has been excellent and could easily be named the best this season from fellow City fans, while Aymeric Laporte has made himself the main man in defence. For me though, one man stands apart from the rest this year: Raheem Sterling.
He’s been class on the pitch, finally discovering the goalscoring form pundits and punters alike have criticised him for years over. However, virtually every City player is having an amazing season technically. What separates Raheem is the maturity he’s shown off the pitch in dealing with issues of race and bigotry. He’s become a voice in national limelight that people now have to listen to and has tried to use his position to help with things outside of football. He’s grown as a person as well as a player and there’s no finer man I could see as our player of the year.
View from the Red – Raheem Sterling
Unlike United, City have a wealth of players competing for this prize. Sergio Aguero has been in prolific form and at the back, they also have a strong contender in Aymeric Laporte. However, Raheem Sterling is the main man in this City team and he would also be my pick for player of the season.
It is isn’t just through his clinical stats of plus 20 goals and 15 assists this season either, but his overall impact on City’s system. The Englishman is pivotal in building attacks and his presence in the final third sparks danger for any defensive line in Europe.
Man United Surprise Package of the Season
View from the Blue – Scott McTominay
United have a history of great academy players and this year that role is being filled by Scott McTominay. The young Scott has played in some important matches this season, both domestically and in Europe. Ironically from someone so young, he’s one of the mature characters in the squad and this translates to his play. He has the potential to become a really dependable member of the squad and should do so if he carries on like this.
View from the Red – Scott McTominay
Despite the modern misery that the Red Devils have had to endure in recent times, the fans can always count on an academy star to rejuvenate a bit of optimism into the club. Scott McTominay has been the man to do so this season, gaining recognition through his displays against PSG and Barcelona.
The Scott may not set the world alight, but he has comfortably grown to become a reliable and trusted member of the squad. Not many players have been the subject of praise from United fans this season, but McTominay is definitely one of them.
Man City Surprise Package of the Season
View from the Blue – Oleksandr Zinchenko
If at the start of the season you had told me a young, Ukrainian converted left back would be one of my favourite players by the end of it, I wouldn’t have believed you. But Zinchenko has been a revelation this season, filling in for a player brought in for £50 million plus in an unfamiliar role. It’s all the more impressive when you consider how vital that position is to Pep’s system.
It’s not just a case of him performing competently there either, he has excelled to the point that he has effectively knocked Fabien Delph out the side and perhaps even Benjamin Mendy. When you look at how far more experienced players, like Ashley Young for example, have coped in similar situations, his success becomes a testament to his ability and his willingness to perform no matter where he is asked to play.
View from the Red – Bernado Silva
The name on everybody’s lips this season. Bernado Silva was once linked with a move to the red side of Manchester, before eventually joining City last season. And what a bargain he has proved to be.
Alongside Sterling, Silva has to be regarded as the team’s most important player this year, impressing viewers with his rare combination of raw talent and hard work ethic. The Portuguese star will be in the team of the season come the end of this campaign, and it will be a just achievement for him too.
Man United Flop of the Season
View from the Blue – Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is the greatest example of where stats clash with reality. If you looked at his numbers for the year and read the word ‘flop’ without watching any of his games, you would probably be shocked. However, it doesn’t matter how many goals or assists he racks up when the lack of work ethic is so clear to see. As a City fan, I feel like I have to compare him to Kevin De Bruyne.
The Frenchman is probably more of a flair player than his Belgium counterpart but his influence on the game is so much smaller. You won’t see De Bruyne doing stepovers repeatedly in a match, but you might see him set up the winning goal or sprinting back to make defensive cover at a pivotal moment. It’s not that Pogba isn’t a great player, but that far too often he doesn’t play like it. It’s only a few months into Solskjaer’s reign, but he’s already reverting back to the player he was under Mourinho.
View from the Red – Ashely Young
I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon of the Ashley Young brigade too much, as he is simply a 33-year-old ex-winger playing fullback. He isn’t cut out for this level in that position, but a lack of options sees him deployed there on a regular basis.
A liability in possession and often finds himself out of position, Young has to be considered one of the weaker players in this United side. There is certainly plenty to choose from, but the Englishman’s performances mean that he cannot be a regular starter next season.
Man City Flop of the Season
View from the Blue – Riyad Mahrez
It seems unfair to pick a flop from this bunch of players, but if it must be done, it’s a short list to pick from. Delph hasn’t been as dependable as he has been in previous years and I’m tempted to say David Silva has looked off the pace over the past few months. However, City’s sole signing this summer, Riyad Mahrez, is the man who has failed to live up to the billing.
It’s a bit harsh to single him out considering he’s managed a respectable 11 goals and 11 assists this season but he has fallen short of the standards set by his teammates. While he has contributed, Mahrez has underperformed in some vital moments this year, with his penalty miss at Anfield looking like it might prove incredibly costly. Perhaps it’s just a case of settling in, but he hasn’t hit the heights he did at Leicester.
View from the Red – Riyad Mahrez
Much was expected of Riyad Mahrez when he joined City in the summer. A proven Premier League player with a bundle of talent, the Algerian was being tipped to follow in the footsteps of his new wide teammates in Sterling and Leroy Sane.
It is safe, however, to state that this has not been the case. Mahrez has failed to break into the first team and even when he has been granted the opportunity to showcase his talent, he hasn’t lived up to his acclaimed standards.
If You Could Take One Player From Your Rival…
View from the Blue – Marcus Rashford
There aren’t too many players out there that could cut it at City. Pogba springs to mind, but we have a wealth of midfield options and I’m not sure his mentality would fit into City’s ethos. Pep has a history of building players into the best versions of themselves they can possibly be and this makes me think Marcus Rashford could be a good fit.
He’s young, quick, full of attacking threat and bursting with potential. His development seems to have stagnated a little bit but, in this system with City’s players guided by the steady hand of the best manager in the world, he could become world class.
View from the Red – Amyeric Laporte
Offer this question to the majority of fans in England and the names of Kevin De Bruyne, Aguero and Sterling will inevitably spring to mind. Although such players would improve United’s fortunes, the Red Devils desperately require a world-class centre back above anything else.
Laporte has been one of the Citizens’ most consistent performers this season and his presence is certainly felt on the field. A commanding and reliable defender should be at the top of United’s list this summer, hence why I opt for Laporte from City’s star-studded squad.
View from the Blue – City Victory
I can’t decide whether Everton’s 4-0 drubbing of United is a good or bad thing for City. On the one hand, they looked absolutely woeful and if they were any other side, I’d be more than confident calling this an easy win. On the other, the result leaves them in desperate need of a win and, if the players have anything about them, they will be more than fired up for the game.
I’m also still haunted by last year’s derby that ended so cruelly for us; a reminder that form means very little in such an emotionally charged match. However, this match is arguably even more important and it’s one City have to win. I’d be shocked if City didn’t look 100% on it and, at their best, they should be too much for United.
Prediction: United 2-3 City – 20/1 with Ladbrokes
View from the Red – City Victory
Against Everton, United were at the lowest level the side has been since Sir Alex Ferguson left them in 2013. Champions League qualification was on the line and didn’t bother to turn up. The Toffees, who have nothing to play for, bossed United off the park and simply left the Red Devils red-faced.
If they didn’t turn up against 7th in the league, why would they miraculously turn into a different side against 2nd in the table? The opposition will be turning up to Old Trafford hungry for points and desperate to deliver their second title in as many years.
I’m expecting a reaction from United and a better performance, not that it could get much worse than Merseyside, but it won’t be enough to prevent the Sky Blues from prevailing.
Prediction: United 0-2 City – 7/1 with 888 Sport
Final League Position Prediction
View from the Blue – 1st
Considering how this might be the tightest title race in living memory, it’s absolutely horrible having to call where City will finish. United are easily the toughest of City’s remaining fixtures, but if the Sky Blues do prevail, they will put themselves in a very good position for the title. Whatever happens, I imagine it’s going to go right down to the final day. If we do end the season on top, it will be incredibly close.
View from the Red – 5th
To add salt to the wounds, a win at Goodison Park would have taken United level on points with Chelsea in fourth place. The two clubs collide at Old Trafford this weekend in a pivotal clash, whilst also keeping tabs on Tottenham and Arsenal in the meantime.
Spurs look good for their money with their home fixtures that are left, potentially leaving one place up for grabs. I’m predicting a tight finish between United and Chelsea, as Arsenal will slip up away from home. It’ll be tight but as of today, the Blues look to be the safer bet.
Bookmakers offering the best United vs City betting odds
As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.