Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Manchester Derby - Players' Lounge Sunday 10th Feb K.O. 5.30pm

Sunday afternoon sees the latest installment of England's biggest derby game: The Manchester Derby. With a combined stadium capacity of over 125,000, no other city comes close to serving up a local rivalry of this magnitude (sit down Scousers and Cockneys!).

City travel to Old Trafford on the back of a 3-1 home defeat to United's title challengers Arsenal, the Blues' first defeat at Eastlands this season. Meanwhile, United fluked their way to a 1-1 draw against in-form Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

City will be without key players Elano Blumer and Vedran Corluka for the Stretford showdown as both players picked up their fifth booking of the season against the Gunners. The Rags will be missing perennial nice guy Wayne Rooney for the same reason.

There have so far been 148 competitive meetings between the two teams. United have won 59 and City 40, with the most recent game resulting in a 1-0 win for City at Eastlands, courtesy of a Geovanni wonder strike in the 31st minute of a game that was dominated by the Blues from start to finish (!!).

The biggest victory in Manchester derby history was 6-1 to City on January 23, 1926, while both teams have won 5-0 once (City in 1955, United in 1994). The largest attendance for a Manchester derby was 78,000 on September 20, 1947, a time when both clubs were playing at Maine Road, as Old Trafford was being repaired following damage caused by Uwe's grandad in World War II.

There's not much else to say about this one. Just make sure your boss lets you out of work early enough to see it. The match kicks off at 5.30pm (Dubai time) and MCFC Dubai will be watching the game live on the big screen at the Players' Lounge in Bur Dubai's Chelsea Hotel. Chelsea host Liverpool at 8pm (Dubai) in the day's only other fixture. I'll leave you with a little song to get you in the mood:

Hark now hear, the City sing,
United ran away,
And we will fight forever more,
Because of Derby Day.


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