Neck and neck with so little between them, the Blues once dominant and in charge now facing the challenge from the Reds who reigned supreme only a few years earlier – it’s only the absence of a moronic reality tv star that separates the Manchester Derby from the forthcoming General election.
Just as David Cameron seems to be keeping his seat warm for Boris Johnson, Manuel Pellegrini has his own full-girthed successor in-waiting in the guise of Carlos Ancelotti if the rumours are to be believed. Manchester City’s inconsistency in the league which has seen them slip behind United for the first time in well over a season, isn’t the only reason the zombie-like Chilean is facing life at the food banks, it’s his side’s failure in the Champions League which has the vultures circling- just what does the Sheikh expect for an outlay of half a billion quid over seven seasons- the quarter finals?
United meanwhile, like their Red Labour counterparts have suddenly become- well, United actually. With a team looking determined, coherent and effective in a way that’s not been seen since the Scottish leader who wasn’t a complete disaster was at the helm.
Anyway enough with the ham-fisted election analogies, unlike May 7th, people actually give a toss what happens on April 12th and despite this being the most overused sentence in football – barring a certain reference to Steven Gerrard’s birthday coinciding with a cup final-“this is one of the biggest Manchester Derbies ever”. Why? Because, if United win, the David Moyes era will have been well and truly recovered from, Arsenal will have a chance of breaking the decade-long glass ceiling of the top two, Chelsea will be the only billionaires with a satisfied owner and maybe, just maybe the Sheikhs will wonder, if not for Champions League glory- or even comfort, if not for consistent title challenges, if not for a packed out stadium that’s going to look even more empty once the capacity increases, if not for bragging rights on Monday morning, then what on earth are they pumping the GDP of a small African nation into the club for? They say even cowgirls get the blues, well even billionaires get them too when they see little to smile about from an investment that’s caused UEFA to invent new rules just to stop them pumping more money into it. I’m not saying if City lose it’ll be the beginning of the end of their ‘golden era’ but it may well –as Churchill said- be ‘the end of the beginning’ and a new course of action could be considered by the powers that be, one that doesn’t upset UEFA while costing more than the Gallagher’s sniff bill and only producing a biennial good season.
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