The annual visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford is always eagerly anticipated by Manchester United fans because it has long been one of the classic fixtures in the English football calendar. Saturday afternoon’s meeting will be no different for two players who have entirely different reasons to anxiously await the big clash. While record United signing from Spurs Dimitar Berbatov always relishes playing against his old club, media reports this morning suggest that Gareth Bale could become the main man in Sir Alex Ferguson’s new look Manchester United.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini seems to go out of his way to get on the wrong side of people. Maybe it’s the pressure that comes with such high expectations at his club but he seems to be getting a reputation for creating needless confrontations. He has only been at Eastlands for ten months yet in that time Mancini has had run ins with Robinho, Craig Bellamy, Stephen Ireland, Emmanuel Adebayor, Shay Given and what he himself describes as a “ballsy” half time dressing room argument with his captain Carlos Tevez just last week.
Sunday’s Old Trafford clash will be far more than a battle for three points. Manchester United and Liverpool will both be desperate to avoid defeat albeit for vastly different reasons. Anything but a win for United will almost certainly see them trailing Chelsea by seven points after only five games which would be a huge gap to make up so early in the campaign.
For many Liverpool fans however, the objective is totally different. Manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that it’s not realistic for his side to win the title. Even grabbing a top four position could be difficult with both Manchester City and Spurs looking good bets to finish above them. The major goal for those fans therefore is to simply stop United from winning a record breaking nineteenth title. Defeating them on Sunday will be a huge first step towards avoiding what would be such a devastating outcome.