Monthly Archives: December 2017

Derby day has arrived in Manchester

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What am I doing up at this time of the day on derby day? Is it because I am excited, nervous, even apprehensive? Nope, none of those. Yes, derby day has arrived but the only reason I am up early is because I had a sober Saturday evening and went to bed before Match of the Day. A younger version of me would be shaking their head in disgust, but that’s the reality of it as I approach my 40th birthday.

I was actually due to play Sunday morning football at 11am today but because of the terrible whether in Manchester it was called off around tea-time last night. Should I have therefore gone out on the beers and made the most of it? Maybe, but I knew full well I’d be out on the ales early doors today anyway, just as I had planned to be once my own game had finished.

I’m off to the game at Old Trafford but not before some lunchtime beers in and around Chorlton first. If I’d have been playing football I might not have got to the pub til 1pm, now I can aim for about 12pm. Grab some food, meet up with a few lads and then head towards the Quadrant pub for a couple more before getting to the Stadium in plenty of time. Security has been quite strict this season, even more so in recent weeks. Today I imagine could take quite a while if you get there late.

Thoughts on the game? Pogba is a big blow for us but I have never been one to worry about suspensions and injuries, that’s just part of football and throughout the season all teams have players missing. You just have to get on with it, but can he be replaced? No is the answer but then Mourinho and the team have to come up with a new game plan. Matic and Herrera will now be key, but unfortunately that makes us more defensive rather than more attacking if Pogba was playing.

I think Lingard may get another start after his good performances recently and I’m not just talking about his goals, his work rate around the pitch with his none stop running has been absolutely excellent recently. Which means Rashford or Martial could be on the bench, I think he’ll leave young Marcus Rashford out but of course he will be involved later on for sure.

I don’t fear City, I certainly don’t get nervous, like any other season when we have played them I go into it with the same attitude. If we turn up, we should win, espiecially at home. If we don’t we’ll get beat. If we don’t turn up today it may be more than just a defeat. I’ve been going to derby games home and away for nearly 25 years now. I’ve seen many wins, a few draws, but also a handful of hidings. I cannot see that today but I’m confident we can win, I want to say 1-0 to us but I think City will score. Let’s go with 2-1 to United then. If you’re red, blue or a neutral, enjoy!

 

In-form Liverpool and Everton meet in Merseyside match-up

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Sunday, December 10, 2017 is a day for two of the biggest derbies in the English Premier League, with Manchester United hosting Manchester City and Liverpool welcoming Everton.

The first fixture is a clash between the league’s current top two, but preceding that on the day is more of a battle of pride – with the Merseyside teams separated by six places and 11 points after match week 15.

However, despite Everton’s woeful start to the season, they come into this game on the back of finally finding form just in time after beating both West Ham United and Huddersfield Town without conceding in their last two fixtures – under the influence of new boss Sam Allardyce, who officially began his Toffees reign for the latter.

Liverpool are also in great touch themselves, being undefeated in their previous seven in the top flight, and having just thrashed Brighton and Hove Albion 5-1 on the road.

Not that form going into this bitter rivalry tends to matter, as it’s the game both sets of players look forward to most and one that never fails to provide a huge amount of entertainment.

As it stands, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are the odds-on 2/7 favourites Premier League betting to win at Anfield, with Everton priced at 9/1 and a draw 9/2.

Liverpool are fancied so highly by the bookies for a reason, as they currently sit up in fourth place in the table, and have amazingly not lost to their arch-rivals in each of their last 14 meetings in all competitions. They won both fixtures last season, too, including a 3-1 win in the home fixture.

Philippe Coutinho was on target in that game, and also hit home his fourth PL goal of the season last time out against Huddersfield.

The Brazilian is expected to line up against fellow attackers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, who are in fantastic form too. Salah, in particular, has lit up the league this campaign, topping the scoring charts with 12 goals in 15 appearances.

As for Everton, they’ll be able to call upon Wayne Rooney, who only two games ago fired a hat-trick past West Ham, which included one of the best hit goals you could wish to see.

It’ll be the former England and Man Utd great’s first match against Liverpool for his boyhood club Everton since way back in the 2003/04 season.

But thankfully for the Reds, Rooney never scored for the Toffees against them in four fixtures, and only has six strikes to his name against them in 27 total matches.

Anything can happen, though, which makes this fixture so intriguing. Big Sam Allardyce surely can’t wait for his first Merseyside derby, where he can continue to impress the Everton faithful after a perfect start and rise further up the table.

While, Klopp will be desperate for a win too in order to stay on the trail of those above his team, as well as keep north London duo Arsenal and Tottenham below them.