Battle for Manchester glory

2015-04-11 00:00

LONDON — Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is eager to add to Manchester City’s woes in tomorrow’s derby at Old Trafford.

A marked reversal in fortunes means third-placed United lead fourth-placed defending champions City by a point heading into this weekend’s clash, although both are probably too far behind leaders Chelsea for either of the Manchester clubs to mount a title challenge.

But a top-three finish and direct entry into the Champions League is still on the horizon, not that the Manchester pair need much in the way of additional motivation when playing each other.

England striker Rooney (29) is now United’s leading derby scorer in history with 11 goals against City since arriving at Old Trafford from Everton in 2004.

City, however, have had the upper hand in recent times, winning their last four matches against United and ­Rooney is desperate to put an end to that run.

“You play for Man United, you want to win these derby games,” he told MUTV, United’s in-house television station.

“We want to give United fans something to smile about when they go to work on Monday morning. We want them to be the ones to be able to give out the banter to Manchester City fans at work.

“I think it’s a very important game for Manchester United and Manchester City … for the fans and, for me, it’s a massive game of pride,” added Rooney, who scored a superb volley in last week’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

Victory tomorrow would put United four points in front of City, under pressure after dropping to fourth following a shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Monday.

United manager Louis van Gaal could recall compatriot Robin van Persie after the Dutch striker returned to training this week following an ankle injury.

City have won just four of their last 11 league games but manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted he wasn’t concerned about his own position.

“I’m never concerned about my job. I do my work and am very happy. You maybe have a difficult season, but you never worry about things like this,” ­Pellegrini said.

As for the title race, the Chilean added: “Every point you drop makes it more difficult, but it’s the same answer. We are not thinking about the title … Just about the next game at Old Trafford.”

Second-placed Arsenal will move to within four points of Chelsea, but having played two games more than the Blues, if they win away to second-bottom Burnley today.

After a shaky start to the season, the Gunners have now won 15 of their last 17 matches in all competitions, a run which manager Arsene Wenger attributes to having a fully fit squad no longer carrying any hangovers from last year’s World Cup.

“I just think we are at a stage of the season where we took off in January, ­because we had nearly everybody available. That made us more efficient,” Wenger said.

Chelsea will take a giant stride ­towards the title if they win away ­tomorrow to west London rivals QPR, who gained a battling point in their ­Premier League survival bid with a 3-3 midweek draw at Aston Villa.

The build-up to this week’s match has seen José Mourinho accept publicly what friends and foes have long ­acknowledged — that he is a master ­manipulator.

“I agree that sometimes I can have something of Machiavelli in some of my comments, but no more than that,” Mourinho said.

Villa travel to Tottenham today with manager Tim Sherwood adamant he bore no resentment towards his former club for sacking him as their boss last year.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here as Aston Villa manager if it wasn’t for Tottenham Hotspur,” Sherwood said.

“I was relieved of my duties and walked out with my head held very high. I was pleased with what I did.”

Southampton continue their quest for Europa League football at home to Hull while bottom-of-the-table Leicester face West Bromwich Albion.

Today also sees Sunderland, fresh from their derby win over Newcastle, at home to Palace.

Liverpool, beaten 4-1 by Arsenal last time out, face Newcastle at Anfield on Monday.


(4 pm unless otherwise stated)


Burnley v Arsenal (6.30 pm), Southampton v Hull, Sunderland v Crystal Palace, Swansea v Everton (1.45 pm), Tottenham v Aston Villa, West Brom v Leicester, West Ham v Stoke


Manchester United v Manchester City (5 pm), QPR v Chelsea (2.30 pm)


Liverpool v Newcastle (9 pm)

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.