Match 36 of 38. After today there will be only two games left, and 6 points in play. It's the Manchester Derby: City vs. United. Don't be fooled by the friendly looking baby blue badge; don't be distracted by the three stars, or the posh Latin phrase: Manchester City are The Bad Guys in today's clash.
Currently ahead by 3 points, and with 19 League titles under their belt, United know how important this confrontation is. With home advantage given to their rivals, a loss today would even the points totals, giving City the edge in goal difference. United, backed by Sir Alex Ferguson, have put all their trophy eggs in the EPL basket. Sir Alex has said they like it best this way, with a tight race. While I'd love to echo his sentiment, and be very Joe Cool about today, I'm very much afraid for my blood pressure and the state of my manicure. In these situations, under these conditions, United can be either very very brilliant (they are, after all, The Best Team Ever), or they can be very very not brilliant. It all depends on the opening minutes of the match: will they be confident and aggressive, or will they be tense and scrambling?
City, meanwhile, haven't topped the table in 44 years. Forty-four years! People make a lot about the fact that it used to be City who were the big deal in Manchester, but while that may be true, they only managed to win the title twice. Hmmm.... In recent years, they've brought in foreign management with foreign money, bought many top class players, and have been gunning for top spot. Is this the year that the balance of power in the north of England will shift from Red to Blue?
Today is NOT that day.
GLORY GLORY MAN UNITED!