Yaya Toure key to Manchester derby
- 08 April 2013 08:50
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
As you might expect, the build-up to this evening’s eagerly-awaited Manchester derby dominates the media reports this morning.
Analysts are keen to predict the key battles and personnel which will influence the result when City face Manchester United at Old Trafford, and the Metro have identified Yaya Toure as the man who could make the difference.
The Ivorian signed a new four year contract with the Blues last week, keeping him at the Etihad Stadium until 2017.
The paper’s James Boylan writes: “Toure’s new four-year deal at the Etihad Stadium was a real signal to United that City have serious designs on becoming a long-term super-power of English and European football.
“Part-playmaker, part-enforcer, the Ivorian is arguably the most complete midfielder in the world, never mind the top flight. Without his services, City are liable to switch off and slip up – four crucial points were dropped against QPR and Liverpool during his Africa Cup of Nations absence this year, for instance. But in his box-to-box prime the Blues are irresistible.
“United will rely on a certain amount of hustle and bustle to stifle the 29-year-old’s influence but they’ll be more focused on finding their own groove in the middle than any strong-arm tactics. Key to this, as per usual for United this season, will be the performance of Michael Carrick.”
Elsewhere, Owen Hargreaves, who has spent time on both the red and blue sides of Manchester, is predicting an intense encounter.
The midfielder, who spent a season with City after four years with United, is currently without a football club.
He is quoted in Australian FourFourTwo as saying: "Every game's relevant," he said."You've got bragging rights, you've got people playing for jobs, you could argue, next season - players and potentially even coaches - so I think it's always going to be an exciting game.
"It's a Manchester derby, which is a pivotal fixture in the Barclays Premier League and the worldwide audience.
"And hopefully there'll be goals in it early on and it'll create quite a spectacle, because obviously, with United being 15 points clear has taken a tiny bit of sting out of the game."
Finally, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to relive last season’s 6-1 thrashing at his recent press conference.
Martin Blackburn writes in the Sun: “When asked about last season’s fixture he said: ‘Do you think I’m going to mention that? Jesus Christ. I can talk about our form this season, I think I will concentrate on that.’
“But has he ever watched the video back? ‘No,’ he added. ‘Why would I? I’m not into self-flagellation.
“’It happened, we threw it away, committed suicide in the game. We were the better team until they scored just before half-time.’”
Mario Balotelli will be backing his ex-City teammates – read his exclusive interview with mcfc.co.uk here.