The Andy Gray Column: I’m betting on Manchester City to beat United in biggest derby ever

SharetheMatch ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to Mancunian Matters…

If I were a betting man I would put my money on Manchester City to just shave the upcoming derby – probably the biggest derby ever.

I have said for a long time that City could win the league and I am certainly not going to change my opinion now.

It looked like they were completely gone from the race last month but a late wobble from Manchester United has let them back in and I think they are very well equipped to pounce on United’s mistakes.

City desperately need to win and can train this week in a completely single mind about what they need to do on Monday night.

On the other hand I think there is a real danger that United could get caught in two minds about whether they want to go there and win or whether to just play for the draw.

Players in two minds never play as well as the ones who know exactly what their job is so Fergie has a real job on his hands to make sure his men know what he wants from them.

What I don’t expect is another hammering like at Old Trafford – United have improved as a team since then and I feel it is going to be one of those games which could swing either way.

Yes it will be extremely tight and it is hard to say where the game is going to be won and lost because it could all come down to one mistake or one moment of brilliance.

Manchester City have home advantage but that proved to not make a lot of difference in the reverse fixture and they are the team under pressure to win the game.

But in fairness since the return of Carlos Tevez who has struck up a quality partnership in tandem with Sergio Aguero they have started to look a lot more like their old selves again.

They look like they have hit a bit of form at the right time and I expect them to bring their best to the match – we just have to see how United turn up on the day.

I am very interested to see what Fergie does – I saw him go to the Etihad Stadium last season and play very cautiously and so did Roberto Mancini which resulted in a pretty drab 0-0.

That was a really poor game but City have moved on from there and are a much better and more attack minded team now.

So I expect City to be very positive in the way they go about their business and it is up to United to combat them.

I think there is a good chance Fergie could go there and play defensively, I really do, but I am not sure about whether it would be the best thing for them to do at City.

I think you would be banking on City to make a mistake in front of goal because they will inevitably get chances if you invite them on to you.

Wayne Rooney might just have to pull out another moment of magic like his overhead kick to win the game but Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in midfield are going to be vital.

They will have to get through a lot of work and make sure David Silva isn’t allowed to dictate the pace of the game.

I think if Manchester City win on Monday then they will win their other two league games and the title.

I don’t think the title will be absolutely done and dusted if City win – if United win then yes you may as well hand them the title there and then but City still have a tough game against Newcastle to come.

But I think the confidence boost they would get from beating United would see them through to the title.

It really could go either way but I hope City sneak it for the sake of the league race going on for a few weeks longer.

MM will be bringing you all the action during Monday’s derby from 7.30pm with a live blog throughout.

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