Saturday’s visitors to the Etihad are currently 11 points adrift of the defending champions, who have blitzed their way to half of the titles on offer since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Manchester () is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 534,982 as of 2018 (4th most populous English district). It lies within the United Kingdom’s second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.9 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.
The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. It is historically a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated in the 20th century. The first to be included, Wythenshawe, was added to the city in 1931. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand “at an astonishing rate” around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester’s unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city. Manchester achieved city status in 1853. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and directly linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles (58 km) to the west. Its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. Following successful redevelopment after the IRA bombing, Manchester was the host city for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK, after London and Edinburgh. It is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections.
A city of notable firsts, Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world’s first inter-city passenger railway station. The city has also excelled in scientific advancement, as it was at The University of Manchester in 1917 that scientist Ernest Rutherford first split the atom, in 1948 Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn, and Geoff Tootill developed and built the world’s first stored-program computer, and in 2004 Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov successfully isolated and characterised the first graphene.
Man City vs Manchester United: Pep Guardiola responds to Ole …
United have not been crowned champions of England since then, a period that has seen four different managers at Old Trafford.
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Man City vs Manchester United: Pep Guardiola responds to Ole …
They have combined to win the FA Cup, Europa League and League Cup and while that is not the most underwhelming haul, United have lacked a coherent strategy and shredded much of their fear factor.
During the same spell, City have amassed three league titles, an FA Cup and four League Cups.
Under Guardiola’s reign, the club have established themselves as the pre-eminent domestic force and one of Europe’s most feared powerhouses.
“Since we were here, when we analysed at the beginning of the season and the end of the season, we were better than them. We were so consistent in all departments, especially in the last two seasons,” he said.
“Listen, for United’s fans, they’ll always be the biggest club. For the City fans, we’ll always be the biggest club. We love our clubs. Each fan loves their clubs and that’s why they support them. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of success in the past, it’s part of what they feel.
“Normally, supporters want to see their teams win and win and win. But they support them even in the bad circumstances. I learnt about Manchester City’s history and in the bad, bad moments, the support was almost higher or more louder than, for example, now. So if you’re looking at the trophy cabinet, they [United] are better, no doubts about that. Numbers are numbers and in that situation they’ve lifted more titles than us.
“But we’re trying to be there for as long as possible and for City fans, Manchester City will always be better. Like United fans believe they are better.”
For all the verbal volleys before Saturday’s showdown, there is the acceptance that neither history nor recent form matters for this encounter.
“In a derby, anything can happen,” Guardiola reminded. “We are not here to judge the results or what distance there is between teams or the past or the future. It’s just tomorrow, 5.30pm, the game and try to beat them.
“When we played the day to be champions here against Jose Mourinho, when we lost 2-3, we were incredible in the first half.
“We’ve lost derbies like this – we were better, we had a big points advantage, but 2-0 at half time and it could be 3-4, but we lost the game in 10 minutes. So, derbies are like that.
“Hopefully we can play a good game. In important games you have to be more focused on what you have to do to beat them. What are their qualities and strengths? What are the qualities we have? What do we have to do?
“I think that is the only way I know, as a manager, to approach these kind of games, from my experience. Don’t stress too much, have fun and enjoy – and try to do the best performance possible.”
Guardiola was asked whether United’s squad seem to be playing for Solskjaer, who is under pressure given United have only collected 21 points and with the in-demand Mauricio Pochettino on the managerial market.
“They beat Tottenham, one of the most physical teams along with Chelsea and Liverpool, in the Premier League,” he responded. “I don’t know, I didn’t call the United players and ask them if they played for their manager.
“Honestly, I don’t know. At the end, I say many times, the players play for themselves, not for me. Play to do good performance for yourself and your career, for your families, for something you want to fight for.
“If it’s for the manager, thank you! I don’t know, but obviously when a team fights in the way they fought in that game and doing it until the end, it’s because they believe in what they are doing. Normally, the teams do what the manager says.”
Guardiola is prepping City to guard against United’s breaks, which is their core weaponry.
Solskjaer hopes City are ‘arrogant’ ahead Manchester derby
“It’s clear they are a counter-attacking team,” he said. “They do high pressing and they are aggressive. When they defend deep, of course they attack immediately with [Daniel] James and [Marcus] Rashford. They are so clinical and so good with space to run.
“When I remember the goals against Chelsea at the beginning of the season, most of them were on the counter attack. Against Liverpool, the goal was a counter-attack. They have the quality to do that. Maybe with the time, they can improve attacking teams that defend deep.
“With the quality they have, they are there. Fred’s ability to break the lines with the passes, I think when [Juan] Mata plays they have quality in small spaces, they have a good keeper, good defenders, with [Harry] Maguire and [Victor] Lindelof.
“When I met Lindelof in Benfica it was incredible how good a defender he is. I think the quality of their squad is there.”
On the subject of Maguire, who was pursued by City before he departed Leicester for Old Trafford, Guardiola added: “They paid more than we wanted to pay and he’s there. So I think he’s an exceptional player for United, for the national team, and he decided to go there.”